The word “agile” has become a popular buzzword first in the IT industry and then in many industries afterward since it has been used in 2001 during the declaration of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The term was used to describe a new software development methodology characterized by short but complete lifecycles leading to frequent product releases. It is an iterative or incremental method as against the traditional phase-based sequential waterfall method. Because of its popularity, it has also affected other aspects of development and business such as project management.
What is agile project management?
Agile project management is the counterpart of a traditional plan-based PM when managing agile projects. As agile principles value more the process, a working product, customer collaboration and responding to change, some traditional PM roles and responsibilities also have to adapt to these change of priorities. Project managers and PM continue to be essential in the successful completion of any type of project, even those following agile processes. One comparison made is that while a traditional project manager enforces the plan and supervises the team, the agile project manager lays out a vision and leads the team by serving them.
The top 5
One way of helping project managers understand more the ideas and implications of agile principles, methodologies, and project management is through books about agile PM. Below is a list of books that will appeal to beginners and veterans alike interested to learn about and transition to agile effectively. There are choices that provide introductory knowledge as well as specific methods like Scrum. There are discussions also about agile processes in general or agile teams in particular.
1. Agile Project Management for Dummies
Summary: Written by Mark Layton, PMP, a certified Scrum Trainer, and chairperson of the Los Angeles Agile Leadership Network. It was published in April 2012 and has 360 pages. The paperback edition is available in Amazon.com at $16.49. In spite of the title, it offers the readers in all seriousness an informative guide about agile PM approaches, tools, and techniques to help develop and implement software packages. The reader becomes knowledgeable when to apply the techniques and empowers the whole team to quickly complete the project.
Summary: Michele Sliger and Stacia Broderick Viscardi are veteran project managers and PMI-certified PMPs as well as Agile coaches and Certified Scrum Trainers. Their book is a special and rare resource that shows how PMPs can transition successfully to the new Agile mindset and environment using familiar PMBOK Guide language and processes. Published in May 2008, it still currently ranks #19 in Amazon’s Best Sellers Agile category, #74 in PMP Exam category, and #1 in Quality Control – Software Design, Testing and Engineering category.
3. Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition
Summary: Lyssa Adkins had 15 years of experience as project and program manager before she got involved in teaching and coaching agile and Scrum. Published in May 2010, the paperback edition has 352 pages. It is priced at $33.67 online. Since the agile methodology is different from traditional methodologies, the role and responsibility of the project manager has changed as well. A command and control style will not work in an agile environment, so project professionals transitioning to agile should learn to adopt a new mindset to better guide the project team.
Summary: Written by Jim Highsmith, software developer, IT manager, project manager, and agile consultant. This updated edition was published in July 2009. It has 432 pages full of valuable lessons with a price of $34.98. The book is for project leaders, product managers, and executives. It provides an integrated best practices approach that can be applied to any size and scale of project and take advantage of speed and mobility inherent with agile methods. This second edition also discussed how measuring performance can encourage agility.
Summary: Author John Goodpasture, PMP, has broad and extensive experience as project office director, systems engineering program director, program manager for the US DOD, and vice president of a large imaging company. This hardcover book was published in January 2010 and consists of 320 pages. It is priced at $50.95. The target audience is the experienced project professional or business analyst who has been comfortable with traditional PM but now needs to understand and take advantage of agile in the enterprise.
The list is but a short one that aims to help the readers of this community have a starting point. Like before, some criteria were taken into consideration such as price, targeted audience, coverage, relevance, and publishing date, to name a few for variety. It is important to remember, despite the hype, that agile projects will not run successfully by themselves without project management. But what they need is agile project management.