Episode 43 — All Things Agile with Jesse Fewell

Episode #43
Original Air Date: 10.03.2017

34 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Jesse Fewell

Founder of the original PMI Agile Community of Practice, co-creator of the PMI-ACP® agile certification and co-author of the Agile Practice Guide®, Jesse Fewell, joins the cast of Manage This to discuss Agile in the 6th Edition PMBOK® Guide.

Jesse is an author, coach, and trainer who helps senior leaders from from Boston to Bangalore transform their teams and organizations. A global entrepreneur and the founder of VirtuallyAgile.com, he has distilled his experiences in the handbook “Can You Hear Me Now: Working with Global, Distributed, Virtual Teams”.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, he is a double-certified leadership coach and an accredited instructor with four distinct agile certification bodies.

In this episode, Jesse explains how Agile got in the PMBOK® Guide and describes how PMI and the Agile Alliance came together to author the Agile Practice Guide.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"And I think, you know, in a sense right now we’ve figured out it’s best to let them both coexist.  And that’s the way I feel about Agile and Waterfall.  They’re both wonderful, wonderful ways, perspectives on a project, how to do a project.  And they fit really well in different environments."

- Jesse Fewell

"This Agile Practice Guide is the first ever community-authored, non-commercial, methodology-agnostic publication on Agile in the industry.  And those distinctions are important.  It’s community authored so that it’s not just one blowhard know-it-all saying “do it my way.”"

- Jesse Fewell

"So my advice to somebody who probably thinks that they’ll never use an Agile technique ever is, you know what, those little blurbs in the appendix we put in the PMBOK 6 might be enough for you.  I think a professional project manager absolutely should be aware of what’s going on in the industry.  But if you want to get kind of like a first take on it, you want to go a little bit deeper, have a more structured exposure to it, check out that Guide."

- Jesse Fewell

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ANDY CROWE ● BILL YATES ● NICK WALKER ● JESSE FEWELL

NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  Every two weeks we like to come together and talk about what matters to you, whether you’re a seasoned veteran in project management or a newcomer to the field.  It’s a chance to take a step back and try to get a fresh and objective look at the state of the industry and our role in it.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me are two guys who always seem to be playing an ever-expanding role in project management,  Andy Crowe and Bill Yates.  And Andy, it looks like you’re going to be able to put on your nerd hat today.

ANDY CROWE:  We’ve got a good ’cast today.  You know, I’m excited to have Jesse on the podcast, and also it surprises me that we’ve gone this far and not had him on.

BILL YATES:  That’s true.

ANDY CROWE:  So it’s long overdue.

BILL YATES:  Yup.

NICK WALKER:  Jesse Fewell is an author, he’s a coach, and a trainer in the domain of innovation, collaboration, and agility.  He’s the founder of VirtuallyAgile.com and has been instrumental in helping project teams all over the world succeed and improve their results.  He also founded the original PMI Agile Community of Practice, co-created the PMI ACP Agile Certification, and co-authored the Software Extension to the PMBOK Guide.  Jesse is the world’s only certified project management professional to hold the expert-level designations of Certified Scrum Trainer and Certified Collaboration Instructor.  He’s the author of “Can You Hear Me Now:  Working With Global, Distributed, Virtual Teams.”  Jesse, welcome to Manage This.

JESSE FEWELL:  Man, I want to meet that guy.

NICK WALKER:  Oh, yeah.  Impressive résumé there.  But I love a quotation from your website.  It says, “Everywhere I go” – this is what you say.   “Everywhere I go, I see breakdowns and breakthroughs, idiocy and innovation, pain and promise.  I believe,” you say, “the difference between the two is leadership and whether our managers actually do it well.”

All right.  That might sound simple; but, if it were, I doubt if you would have to devote a career to it.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.  I say those things because it reflects what for me was a pivot point in my career, which was switching from being an individual contributor on a technology team to moving into project management.  And it was a critical moment where exactly what you just happened, that there were some stupid things and some amazing things.  And then I realized I could be the greatest engineer in the world, and our projects were still going to fail because of leadership issues.  And so I traded my T-shirt, my programmer’s T-shirt collection for the project manager’s blazer and never looked back because I figured that’s how I could have an impact and just amplify results, rather than – no matter how good I was as a contributor.

