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When PMI Introduced the Elephant – Part 3

This post concludes my 3 part series about when PMI Introduced the Elephant in the Room.  It’s the basis of my talk at AgileDC on October 26. The elephant I am referring to is the mainstream adoption of Agile.  In part one of my series, I introduced the idea that Agile was about to cross the chasm.  The chasm I’m referring to is based on the “Technology Life Cycle Adoption Curve” concept from Geoffrey Moore’s 1992 book Crossing the Chasm. I see parallels between a technology life cycle adoption curve and a methodology life cycle adoption curve.  Though waterfall may be at the far right, with the laggards and skeptics, I see Agile as being embraced by the innovators and visionaries for the last 10 years.  But within the last view years, the earliest adopters and visionaries started to get traction.  It took real leadership to follow a few “lone nuts” and brave ridicule.

There comes a time within the adoption curve that the tipping point occurs.   If the original Agile leaders were the flint, the first followers were the spark that made the fire.  With PMI creating the PMI-ACP certification, there is going to be a lot of fuel on the fire.  After teaching my first PMI-ACP class over the last few days, I asked my students why they were pursuing this certification.  What made it different?  Their answers were both enlightening and similar.  The common answer was that their organizations see the PMI endorsement of Agile methods as the legitimizing of Agile.  Until PMI got involved, Agile practices were “undisciplined ideas from those on the fringe”.  Even with the certification being in the pilot stage, it has rapidly become a viable alternative to other processes that just aren’t working.  Though Agile isn’t for everyone, I find it amazing that so many have not adopted it, merely because it wasn’t supported by the status quo.

I’m actually not sure where we are on the adoption curve.  But, from listening to my students, the fear of ridicule is being stripped away.  I do believe we are crossing the chasm.

Watch this 3 minute video.  If you are a version of the shirtless (Agile) dancing guy at your organization, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!

There is no movement without the first follower.

(Link to Video on YouTube)

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

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