A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is considered the bible of project management. Bible in that it deals with every facet of project management by means of 5 process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing). Bible also for its size, more than 400 pages packed with concepts that often scare who is studying to become a Project Management Professional.
Thanks to this reputation, concepts expressed in the PMBOK could seem far from the agile development methodology and some weeks ago I expressed my opinions regarding this topic in the Web Project Management FAQ.
And now Forrester publishes on its site an interesting (but not free) report, The PMBOK and agile: friends or foes?, that deepens these arguments.
Starting from the differences between PMBOK and agile development, the authors soon highlight several points of contact between these 2 approaches. But it’s the last part of the report, where they state that it’s possible to combine the strengths of both to optimize outcomes, the more interesting.
In particular, an agile developer can find in the PMBOK:
- a help to clearly define project initiation and closeure;
- a guide to effectively communicate with all the stakeholders;
- clear directives for risk management.
Conversely, an agile methology can help traditional project managers in:
- defining roles and responsibilities across teams, giving individuals the opportunity to learn from each others and to plan collectively;
- encouraging teams to focus on detailed planning of smaller blocks and using that knowlegde to influence future planning;
- building stronger relationships with customers;
- writing the “right” amount of documentation.