PMBOK vs Prince2 vs Agile

Learning Mudra, Category - PMP

Project Management is an ever-growing profession now. According to the American-based Project Management Institute, over 20 million new project management roles will be created globally in seven project-intensive industries between 2017 and 2027. As the competition is associated with increasing globalization, more and more companies are trying to become efficient and bring new products into the market quickly. Therefore organizations will perceive an advantage to help them achieve their objectives if they apply Project Management best practices to achieve projects rapidly, within budget, and according to specifications.

If you’re in the Project Management field or immersed yourself in this thriving discipline, then you might probably wonder about steps to get certified to advance in your career. There is a wide range of methodologies often applied to project management, with the three most commonly considered being PMBOK, PRINCE2, and Agile. The uses of these methodologies across industries and businesses vary from one to the other. Many companies even create their version of methods, mainly using PMBOK principles as a foundation. However, Agile’s popularity is rapidly increasing.

What is PMBOK?

PMBOK stands for the Project Management Body of Knowledge. The Guide to the PMBOK collects processes and knowledge areas generally known as best practices within the project management discipline. PMBOK is being published by PMI or (Project Management Institute) since 1996. It is a document that standardizes project management information and practices, an essential tool for Project Management Professionals, and became a global standard for the industry. PMBOK has powerful frameworks for managing HR, scope, and procurement decision-making for project managers. Many Project Manager’s following PMBOK become the primary decision-makers, solve the problems, manage the budgets, do the HR, etc.

PMBOK has five primary process groups and nine knowledge areas for almost every project.

The five immediate process groups are:

  • Initiating
  • Execution
  • planning
  • Controlling and Monitoring
  • Closing

The ten knowledge areas are:

  • Integration Management
  • Scope Management
  • Schedule Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Communications Management
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement Management

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that focuses on processes rather than reactive or adaptive methods.PRINCE stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, published by UK Government agency CCTA in 1989 for government information systems projects. PRINCE2 was revised in 1996 due to its reputation as being too rigid and only applicable to large projects.An upgrade to PRINCE was assured to virtual committee spread across 150 European organizations. The original method was developed for information systems and Information Technology projects focusing on cost and time reduction. The second revision has been more generic and applicable to any project type and named PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 methodology provides information on functional and financial authority with senior management and project manager. The program helps a project manager to oversee projects on behalf of the senior management of the organization. Many government organizations follow the PRINCE2 methodology to manage projects because of the ease of using and learning it. Unlike PMBOK, PRINCE2 doesn’t support soft skills development that is advantageous to project managers. PRINCE2 provides a straightforward methodology for running most projects which have clear objectives and deliverables are described.

PRINCE2 recognizes 45 separate sub-processes and further organizes these 45 into eight processes as follows:

  • Starting Up a Project
  • Initiating a Project
  • Directing a Project
  • Controlling a Stage
  • Managing Product Delivery
  • Managing Stage Boundaries
  • Closing a Project
  • Planning

What is Agile?

Agile is the newest of these three methodologies, came into existence in 2001 and created by a software developer’s team in Utah. Their approach for lightweight software development resulted in the publications of Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Agile refers to an iterative, incremental method for managing the design and building projects, aiming at a new product or service development flexibly and interactively.

Agile is more flexible, allowing deliverables to be produced with minimal rework done, because of breaking deliverables into more miniature stages, thus reducing overall risk. Agile requires individuals who are capable of openness, consistent customer input, and management openness to non-hierarchical forms of leadership. At the same time, Users of Agile must thoroughly understand the principles so that Project Managers will be leading the project with attainable expectations.

Agile follows the Manifesto of 12 core principles and centers upon four values that are:

  • Communication with parties is important than standard procedures and tools
  • Focus on delivering a working application than providing thorough documentation
  • Collaborating more with clients
  • Open to changes rather than freezing the scope of the work
pmbok vs prince2 vs agile

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Unlike in the case of PMBOK or PRINCE2, Agile methodologies require coaches to support the introduction of Agile into an organization. The employed coaches by the business will ensure whether the agile teams can implement Agile effectively or not. The development and coaching are provided in the form of training offered by the organizations for self-development courses like PMP and CAPM.

Conclusion on the Topic: PMBOK vs Prince2 vs Agile

If you want to compare PMBOK vs. PRINCE2 vs. Agile and wondering about the pros and cons, then there are several answers, and none is better than the other as each methodology has its distinctiveness. It depends on what type of project you are managing and how you would like to manage it. While PRINCE2 mainly focuses on business justification and knowing whether a risk is justified, business remains the most significant asset. While Agile majorly focus on the ability to respond to customer’s needs, at the same time, PRINCE2 and PMBOK are project management methodologies, while Agile is an approach more useful for Managers in delivering products to the customers in time. While these three methodologies have different policies in dealing with the Projects, Project Managers can benefit by using a mixture of these methodologies to create their method for a particular project or a definitive way for the organization itself.

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