PMP-PMI vs agile project management: which one is better?

Answering this question may take hours of passionate discussions, but still: pmp-pmi vs agile project management – which one is better? For me, pmp-pmi and agile project management are like martial arts! So: which one is better?

What I share with you in this article is:

  • Firstly, some personal reflection about pmp-pmi vs agile project management: which one is better?
  • Secondly, how I use both at the same time. I focus on how to take the best of both

1. Let’s be pragmatic:

At the end of the day, like for martial arts, what makes the difference is not the technique itself, but how the technique is mastered to be put in practice in a real situation.

As a karate expert can beat a krav maga beginner, or a taekondo beginner will be beaten by an aikido expert, you can deliver great value to your stakeholders with both. So, instead of asking myself PMP-PMI vs agile project management: which one is better? I prefer to take the best of both universes.

In my case, I prefer is to use PMP-PMI and agile project management with Scrum together, regardless the preferences of which one is better than the other. At the moment, I am lucky to manage projects that are complex and big enough that requires from me to use these two methodologies of project management at the same time.

” I use PMP-PMI to structure the project, and I use Scrum as delivery approach. ”

For that, I integrate SCRUM in my project management plan, specially as part of the communication, schedule and human resource management plan.

Sometimes in the same project, I can have one of the deliverables that is related to machine learning for recommendation systems and another deliverable could be purely organizational change management. So different complexity and different level in my work breakdown structure.

How do I use PMP-PMI and Scrum methodology at the same time?

Let’s start with PMP:

On my SharePoint, I have two main document libraries: “project management documents” and “deliverables documents”.

The default view of my the project management library is structured by knowledge area. In there, I store all the basic documentation such as the project scope statement, work breakdown structure, WBS dictionary, my planning and so on.

SharePoint project management library

The structure of the “deliverables documents” library may vary, but in all situations I create for sure the category “project management” in this list. I store under this category the detailed work breakdown structure for each of the deliverables of the project. This is where I make the link with agile project management using scrum.

To be able to move from PMP project management to scrum agile project management I need to have a product oriented work breakdown structure.

From PMP-PMI to agile project management:

There are two key elements to be kept in mind during this transition from PMP-PMI to agile project management methodologies: user story maps and backlog.

My first step is to convert the work breakdown structure of one specifc deliverable into a user story map. This is not an exact science but as general rule my workpackages become epics or features, depending on the number of levels I have in my WBS.

This is an iteractive process, so I do not expect to have the perfect user story map at the first trial, but it is in collaboration with the team that this gets right, so I adapt the user story map and the work breakdown structure as needed to ensure consistent communication to different level of stakeholders.

For the backlog, I use Scrum as it is: based on the initial user story map I organize grooming or backlog refinement sessions and all continue in SCRUM mode as you already know.

What is better: PMP-PMI, Prince2 or agile project management? I do not know. What I do know, is that for the moment, I am can better use PMP-PMI and agile project management methodologies.

As no approach is written in stone, and we can always gets the lessons learned, tell me, what is your approach? In which one are you better?