PMBOK for Agile? Is That Even Agile? [AgileBOK]

At a recent Agile gathering I met with an executive who had a very high interest in taking his small company (>15) to the next level. To him that meant going Agile!

Lucky for him he was in the right place. Unfortunately for him he came during a talk that was way beyond his current level of Agile understanding.

Agile meetups are great. They are a great place to learn, network, and photosynthesize Agile knowledge. But I’ve found that many of the speakers that come share very detailed and theoretical information that make the listener wonder: “How can I realistically apply these things today?”

Now, not all Agile meetups are like that. We’ve been to some fantastic ones. But I think you get our point, right? These meetups are opportunities to get fresh new faces into some of the best ways to produce software. We need not forget them!

That’s why Agile Scout is here. We hope to be a conduit of information for those that are just learning about Agile and it’s various forms and frameworks.

Now to the above picture. We recently received an email from an individual asking about Agile.

“I have not seen the complete agile method broken down. Is there a PMBOK for agile? Where should I start if I want to learn the agile methodology?”

Wow. This shocked us. With the plethora of information out there, this individual was simply looking for some simple answers. A startup guide, for short.

This stands in stark contrast to an email we recently received regarding being a guest contributor on Agile Scout. We love the guy who wrote it, and he’s a well known and respected Agilist in our eyes. But we’re not sure we quite agree with him on one point in his email:

“…Most things about agile has [sic] already been told.”

Is that right? Maybe we need to continue to push out old content to remind the masses of what Agile really is.

Do we need a PMBOK for Agile? Ah! Such a philosophical question. I’ve found many that say that having a PMBOK for Agile isn’t very Agile at all. What would it be called? The AgileBOK?

We tentatively agree with that sentiment. But the PMI will go where it wants to go… right?

Our answer would be that the Agile community continue to write about the basics of Agile and help the larger community apply those basics in pragmatic and executable ways.

Let’s bullet point it out.

When writing about Agile, remember to:

  1. Give the reader application (Like this article on Getting Your Team to Define “Done”).
  2. Give examples of how to execute on the content that you’re writing about.
  3. Link to great articles about foundational Agile principles (We do that with our growing Agile Guide).
  4. Step by step guides are very helpful (Like this one on Building a Kanban Board).
  5. Remember your audience (If you’re writing for Agile Guru’s thats fine, just remember the n00bs too).

There is no PMBOK for Agile or AgileBOK, yet.

But as a community we can continue to communicate the value that Agile brings to businesses and even individuals if we continue to write about it. Sometimes, the basics are just enough to begin the Agile journey.

*Edit: Btw, we emailed him back and (hopefully) helped him out!

Author: peter

Peter Saddington is an Organizational Scientist and Certified Scrum Trainer. You can find him at AgileforAll.com

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