Agile project management

None of the common agile development methods such as Scrum are agile project management methodologies. Agile development methods such as Scrum were designed to be used by teams to improve the way they delivered software. Such agile methods were never designed for managing agile projects.

APMG accredited training organisation for Agile PM (Agile Project Management).

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More about agile project management

What is agile project management?

Agile project management means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some people think it is about using Scrum, or about working in an iterative and incremental way. Some people think that both agile and project management are mutually exclusive, and that if you are working in agile ways, then your project does not need to be managed in a traditional way.

Agile delivery

Whilst all these statements have varying degrees of truth in them, none of them get to the real core of the problem which is this:

None of the common agile development methods (e.g. Scrum) were designed for managing projects. They were designed to enable a team of developers to collaborate better with customer representatives (Product Owners) to deliver products iteratively and incrementally over time. Scrum was therefore especially suitable for making ongoing improvements to existing products and services over time.


There was however one of the earliest signatories to the Agile Manifesto which did set out to create an agile project management framework, and that was Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM). DSDM is based upon its own Agile Project Framework which describes a scalable management framework for agile projects.

Agile Project Management (Agile PM)

The successor to DSDM today is known as Agile Project Management (Agile PM) and was developed by the Agile Business Consortium and APMG. It is the sole agile framework designed for managing agile projects.

Agile projects

What makes a project agile? How is an agile project different from a non-agile project? Commonly, it is assumed that agile projects are those where the team has adopted one or more of the popular agile methods such as Scrum.

That is not true, however. Simply because an agile software development team says it is using Scrum, does not mean they are using it in the way it was intended. Nor does it guarantee that it conforms to the principles and values set out in the Agile Manifesto for software development.

In addition, having a Scrum Master and Product Owner using a product backlog with the development team members does not on its own mean a project is any more an agile project than a more traditional project management approach based upon a waterfall model. There is no guarantee that a Scrum team will adhere to agile principles or core values based upon customer collaboration.

So, rather than looking at projects either as a black and white (agile, or not agile way), it is better to view agile teams in terms of how agile they are. Some projects and teams may be very agile, others less so.

Agile project delivery

The common agile methods already mentioned – such as Scrum – are agile project delivery methods, not agile project management methods. The distinction is important.

Delivery is about how a team of people can better collaborate to deliver products of value to the customer. Some common questions that arise amongst delivery teams are:

  • What are we doing to deliver in this sprint?
  • What impediments to the work are there, and can we overcome them?
  • What went well/badly in the previous sprint?
  • How can we improve our processes on the next sprints?

Management is about taking decisions in response to some key questions. Questions that project managers (and sponsors) face are ones such as:

  • How much money and resources to invest in projects?
  • Which products (and therefore projects) are best able to meet the customer’s needs?
  • How will the final product affect others in the organisation, and how can we ensure these products are used?
  • Which projects deliver the greatest benefits (return on investment) against the expected costs, risks, and timescales?

Agile project methodology

That is why using an agile delivery method such as Scrum is not, on its own sufficient. There still needs to be other decisions (primarily business decisions) taken by those with authority within the organisation.

That is why an agile project management method such as AgilePM is important and fits a gaping gap at the heart of agile.

Agile software project management

The agile community was born from the software development industry but is now commonly used in many industries.

No matter which industry your project is within, an agile approach such as AgilePM can help you fill the gap of what is missing from most agile projects.

Even if your team currently uses Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), or the hybird ScrumBan, AgilePM can provide the supporting agile project management methodology which is lacking from those agile methodologies.

Customer feedback, iterations, user stories, backlogs, information radiators,sprint planning, collaborative teamwork and any other agile methods or tools can (and should) still be used. On top, AgilePM provides the agile project management framework upon which those more common agile methods can flourish.

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