NICK WALKER:  It’s more than a wardrobe change, though, I guess.  Was that transition difficult?

JESSE FEWELL:  Well, I guess perhaps I’ve always been – and I think, Andy and Bill, you guys can relate to this – I’ve always been the achiever mode kind of person.  And maybe perhaps project managers are drawn to the role because of that.  And so when I made the switch, I read every book there was.  And I started having one-on-ones with my team.  I started setting smart goals.  And I was just like, I was a little Energizer Bunny, like I’m going to be the best manager ever.  Watch.

ANDY CROWE:  You were that guy.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.  So the transition was difficult only with respect to that, as somebody that had not yet been beaten down and embittered, I was moving a little bit too fast for a lot of the people around me.

ANDY CROWE:  Jesse, when I first started – to kind of date myself because I think I’m probably a few years your senior.  But when I first started, Blanchard’s “The One Minute Manager” was the only one of those books in publication, I think.  So that puts it in context.  And it doesn’t take long to read.  That’s the beauty of it.  It’s a little book.

JESSE FEWELL:  And that stuff still resonates today.

BILL YATES:  Yes.

JESSE FEWELL:  It’s timeless.

ANDY CROWE:  Good read, no question.  Jesse, we’re having fun.  We are neck deep in the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide.  And we’re going through this, and we’re working through looking at how – now, you know, PMI’s definitely made a move toward Agile, a decided move.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  Now, they did it with the PMI ACP credential earlier on, years ago.  But now it’s an obvious, deliberate move with watching the PMBOK Guide sort of incorporate Agile concepts, incorporate things with it.  Have you had involvement with that?

JESSE FEWELL:  Why, I’m so glad you asked.  This past year it’s been – it’s been well over 12, 14 months that a lot of this stuff has been underway.  And there were two parallel initiatives that were intentionally designed to have overlap between them.  One is the Agile content of PMBOK 6, and the other is the complementary, supplementary document, the Agile Practice Guide.  And I was actively involved in both projects on the core teams.  And let me first just say that the release of these documents represents what I think to be a perfectly incremental response to the market by the Institute.  So how do you like them apples?

BILL YATES:  I like that.

ANDY CROWE:  So you believe this is the final word, and nothing more can be written.

BILL YATES:  That’s what I heard.

ANDY CROWE:  That’s what I hear.

JESSE FEWELL:  No.  Incremental.  Incremental.  Right?  So that means there’s absolutely more to come.  In fact, and we’ll get into the details of each of these two projects momentarily, but at the very end of the Agile Practice Guide we have an open invitation for brutal feedback.  We’re very candid and honest about the fact that this is – this is our first cut at this.

ANDY CROWE:  Excellent.

JESSE FEWELL:  And so we expect another edition to that.

ANDY CROWE:  Hey, Jesse.  You know, I got my start in the world of projects as a Waterfall guy, no question.  And so just for listeners who might not know, let me give a 30-second explanation of Waterfall, plus or minus two minutes.  And why don’t you do the same for sort of iterative, adaptive Agile methodologies, as well.

So Waterfall projects.  This is sort of the plan-do-check cycle.  This is something that you do a lot of planning upfront, you execute, then you monitor and control and come back and make adjustments as necessary.  It’s typically a lot of heavy, upfront work on the planning side.  You try and gather as many requirements as you can.  And this was the way that things were done for a long, long time in the project world.  It’s still really a popular methodology, if you will, especially when you have resource-intensive projects.  If you’re building a building, a lot of times you want to get all the planning.  You want to know what your resources are before you start execution and so forth.

And so this made its way into IT and became an interesting fit because, in the IT world, maybe some of the practices weren’t always lining up with the methodologies.  And finally some practitioners got together and said we’re going to try a different way.  We’re going to try, instead of this top-down sort of project manager controls the team and controls the process and controls the pace, we’re going to try a different way.  So Jesse, give us a quick idea of what that change was.

