If Agile were around in the ‘60s, it’d be wearing tie dye and long hair. Yes, I said it. Agile is the new hippie, and I don’t just mean because most of the Agilists I know don’t wear a tie.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Agile is a term that started out as a philosophy of software development that involved breaking large projects into smaller chunks and delivering those chunks incrementally over time rather than all at once at the end. The Agile process, as its name suggests, lent flexibility to the software development process and allowed for changes to be implemented, scope to be adjusted, and players to tweak and improve deliverables along the way.
This philosophy has since bled into project management as a whole, which is groovy because it takes the project manager of the ‘80s (you know, the stressed out-looking guy in the shirt and tie with his palm against his forehead) into the project manager of today (that’s you).
It’s not that you don’t have to work anymore and can start a commune (in fact there are a lot of myths http://www.agilenutshell.com/agile_myths about Agile). It just means that your team and your customer are working more closely together, with greater visibility and accountability, and that there is a focus on letting people create their own processes and do what they do best. It’s a laissez-faire, work-on-your-phone, coffee napkin, your-boss-is-your-friend kind of project management. And it works.
Here is a summary of the top qualities of an Agilist, compiled by Sue Knies, PMP, CSSBB in an article on the Solarity Group website:
- Make satisfying your customer through early and continuous delivery your top goal
- Welcome changes from customers, even late in the game
- Get a working solution in place as quickly as possible
- Collaborate daily
- Give your team a supportive environment and let them work
- Less document-driven communication, more face-to-face
- Progress is a working solution that is built upon incrementally
- Keep a constant pace
- Focus on excellence and good design
- Keep it simple
- Let your teams self-organize
- Keep fine tuning
PMI-ACP Exam Changes
Originally, the PMI-ACP exam involved 56 tasks delineated and organized into six domains of practice (value-driven delivery, stakeholder engagement, boosting team performance and practices, adaptive planning, problem detection and resolution and continuous improvement- product, process, people). The new program adds a seventh domain entitled Agile principles and mindset and is expanded to 62 tasks.
At the Solarity Group, our Agile Certified Practitioner Exam Prep Course has also hopped on the VW Kombi bus. The class takes into account the new exam requirements as well as weaves real-world project management into the course to make students even better Agilists when they leave the classroom.
PMI-ACP participants are required to have 2000 hours of general project management experience over the past five years (or be PMI-PMP certified) and have 1500 hours of experience working on Agile project teams or using Agile methodologies over the past three years. If that’s you, consider making your Agility official.
The good news about Agile is it’s the natural way that self-motivated people work together to achieve a common goal. It shows respect for individuals and the project itself. It’s open. It’s fluid. It abhors waste.