Today I am launching a new blogging project which will end up taking months, if not the rest of the year. I intend to go through a major Agile Project Management textbook and take detailed notes for my future use and for use in conjunction with future study groups that are studying Agile Project Management. But before I launch the project, I want to explain what motivated me to undertake this project.
1. Traditional Project Management
On this blog, I have written posts covering every single chapter in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK® Guide for short. I did this as an outgrowth of a study group I was running out in Orange County, CA when I was a member of PMI out there until 2013. The PMI Orange County chapter ran its own PMP/CAPM Exam Prep course, and after I took the CAPM exam, I helped the VP Education Dan Healey run the next three exam prep courses. I organized study groups for those taking the course to ensure that after they completed the exam prep course, they signed up for the exam and reviewed the material to the point that they felt comfortable in sitting for the exam and passing it. The study groups were effective; those who joined them were 50% more likely to pass the exam within 3 months of taking it than those who did not participate in such a group.
Then in 2013, I moved to Chicago, and in July 2014, I became the Director of Certification. The PMI Chicagoland chapter does not run its own PMP/CAPM Exam Prep course; we have outsourced the courses to two vendors: Becker Educational Association, which puts on a classroom-style course, and PM Enterprises, which puts on an online course. However, I still felt we needed to add a study group for those who completed these courses, because some people who took them went on to take the exam, but others felt that the material came at them too quickly, and they needed a study group to take them to the point where they felt comfortable in signing up for the exam and taking it.
Since Chicagoland is a lot more spread out than Orange County was, we are doing the study group online, which I run twice a week, Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. I started the study group in January, and have been gradually adding people to the group as word has gotten out.
2. PM–The Next Generation
This was the title of the keynote speech done by our keynote speaker, Bill Fournet from the Persimmon Group, at our PMI Chicagoland chapter’s 4th annual Professional Development Day event for 2014. I was the Chief Project Manager for the event, and I was pleased that his talk was well received by the 200+ attendees to the event. He talked about several technological and social trends that would help shape the profession of Project Management over the next 20 years. One of these trends was the increasing importance of Agile Project Management. The phrase that he mentioned that surprised me was that most projects in 2030 would not be using Traditional Project Management methodology or Agile Project Management methodology, but rather a hybrid of the two.
Most people outside of IT think that Agile Methodology is mainly used in the IT industry, but its effectiveness has caused many in the traditional PM community to experiment with adopting some of its methods. For example, at our PMI Chicagoland chapter dinner meeting last year, we had someone talking about the importance of Lessons Learned, and he said that a new trend is for organizations to do Lessons Learned periodically during the course of the project, rather than at the end of the project, as is traditional. This initiative, he said, came from the Agile PM community, but is now starting to become more prevalent in the traditional PM community.
So the conclusion is inescapable–if you want to be on the cutting edge of project management, you need to learn about Agile Project Management methodology.
3. Agile Project Management Certification
Since the importance of Agile Project Management is being recognized, the importance of PMI’s new agile certification, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification, has increased as well. This spring our PMI Chicagoland chapter is arranging for a vendor to put on a PMI-ACP Exam Prep Course as an addition to our offerings for PMP/CAPM Exam Prep. But if the 4-day boot camp type courses for Agile are like the ones for the PMP/CAPM Exam, then I anticipate the new for a study group for that course as well for some of those who have completed the regular course.
I realized, however, that I was in no position to put on a study group because of my own professional lack of knowledge about what Agile Project Management is all about. Well, as they say, nature abhors a vacuum, so I decided to combine my own personal need to learn about Agile with my professional need to be conversant with Agile as the Director of Certification for my PMI Chicagoland chapter.
Therefore I looked around for a suitable textbook for the Agile Project Management curriculum.
I was looking around, but found that, as opposed to PMP/CAPM Exam, which has the PMBOK® Guide as the standard authoritative volume to study from, and numerous reputable textbooks byAndy Crowe, Rita Mulcahy, Crosswinds, among others, PMI recommends a list of 11 textbooks and there is no authoritative text equivalent to the PMBOK® Guide. However, there was a lucky coincidence when John Stenbeck, the author of “PMI-ACP® and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, approached me about putting out an informative webinar for those in the PMI Chicagoland chapter educating them about the benefits of the Agile Methodology, whether or not they go on to certify for the PMI-ACP® or not.
When he sent me his textbook, I looked it up on the Internet and saw that it had great reviews, as did his company GR8PM, which puts on an exam prep course based on the book. After obtaining the book, I realized this was an excellent book for my own education, let alone for the members of the chapter.
That’s when it all gelled together in my mind. I would use John Stenbeck’s “Desk Reference” textbook and go through it chapter by chapter and make notes about it on my blog. I contacted him and asked him for permission, and he graciously consented.
I had been so busy setting up the PMP/CAPM Exam Prep study group in January and February, however, that I didn’t start the blog project until now. But I realized that I need to start it now, because well, that bright, shiny future that Bill Fournet described in his talk on PM–The Next Generation can start right here, right now, by opening John Stenbeck’s book and sharing it with everyone!
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