JESSE FEWELL:  The change came about when realizing that a lot of the work – and we’ll start with the origins of this in IT – a lot of the work in IT is not predictive.  It’s not plannable because you’re in innovation work.  And by definition, innovation is unprecedented.  If it’s new, it is different.  And when you’re in the business of innovation, you don’t have previous project history to rely upon.  So we’re going to have to take that plan-do-check-act cycle and compress it, and maybe even blitz it.  And so you had, over the course of the last, I don’t know, 50, 60 years, the rise of techniques and concepts like Rapid Application Development and the spiral methodology by Barry Boehm and things like that.  And it represented a recognition that, when the IT field started in the middle of the 20th Century, we didn’t have anything to go on except classical project management, let’s try it, let’s go for it.  And those were the first MIL standards that introduced into IT.

And then there was a gradual progression of double-loop learning and all of that stuff that started to influence.  You had the Skunk Works and Lockheed Martin that was considered to be like a proto Agile shop.  And then in 2001 a lot of these IT thought leaders who were experimenting with these things formalized what they each were doing in a silo as a communal aligned declaration of ways to do work differently.

And it really is, in my opinion, the word that I used to describe the difference is “compression.”  We’re going to take all the different silos in a project organization and compress them all as a single team.  We’re going to take the timeline that’s maybe a year long or two years long and compress that into a month.  And we’re going to take the work scope that we have, and we’re going to compress that into something that’s lighter weight.  We’re going to compress the planning to be lighter weight.

And so from my perspective, and I get a lot of flak from Agile people about this, the difference between the poorly used word “Waterfall” and the poorly used word “Agile” is not in kind, but in degree.  And so that’s my take on the big difference between the two.  And there’s absolutely a time and a place.  And we could talk about that, too.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, Jesse, the reality of how that manifests on an Agile project is the team is different.  So the team on a Waterfall project is a team, but they’re not necessarily empowered.  Whereas on an adaptive project, on an Agile project, the team has the customer embedded as one of the team members, and they are empowered, and they make real-time decisions and get real-time data.  Things happen, they really happen a lot more quickly, I would say.  Would you agree with that?

JESSE FEWELL:  Right.  And that’s because, when you’re dealing in the unknown, you have to probe and reflect much more often.  So like the Agile buzzword of a retrospective, you know, it’s a lessons-learned meeting.

ANDY CROWE:  Sure.

BILL YATES:  Right.

JESSE FEWELL:  It’s just – it’s the same thing everybody does.  It’s just done more frequently.  And the amount of lessons that you learn is compressed and focused down to maybe one or two actions that you’re going to take for that coming month.  So with respect to the empowered thing, so I did a poll to my LinkedIn tribe about a month or two ago.  And I said, “What does Agile mean to you?”  And some people said, “Agile means empowered teams.”  And somebody said, “Agile means risk management.”  And somebody else said, “Agile means value.”  But out of, like, three, four dozen responses, not a single one was the same.  And so Agile is in the eye of the beholder, what it means to you.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah.

JESSE FEWELL:  And so there are a lot of people who are, like, self-organizing teams?  Whatever.  That’s a means to an end.  I need to deliver.  And other people are like, self-organizing teams?  No, that’s the whole point.  I don’t care if we deliver as long as we enjoy coming to work.  So it all depends on perspective.

ANDY CROWE:  I like that a lot.  And Jesse, my dad worked for Lockheed Martin for 36, 37 years.  And back before it was Lockheed Martin, when it was just Lockheed.  But they had a skunk works called the L-11 Building.  And it was called the “Black Hole” because, once you got assigned to L-11, nobody was ever seen again.  And he got assigned for a period of time to L‑11.

BILL YATES:  Wow.

JESSE FEWELL:  No way.

ANDY CROWE:  And I was absolutely panicked that we’d never see him again.  You know, I really believed that this was, you know, he wouldn’t come home anymore.  He was gone.  We’d still get a paycheck, but…

BILL YATES:  Right.  That was it.  He was gone.

JESSE FEWELL:  “Agile” means we break up families.

ANDY CROWE:  Right, right.  Depending on perspective, like you said.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, yeah. Was that a windowless place that your dad was at?

ANDY CROWE:  It was indeed.  Yeah, most of Lockheed was windowless because they didn’t want, if bombs were dropped, they didn’t want shattered glass to blow in.

BILL YATES:  Oh okay.  All right.  Well, that’s a great segue, Jesse.  I want to hear about another mysterious organization that you’ve been involved in called the Agile Alliance.  How did the Agile Alliance and PMI work together, and what was your role in that?

