Friday, 30 January 2009

Agile Project Management

by Jim Highsmith (978-0321219770)

Agile Project Management (APM) was recommended to me by Allan Kelly, when I wanted to lean more about it and try and get a few pennies to drop. Allan's more than a little bit of an expert on project management and Agile in particular, so I take his recommendations seriously.

It's a good book. I know I say this about a lot of books, but it's probably more verbose than it needs to be. The first two or three chapters are a general discussion about project management and how APM differs and has more to offer.

Chapter 4 to Chapter 8 is a discussion on the principals and practices of APM. This is where the really interesting and informative material is. Given what I've heard about Agile, I was surprised by the fact that being an Agile project manager is a full time job and there is a fair amount of documentation, even if it is mostly to keep external stakeholders happy. What's important is to get the right amount of documentation and that is also made clear in the book. APM also encourages some upfront planning, but again just enough, so that the team has a clear vision of where the project is going. However, even these chapters I felt were verbose.

I feel I understand APM far more than I did before, but that there's still a lot to learn, that is mostly likely to come by doing. Although APM is meant to handle change, it still seems that change has to be controlled within an iteration. I still feel there's something I'm missing there.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the name drop!

    While I can believe that large agile teams need a dedicated project manage I wouldn't expect a small team too.

    In some ways the role of the project manager is to ensure what has been asked for gets delivered. In Agile you replace delivering "the specified requirements" with delivering value. The important point being that what is delivered can, and does, change often.

    Therefore while the project manager role is reduced the product owner or manager role in increased.

    Unfortunately, in the UK at least, the Product Manager role is at best misunderstood and at worst not understood - people think you meant to say "Project" but accidently said "Product". The words may only be 4/7s different but the way the way the tasks are performed are completely different.