The good news is that worldwide IT spending which is currently at whopping US$ 4 trillion is estimated to touch gigantic US$ 9 trillion by 2025. On the downside, globally respected Gartner survey, in its 2012 IT projects survey, reveals that 20-30% of IT projects fails i.e., project did not meet its project, scope, time, cost objectives. About two thirds of failed projects slipped on their scope or time or cost targets. Sheldon F. T. et al. (1992) discovers that about 45% of product features are never used!!! Johnson J (2002) further reveals that requirement defects are primary reason for project failure. In todays’ whirlwind environment, we are facing with 20-50% changes in requirements i.e., high requirements volatility.
All the above facts, emphasizes the need of good project management and good, flexible requirements management. The facts also expose the major weaknesses in classic ‘waterfall’ software development lifecycle (SDLC). The waterfall model requires requirements to be freeze before we start implementation which is not realistic. Also customers who provide high level objectives did not understand the huge information technology (IT) requirements & design documents and intangible software, and get to see their product only at the end of implementation, typically after several months. Many times, customers are shocked to see gross misunderstanding of their requirements or needs and by that time project have already consumed huge time & cost. Worse, if the project realizes the infeasibility of the solution at the end.
Globally there have been efforts to find out better SDLC since late 20th century. These different SDLC methodologies had following key things in common
Light weight (i.e., more focus to software development over building volumes of requirement & design documents)
Iterative software development (i.e., developing software in small
pieces over big bang development)
Customer was continuously involved in the whole lifecycle (not just during requirements gathering and final delivery as in waterfall model)
Focus on VALUE to customer at every stage of the project
Rapid response to Change
After seeing the better success rate of these methodologies, the creators of these methods joined hands under the banner ‘Agile’ in 2001. Agile is an umbrella term stands for these different light weight methods. The CHAOS manifesto in 2011 recognized that agile projects success rate is three times that of waterfall, which brought cheers to both customer & IT development community. Some of the prominent agile methodologies include Scrum, Extreme programming (XP), Feature driven development (FDD), Crystal family, Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) etc., Later Lean & Kanban also joined the family of agile.
While there are many courses (certifications) for individual methodologies like Scrum, XP… or for roles in these methodologies like scrum master, agile coach, product owner, the Project Management Institute (PMI) in US, has piloted the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) for project management community in agile projects. PMI-ACP talks about popular agile methods, and the important knowledge, practice, tools & techniques used in these methods which are useful to agile project management. The course gives a head start to agile project manages and there is no surprise why this course is becoming very popular like PMP®. Come & join the ACP bandwagon and gets networked with agile Project managers across globe.
Author : Srinivasan.V