JESSE FEWELL:  So, as we were talking earlier, these new Agile products that PMI’s put out have been in the works for well over a year.  So about the middle – early 2016, a conversation started to emerge within the core PMBOK team and within PMI leadership, saying, you know what, it’s time.  We’ve formalized an Agile community, first with the virtual communities and now with ProjectManagement.com.  We’ve offered a credential.  And it’s time.  It’s time for us to offer some content.

So they started asking, who should we partner with?  And it became pretty obvious that, when you’re the leading NGO organization in the world of management, you want to talk to the leading NGO associated with whatever topic you’re dealing with.  And that’s the Agile Alliance.  And they initiated a conversation, and the Agile Alliance has been serving a broad community for a while.  And so we’re kind of winking and nodding at each other a little bit about the enmity and the animosity between the respective project management and Agile communities.  And the Agile Alliance serves a big tent, includes people that are very religious and dogmatic about this stuff, as well as people that are pragmatic and – wait for it – collaborative.

BILL YATES:  Ah-hah.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

JESSE FEWELL:  So they started – they continued conversation.  And the idea emerged, which would be that about three or four subject matter experts from each volunteer base – so the Agile Alliance has a vast and wide volunteer base, and the Project Management Institute does, as well – would come together in a cross-functional team with support from PMI’s publication staff, as well as from the Agile Alliance logistics staff, and write something.  And so that conversation was happening.

And right about the same time PMBOK 6 was in full swing.  And Mike Griffiths has been a knowledge leader, a contributor on that forever; also happens to be an absolute Agile pioneer, invented a handful of methodologies around it.  And then he kind of invited me to be a part of the conversation.  And so the two of us were the principal advisors to the core team over at PMBOK 6 about how to inject some Agile content.  And what the leaders decided was that there was going to be an Appendix at the end of the document to discuss the process groups from an Agile perspective, and that there would be a Preamble to each of the knowledge areas to describe the Agile perspective on a given knowledge area.

BILL YATES:  And we’re talking about the Sixth Edition PMBOK.

JESSE FEWELL:  Sixth Edition PMBOK.  So Mike Griffiths has been a knowledge leader, a thought leader in both communities.  And so he was the perfect guy to be the first one on the front.  And then I kind of tapped along because I’ve volunteered and spoken in the Agile Alliance events and communities, as has he.  So that’s been my involvement with them.  So there were really two work tracks, both of which were being represented by Agile Alliance volunteers and speakers.  Mike used to be on the board for the Agile Alliance in a previous life, and I have volunteered for them and spoken for them.  So that’s been my – to answer the original question, that was my involvement with that organization and how we kicked off the two parallel initiatives.

ANDY CROWE:  Jesse, I’ve got a question for you.  I’m neck-deep in the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide now.  And as I’m going through it and kind of parsing it word for word and really digesting it, one of the things that I’m wondering, as I go through it, when you read the PMBOK Guide, if you can read it and understand it – which, you know, that’s not a trivial thing by itself.  It’s a technical document.  It’s an ANSI Standard, you know; it’s not a lightweight John Grisham novel that you flip through and read.

But if you read the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide cover to cover – let’s just take the Fifth Edition.  Let’s take that one, the one that, you know, that everybody was familiar with.  You read it cover to cover, you at least get an idea for where to begin managing a Waterfall project, how it works, what processes to do, and – I’ll say this qualified because there could be a really healthy debate on this – but a general idea of what order to do those processes.  That’s maybe the most controversial thing I’ll say today.  But you get a general flow for how it goes.

What were the goals that you and Mike did when you started feathering in Agile to this?  Because it came out – here’s the point I’m making.  For the Sixth Edition, you don’t get an idea of how to manage an Agile project when you read the PMBOK Guide now.  You do get an idea of the Agile perspective on some of these things.

JESSE FEWELL:  Oh, goodness, no.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah.  So what were the goals?

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.  Well, so the project, the PMBOK 6 project had already been long underway.  And the structure of it had already been determined.  And, in fact, Mike and I were approached really close to publication deadline.  And so it’s probably unfair to say that the Agile content in there was an afterthought.  But a standup comedian would probably get away with saying that.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

BILL YATES:  It was compressed.

