PMBOK® Guide: Agile or not?

Insights | 05 March 2018

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® recently published the Sixth Edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Since the first edition in 1996, each new PMBOK® Guide (which supersedes the previous one) has become the current global standard for project management best practices.

PMI recognises that existing practices evolve, and new practices are continuously introduced. So, for example, the Third Edition (2004) evaluated practices based on “generally recognised as good practice on most projects most of the time”, meaning that the PMBOK® Guide was relevant to most projects. The Fourth Edition (2009) expanded the popularised ‘triple constraints’ (scope, schedule and budget) to six constraints (scope, schedule, budget, quality, resource, risk).

A hint of Agile…

In 2013 (Fifth Edition), adaptive life cycles (also referred to as ‘agile or change-driven’) were introduced. Terms like ‘backlog’ (including a glossary definition), ‘retrospective’ and ‘velocity’ were mentioned.

Sixth Edition – Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments

The Sixth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide specifically includes guidance on project management within agile and adaptive environments.  This is in direct response to practitioner contributions, reviews and comments which highlighted the increased adoption of agile and adaptive methodologies in the management of projects since the previous edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

As a result, each knowledge area includes a section ‘Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments’.  In addition, there is an appendix which further explores ‘Agile, Iterative, Adaptive, and Hybrid Project Environments’, including addressing the continuum of project life cycles from predictive (waterfall) to agile.

PMI accreditations and Agile

So yes, as either a budding Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® or Project Management Professional (PMP)® candidate, you need to have an understanding of agile practices and how to integrate them with traditional project management.

If you aren’t convinced, remember that certifications need to be current and reflect the evolving state of the profession.  Increasingly, organisations of all types are valuing agile practices as they strive to be more responsive and flexible in a fast-paced, complex environment.

Whether your projects currently incorporate agile approaches or not, there is an expectation for project professionals to understand and often work within agile environments.

“For the first time, the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition includes guidance on applying good project management practices within agile or adaptive environments.  The addition of this new knowledge makes it one of the strongest, most versatile resources for today’s project management practitioner.”

Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition,

 Project Management Institute, Inc, 2017.

For more information on our PMI Exam Preparation course please call 1300 70 13 14.

PMI, PMBOK, PMP, CAPM are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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