The Need for an Agile Desk Reference


In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP® and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference” (or as I refer to it, the “Agile Desk Reference” for short), he talks briefly about why he created the book in the first place.

As you may be aware, for those studying for the Project Manager Professional certification exam, there is a single reference called the guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge or the PMBOK Guide® for short.    However, in creating the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner or PMI-ACP® certification exam, PMI has not yet created a definitive guide that is considered “official” by the PMI organization.

Instead, they give a list of reference materials which include the following:

  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
  • Agile Software Development The Cooperative Game by Alistair Cockburn
  • The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility by Michele Sliger, Stacia Broderick
  • Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins
  • Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products by Jim Highsmith
  • Becoming Agile: …in an imperfect world by Greg Smith, Ahmed Sidky
  • Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
  • The Art of Agile Development by James Shore
  • User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn
  • Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber
  • Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility by Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, James R. Trott

The practical problem faced by someone wanting to study for the PMI-ACP® certification exam is that these books cost over $500 if you bought them all.    However, John Stenbeck found an even more fundamental problem faced by someone who decides to buy all 11 of these textbooks:   they don’t always agree with each, which creates the risk of confusion among those who are studying for the exam.

That is why John Stenbeck created a single-volume Agile Desk Reference that taught the core principles of Agile and, in doing so, created a set of Agile project management processes that are analogous to the 47 traditional project management processes outlined in the PMBOK Guide®.    It is for that reason why I have chosen John Stenbeck’s Agile Desk Reference, not just because it does combine all of the Agile principles in one volume, but because of his innovative approach in presenting those principles.

The next post will talk about one additional innovation, and that is the fact that he has a version of the Agile Desk Reference which also contains the principles of Scrum for those who are going after the Certified Scrum Professional Exam from the Scrum Alliance.    His rationale for combining these two sets of principles in one volume is the subject of the next post.   Of course, you can get the Agile Desk Reference as a single volume without the added Scrum material if you so choose, but the next post contains a convincing argument for getting the expanded Agile Desk Reference.

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