Agile PM Process Grid–Continuous Improvement Knowledge Area

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

I’m now about to discuss a block of three processes that are in the continuous improvement knowledge area that are carried out in the planning phase.   But before I do that, I should spend some time on the relationship between continuous improvement and agile.

What is continuous improvement?   The ongoing practice of advancement through incremental or disruptive changes to the design of the delivery process.   As such, it has affinity to quality assurance in traditional PM, as opposed to the value-driven delivery knowledge area, which has affinity to quality control in traditional PM.

Agile frameworks tend to focus on delivering the right product for the current need, rather than improving on the process of delivery itself.   However, agile project management recognizes that improving the process does improve the product, both the current product and future products, so this continuous improvement is the last knowledge area, although by no means the least important of the seven.

Kanban has affinity with agile in spirit because it focuses on

  • value-driven delivery
  • self-organizing teams
  • adaptability

However, it does not have fixed iteration lengths, so some do not include it as a form of agile.   Well, in my opinion it may not be in the same immediate family as agile, but it is definitely a cousin.

The next post will cover the first of the three continuous improvement processes done in the planning phase, 7.2 Value Stream Mapping.


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