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26 April 2014

Agile Project Management... An oxymoron?

"You can't have project management and be agile," shout the hordes of emancipated software developers.
"Agility requires freedom from command and control" proclaim the coaches.
"There is no role called 'project manager' on an agile team" advise the consultants.

Except, Agility is an adjective, not a noun.

You may have come across a movement in the online Agile chatterati that challenge the notion of 'doing Agile' in favour of 'being Agile.' It's often the same people championing this idea, as the ones that cry out the top three declarations.

Does being agile simply mean applying the principles? Is this a guaranteed improvement over other things?

There are plenty of exceptions to the rule to make agility a universal solution, but as a set of ideas and principles to explore, it has a lot of potential in a lot of places right now.

Given this call to ideas and principles, why can't you be an agile project manager?

I'd argue that there is an opportunity to expand the agile toolkit with a range of good collaborative and transparent practices out of the project management body of knowledge (not the PMI manual, but the wider knowledge set.)  What is to be gained by ignoring what has already been learned before?