This list provides resources for agile software
project management. This list includes books and papers on a variety of
topics. The purpose of the list is to provide an academic foundation and
practical experience base for managing software development projects and
products using the principle and practices of agility.
Anchored by the Project Management Institute's
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), much of the PM literature places
emphasis on a set of practices required to successfully manage a project.
Arranging these practices so as to address the
needs of a modern software management process is not defined by the PMBOK. By
"modern" I mean one in which emerging requirements, changing technology,
declining–returns–economies, and post–normal attributes operative.
Modern–Science Approach to Project
Modern project management is heavily
influenced by the belief that a project management process can be improved
by scientific methods. These include the beliefs that:
investment opportunities with an explicit purpose, beginning, duration,
and end can be identified early in the project.
costs for each business or technical decision exist, in most instances
with a reversible decision process.
and acceptable project attributes can be identified.
predictions of project duration and resource demands are possible once
the requirements have been defined.
consequences can be determined in advance.
The failure of the
project was due to lack of skills rather than inappropriate feasibility,
suitability, or acceptability of the solution.
Post–Modern Science Approach to Project
This is a normal–science view
of project management.  In an emergent software development domain, this view can be replaced with a post–modern view,
in which there are:
facts about the project attributes.
about the values and expectations.
stakes with irreversible consequences.
decisions in the presence of insufficient information.
affect broad communities of interest.
Agile methods do not mean that the
normal–science model is irrelevant, just that such a model is applicable
only when uncertainty and decision stakes are low.
attribute of post–normal science method is the reliance on heuristics.
Using heuristics to guide the development of a software project allows the
project management method to be placed in a post–normal science context as
There are several issues with normal–science approach, not
the least of which it is the control centric. The most recognizable
control of software
development exhibited by the high-ceremony linear waterfall method. Attempting to control a
development process which by its very nature
is emerging and evolving leads to disappointment for all participants -
stakeholders and providers. It also creates the initial emotional
disconnect between the high–ceremony PM methods and agile methods.
Empirical Process Control Paradigm
One way to distinguish the differences between
traditional project management and agile project management is to look at the
process as a control system.
"It is typical to adopt the
defined (theoretical) modeling approach when the underlying mechanisms by
which a process operates are reasonably well understood. When the process
is too complicated for the defined approach, the empirical approach is the
appropriate choice." – Process Dynamics, Modeling, and
Control, Ogunnaike and Ray, Oxford University Press, 1992.
Empirical process control
relies on frequent inspection and continuous adaptation to minimize risk
and produce quality product. Agile project management implements
empirical process control through iterations, frequent increments of
working, and tested functionality.
Requirements emerge through the efforts of self-organizing small
teams, and direct collaboration with the stakeholders.
The General Discussion Question
In order to generalize the discussion, here are
some questions that might be asked:
How can an Agile Project Management method be
reconciled with the contents of PMBOK, CMM, or other high–ceremony guidelines?
Can the elements of the PMBOK be applied to
an agile PM method?
In which software development environment is the
so–called "waterfall" method appropriate?
In which environments is waterfall clearly not
How can the project manager make the
determination which of the many PM methods to use?
Just a Quick Starting Point
One important aspect of Agile PM is a
description of what the project management does not do, that
distinguishes it from the high-ceremony project. The PM does not:
Assign work to the developers
from an external resource of process.
Design the system in an "up
Set Priorities without the full
participation of the stakeholders.
Select the features for implementation
without the full participation of the stakeholders.
These activities and many others are done by the
team and the customer.
 Classical science and conventional problem
solving were labeled “normal science” by Kuhn. Post–Normal science
acknowledges there is high system uncertainty, increasing decision stakes, and
extends the peer review community to include the participants and
stakeholders, who insure the quality and validity of the conclusions.