Would you Consider the PMI as Your Main Agile Resource?

Surfing on the web I find sometimes things that I consider funny and that make me think. This was the case when I discovered a page about the Agile Project Management Approach on the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) web site. I was initially confused, because the CMU hosts also the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) which is the producer of the famous Capability Maturity Model (CMM).

However, this page is the one of the Planning & Project Management Office of the IT department of the CMU, so I should leave the SEI out of this story. The reason for my amusement is that in the Agile resources suggested at the bottom of this page, the only place is the Agile Community of Practice, a forum provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI). I would have think that the Scrum Alliance or Agile Alliance or Scrum.org web sites could be mentioned. No. Only the PMI. This sounds to me a little bit as if a web page dedicated to healthy food would point to some recommendations provided by McDonald. The PMI Agile community has all my respect, as the CMU IT guys have, but I think that most people would not answer PMI when you ask them to name an Agile organization. I see this as an anecdotal evidence that the Agile adoption sometimes considered as “done” has still a way to go to really be integrated by organizations. The PMI approach is still a reassuring framework for project management. Many people consider Agile as a set of techniques and don’t see that the values are more important than blindly following a recipe. If a project has only three people collocated in the same space and they communicate frequently during the day, maybe they don’t need a daily stand-up meeting.

Another evidence for me of this situation is that the IBM flavor of agile had to put the “disciplined” word in its title: Discipline Agile Delivery. They didn’t have to do it with RUP, did they? Isn’t Agile supposed to be already “disciplined” with practices like frequent delivery to customer for review or Test-Driven Development? This is in my opinion more disciplined than a lot of previous processes where the real life definition of done consists to tick a box at on a checklist at the end of a phase.

You should not believe people saying that Agile adoption is “done”. Neither should you believe that agile, often viewed as Scrum by people, is the only solution to all project and organizational contexts. To get further on this topic, you can read the article “Making Your Culture Work with Agile, Kanban & Software Craftsmanship” from Michael Sahota.