PMI Agile CoP Transparency

Back in December, the PMI Agile Community of Practice (CoP) leadership agreed we'd take steps to provide some transparency into what we are doing.  If you are curious about what we're up to, I invite you to follow the link below. Here is the link to our board.

Anyone can access this Kanban (read only): Username: Password:  GoAgile

What do you think?  Is this enough transparency?

Image Source: Pictofigo

October Surprise

Nobody could have been more surprised about this October than me.  It was, by far, the best month this year.  It all started when my son kept asking me why.  Over and over again, why, why, why.  It lead me to write the why ask why blog post.  It made me ask myself if I was still on my "Critical Path". I think it's really easy for us to go day to day and forget why we do the things we do.  We sometimes forget our goals.

For the first time in a while, I thought about what was important to me and my professional goals.  I realized I wanted to get more involved in both the Agile community and the PMI community.  I realized I wanted to do more to educate, advise, and support.  Most of all, I wanted to deliver value.  You may hear me rant from time to time about the ecosystem surrounding the PMP certification.  As PMI rapidly approached 400,000 PMPs, I remember back to the days when I was passionately living Agile and Scrum every day, not just overseeing a program using a heavy waterfall approach.  But we all need to pay the bills.  I've done what I can to leverage Agile methods where I can when I can.

It was time for a reality check.  I signed up to attend the PMI North American Congress in Washington DC.  A few days before it started, I met up with 4 Agile pundits, all in Washington DC, attending the PMI Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) and representing the PMI Agile Community of Practice (CoP).  After having a few drinks and exchanging ideas, it was the most inspired I had felt in over two years.

The next week, I attended the Congress and saw two very conflicted worlds.  I saw a very strong push by PMI to support Agile.  Everywhere I turned, there were banners or messages supporting the PMI Agile Community of Practice (CoP).  I then spent 3 days attending Agile centric sessions, all of which were introduced by Frank Schettini, Vice President, Information Technology, at PMI.  The message?  Agile is here to stay.  PMI supports Agile.  PMI uses Agile.  How was any of this conflicted?  The average Congress attendee appeared curious but also very ignorant to what Agile was about.  I don’t find it surprising, considering there is a complete omission of the word “Agile” in PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) version 4.0.  But, the PMBOK version 5 is in the works.  A new PMP credential exam is being release in August 2011.  There is hope for them yet.  I met many Agile thought leaders over the course of 3 days.  At the end of those 3 days, I knew I was back on the Critical Path.

Later in the month, on October 22nd, I attended Agile Tour DC.  I was able to immerse myself in Agile for an entire day.  This time, it wasn't just the speakers who knew and supported Agile.  Every person I spoke to was curious, excited, and optimistic about the future.

I then published an announcement that The Critical Path had been nominated for the  Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 2010 in the area of Project Management.  You can vote for me if you like.

On October 24, I found a quote by Steve Jobs that spoke to me and left me feeling inspired.  About the same time, Mike Cottmeyer of Leading Agile recommended I read Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  The book had a major impact on the writing for the rest of the month.

Along the way, I wrote a few posts in my Zombie Project Management series.

On the 27th of October, Agile Scout published my contribution to their series "the State of Agile" and I focused my editorial on Mastery-based Learning and the Paradox of the Certification.

The month was concluded by my reporting that PMI had reached 400,000 PMPs.  Again, I wanted to touch on mastery-based learning and the paradox of the certification.

And so concludes October 2010.  One of my core professional goals is to promote Agile methods and principles.  Another is to educate and inform the collective project management community on sound methods and approaches.  All of this under the umbrella of mastery-based learning.

I will continue to be optimistic.  The best is yet to come. Keep your eyes out for the article I'm writing for PM Network magazine. Stay tuned for announcements I will be making in November.

