Agile! It’s becoming even more essential in what seems like the ever shifting sands on our business landscape. It might appear to be all doom and gloom right now but every great project team understands that for a business to survive in times of great change, it has to have the ability to shift direction and adapt at breakneck speed. This is why we are still talking Agile.
So if you are considering upskilling yourself or your teams or making your expertise official (it’s always a good time to enhance your CV) then considering one of the most renown Agile courses running to date is a good option. Welcome to PRINCE2 Agile® and AgilePM.
Why are they similar?
They are both approaches that can be used in isolation to run your projects and they also incorporate a range of Agile ways of working in their execution.
They are also quite similar in their study route, having an entry level Foundation qualification and a more advanced Practitioner level which needs to be refreshed in order to retain its ‘current status’. But when selecting a course to study it is just as important to know what the fundamental differences are too…
PRINCE2 Agile® and AgilePM approaches and why they are diferent
The linear Vs the cyclical: PRINCE2 Agile® takes the tried and tested linear approach of PRINCE2® applying Agile behaviour(s) and ways of working to this. This includes SCRUM, Lean Strt up and Kanban to name but a few It is essentially a hybrid of two methods (PRINCE2® and Agile). It is also advocates all Agile methods of working while AgilePM advocates only those of the DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method) from which it originates.
Objectives of the approaches
AgilePM (Agile Project Management) is the slightly more established of the two methods (est. 2010) and as it would suggest, deals specifically with Agile methods of Project Management. It follows the AgilePM handbook published by the Agile Business Consortium and, as it is a framework, it’s primary goal is to guide the candidate through the labyrinth of Agile project management methods. Its origins are in software development and therefore it is more fluid and flexible.
PRINCE2 Agile® is a hybrid of two very different styles of project management, the linear, or waterfall approach (PRINCE2®) and the Agile (cyclical and responsive). So essentially, it provides guidance on how to incorporate Agile ways of working into the more tradition linear approach of PRINCE2®.
Processes used and how they differ
An Agile approach to delivering projects is cyclical. Agile works from the bottom up, meaning product delivery is its foundation, while PRINCE2 Agile® works from the top down and takes the ‘project direction’ as a tool to product delivery.
For AgilePM, product development and project management focus on the product ‘lifecycle’ which is iterative (repetitive in its steps) and each time will have 6 different phases.
The AgilePM development phases
1. Pre-Project -ensures that only the right projects are started based on a clearly defined objectives and are set up correctly
2. Feasibility -high level investigation of the potential solutions, costs and timeframes to assess whether a proposed project is viable from both a business and technical perspective.
3. Foundations -aimed at establishing a firm and enduring foundation for the project and how it will meet the needs of the business. The detail of the solution is limited so that it does not constrain the way the solution evolves.
4. Evolutionary Development-working within Timeboxes,the Solution Development Team create the solution increments, iteratively exploring the low level detail and testing continuously as they move forward.
5. Deployment -to bring a baseline of the solution into live use and act as a review point prior to deployment of future development work. There may be a number of passes through deployment for the business to accept delivery of the overall solution incrementally. After the last realise the project is formally closed.
6. Post-Project-takes place after the final planned deployment of the solution to reflect on the performance of the project in terms of the business value actually achieved.
PRINCE2 Agile® very much follows the PRINCE2® approach to managing in stages. It’s incorporation of Agile comes in the behaviours which can be applied to any given project and how much or how little of these behaviours can be applied to any given project (SCRUM and Kanban are given specific attention in the manual).
The team structure of PRINCE2 Agile® and AgilePM
While PRINCE2 Agile® focuses on a single project team structure, AgilePM acknowledges that there are supporting teams that are empowered with their own part of the project.
So which one is best, AgilePM or PRINCE2 Agile®?
There is no simple answer to this but to help you make the decision that is best for you about which study route to take it is worth asking yourself one of the following questions…
1. Which approach is my current organisation running? If you are embedded in your role and your organisation already has a tried and tested method then this is always the best approach to adopt to begin with.
2. What does my future organisation look like? If you are planning on moving companies then it is well worth your while investing some time to find out what their approach to project management looks like.
If there is no easy answer then it might be worth considering how you see yourself working as a project manager. AgilePM is a great approach to take when starting project management from scratch in an organisation. It focuses on the short term product delivery and so is easy to adopt if there is nothing already in place. However, PRINCE2 Agile® does carry the kudos of the PRINCE2® brand that is still so popular the world over.
Like many approaches to project management, the perfect solution is to consider an initial approach then enrich it with an additional one when you have gained more experience. Although both approaches can be run in isolation of each other there is great benefit to be gained from having expertise in both.
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