Like the image?  Find it at Pictofigo

Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you buy a copy, I could make $1

Day 3 of PMINAC

Today was the last day of the PMI North American Congress.  It's started well enough.  I left the house at 6:45am.  Due to Washington DC traffic, I arrive 2 hours and 30 minutes later.  Yep, welcome to my flesh little slice of hell. I did arrive in time for my first session.

Here were the days events:

Flexible Project management: Extending Agile Techniques Beyond Software Projects.

Teamed up with John Stenbeck, Laurie Diethelm, Rich Sheridan, and Lisamarie Babik for the session exercise. I was in John's and Lisamarie's sessions before.  Both enjoyable.

My notable Tweets:

There must be dedication to the team. If you don't have flexibility in your project, change is expensive. Co-location may not be pleasant but it is key to team communications. iterate, iterate, iterate. Keep your options open. Decide your last responsible moment. Out of hundreds of cited projects, there was not a single case where the requirements did NOT change

Modern Agile Contracts for the Real World by Jesse Fewell

Notable Tweets Contracts are put in place to make people accountable. When dealing with contracts, traditionally we start with scope... ...but what if we are constraint driven? Fix the cost and time? Distinguish the proposal, from the contract, from the project execution Look for a balance between T&M and fixed rate. Try graduated T&M As project managers, you should be influencing at the beginning of the project As a PM you need to empower decision makers As a PM, don't hide things. Keep people informed Change is not a risk. Change is a reality

The attendees then broke out into groups and everyone participated in an exercise.  There were lots of smiles with this group and they were really engaged.

We then broke for lunch and then I checked out the Exhibit hall.  I was hoping to say hello to Dave Garrett but he was talking to someone.  Dave was one of the first people to follow me on Twitter.  I admire what he's done for the project management community with

I then went over to the VersionOne booth.  I spoke to Ken Mills and Leeann Berner for a few minutes.  I just drank a cup of coffee (thank you to Gantthead for the breathmints) so I don't think I let them say much.  I really think they have a great product and wanted them to know that.  I think customer feedback is good, especially if you like something.

I then made my way to one of the umpteen million couches around the hotel.  I sat for a few minutes and began to doze off.  In my semi conscious state, I think I farted.  I have to say, it's not cool falling asleep in a public place and then farting.  People look at you funny.  Check out the picture of this poor guy.  Yep, I felt your pain brother, I felt your pain.

Jesse and the guys from Excella Consulting stopped by.  I chatted with them for a few minutes.  I then attended Nancy Nee's session on Metrics for Agile Project.  Pretty good session.  Here are some notable tweets.

Tie all metrics to goals and objectives The less granular of the feature list that you report the better. Avoid task level reporting. How to estimate? ROM or team velocity Daily stand-ups are a great way to manage ADD Referencing the Sulaiman, Barton, Blackburn paper on EVM

My last session of the day was the creme dela creme of the Congress.  I got to see Michele Sliger's session titled Goodbye, Scope Creep, Hello Agile!

The only thing that sucks is my Droid X flooded my Twitter stream with updates and then turned off (battery was dead).  Yep, no more tweets.  But, the silver lining was I actually got to listen to Michele talk.  Michele offered a compelling argument on why waterfall may have worked in the past but not so well now.  She illustrated how waterfall works and how Agile works.  She then showed how scope creep would be applicable with waterfall but now becomes an opportunity with Agile.   Offered the audience a glimpse into Kanban.  This was the only session I saw at the Congress where Kanban was really discussed.  She did an awesome job of presenting.  It didn't matter if the attendees had never heard of Agile before the Congress.  By the time Michele was done with her session and the Congress sessions officially ended, I feel confident there were a lot of light bulb moments.  The reception of Agile at the Congress was overwhelmingly positive.  Sure, there were a few haters out there.  But, I believe they were in the gross minority.

Thank you to all of the PMI Agile Community of Practice people who put on such excellent sessions.  Thank you to PMI for realizing the importance of Agile adoption.  Thank you to all of those people out there who followed along on Twitter.  I know I forgot awesome moments from the last 3 days.  But, I'll admit, my ass is tired!  I am all Congressed out.  For those out there who are wondering why this PMI Congress favored Agile so heavily, only time will tell.  I'm just ready to get back to work and do my part in educating people about Agile.

Day 2 of PMINAC

And so concludes my second day at the PMI North American Congress.  Again, it was an awesome day. I went to 4 different Agile centric sessions.   Titles included

Why Failing Early in Agile is a Good Thing!

An Agile Simulation in 75 Minutes

Agile PM Mastery in 60 Minutes, Guaranteed!

Beyond Backlog and Burndowns: Complementing "Agile" methods with EVM for Improved Project Performance.

I really enjoyed the Agile Simulation, presented by Brian Bozzuto, MBA, PMP, CSP and Giora Morein, PMP, CSM, CSP, CST.  Check them out at BigVisible Agile Training.  Yes, we who work in this industry enjoy having a lot of letters after our names. But seriously, these guys earned every letter. Though a few people struggled with the simulation, most got it.  I saw several light bulb moments from session attendees. It's exciting when someone looks you right in the eye and says "I think I get it!"

Later, I had lunch with Michele Sliger and Lisamarie Babik.  I had such a blast sitting with these two and just enjoying myself.  Sure, I was enjoying the Congress but this was fun!

I wanted to make a special note about my final session of the day.  It was about Agile and EVM.  The material was presented by a PhD and a colleague who had working with EVM for over 20 years.  The response to their presentation was mixed at best.  For those in the audience with an Agile background, it was a challenging topic to cover.  But, it was still interesting.  To counter that, several with EVM backgrounds were acting like 3-year-olds and that we were trying to steel their teddy bears away.  Some people got up and left the session, the guy next to me chewed on his finger nails until he fell asleep, and some in the audience just wanted the microphone to argue about the 32 points of EVM criteria.  But let's move on.

After the sessions had ended for the day, I had the honor and privilege to meet a few people that I've known through blogs and the Twittersphere.

I hung out with Brian Bozzuto and Bob Tarne.  I then met Elizabeth Harrin, resulting in remarks about the coffee at the PMI Congress. Forgive me Elizabeth, I was in the moment.  I then I went off to have drinks with Bas De Baar, Josh Nankivel, and Cornelius Fichtner.

So, I'm off to bed.  Day 3 will be a long one.

Day 1 of PMINAC

Sliger and HuetherAnd so concludes my first day at the PMI North American Congress.  It was an awesome day.  It started with the morning presenter, Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer of the United States.  I originally didn't plan to see this him speak.  I'm very glad I did.  I was really surprised when he talked about being more agile and stated

We're not just looking at Agile methodology, we're also moving to Agile management.... & EVM is not a silver bullet.  In addition, he said process will no longer trump business outcomes.

Immediately following the presentation, I met up with Michele Sliger, author of The Software Project Manager's Bridge to Agility and someone I've admired for a while.  Shhhhh don't say anything.  She might think I'm a groupie or something.

Off we went to have some lunch.  Let's skip the details of lunch.  It was OK but I was more interested in hanging out with Michele.

Just before we went to the first presentation, we stopped off at the tag and ribbon table.  It had buttons from all of the Community of Practices.  But the one Michele and I were looking for was missing!  Where was the Agile Community of Practice!?  The same happened for the Agile CoP ribbons.  Come to find out, they ran out.  I guess that's a good thing.

Sunday was going to be limited to just 2 presentations.  I chose Growing Up Agile: the Next Generation of Project Managers, presented by Lisamarie Babik, PMP.  My second presentation was 5 Years of Teaching Agile PM or PMI: Lessons Learned and Recurring Resistance by Mike Griffiths.

I enjoyed both sessions a lot and if you were on Twitter, you probably saw Michele, or Jesse Fewell, or myself doing real-time tweets.

The day concluded with the key note address by President Bill Clinton.

All in all, the day was full of surprises.  So, some may ask, are you Agile?