JESSE FEWELL:  There you go.  There you go.  And it was – ha ha ha – just-in-time delivery; right?  And so there was already a structure in mind and in place.  And it’s my opinion that, when the first reviewers starting looking at this, there was a big, glaring, gaping gap as far as its relevance to the market.  The tag line, Andy, is most projects, most of the time?

ANDY CROWE:  Yes.

JESSE FEWELL:  Agile is now part of that conversation.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah.

JESSE FEWELL:  Particularly in the IT space and now in the other spaces.  It’s increasingly more so.  I’d say we’re in the late adopters phase in the IT space with respect to Agile, or the late majority.  And we’re probably in the early adopters for markets like education project management, marketing project management.  So that gaping hole needed to be addressed.  And, hey, let’s get the two guys that have been working with us, that  have been working with them, and get them onboard as we are initiating a deeper conversation about a supplemental doc.  So part of the reason why the Agile Practice Guide was chartered was precisely because of that, that we needed to create a dedicated space to the Agile conversation that wasn’t encumbered by an ANSI standard and could be much more flexible and freeform.  And that’s how it played out.

ANDY CROWE:  You know what, and this is maybe not the best parallel in the world, but I don’t think I would have done this if I were PMI.  And PMI didn’t ask my opinion, and that’s okay.  My feelings are not hurt.  But I don’t think I would have tried to do it because, you know, you go back in history, and Einstein came up with the special theory of relatively and then the general theory of relativity.

And around this time, some really smart other guys, Niels Bohr and other guys, came up and started working on quantum mechanics.  And we can prove both of them work.  Each of those theories works.  And yet they don’t reconcile with each other really well.  And it’s not – we haven’t found a way to plot it out on a spectrum and say Waterfall lives here, and Agile lives here.  They’re two…

JESSE FEWELL:  Oh, but we’ve tried.

ANDY CROWE:  We have tried.  We have.  And people try blended approaches, and that can be really tricky to execute.  But you know Einstein died, on his deathbed he was working on a unified field theory, trying – and we’ve tried ever since to come up with something mathematically that explains how quantum can be true and how relativity can be true.  And I think, you know, in a sense right now we’ve figured out it’s best to let them both coexist.  And that’s the way I feel about Agile and Waterfall.  They’re both wonderful, wonderful ways, perspectives on a project, how to do a project.  And they fit really well in different environments.  But to try and blend them and say, okay, here’s where Waterfall ends and Agile begins and that kind of thing can get you into trouble.

JESSE FEWELL:  Because it’s hard to do that without understanding a lot of the fundamental differences and similarities.  A lot of people, what they do is they’ll try to shoehorn one thing into another thing.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

JESSE FEWELL:  And call it “hybrid.”  And this is actually – I’ve been on tour over the last year with Mark Price Perry and Andy Jordan, talking about building a hybrid PMO, and what does that mean because hybrid is another loaded word.  And I believe that – I’ll go back to the previous comment.  The differences we’re talking about, arguably they fit on a spectrum.  I felt like they fit on a spectrum that didn’t make the cut in the document.  But it’s differences in degree, not in kind.

BILL YATES:  Got it.

JESSE FEWELL:  That’s kind of my flavor.

BILL YATES:  Jesse, I want to talk about what we do have in the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide and the Agile Practice Guide.  I think it’s important we’ve got one of the authors right here, so let’s talk about it.  So we’ve got that Appendix or that Annex that has about six or seven pages in the PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition on Agile or adaptive methods.  There’s also, for each knowledge area, for the 10 knowledge areas, there’s a preamble, so to speak.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yup.

BILL YATES:  There’s a piece in there where you guys have taken, I think the topic is called “Considerations for Agile in Adaptive Environments.”  And there, you know, like if I look at the example of scope for that knowledge area, for scope management, there’s a nice lengthy paragraph giving some perspective for what’s different in an adaptive or Agile approach versus Waterfall or traditional.  So, you know, we can see – I appreciate the tone that you strike right from the beginning, which this is not the final.  This is the first attempt to start to blend in and see these pieces together.

ANDY CROWE:  This is the camel getting his nose under the tent.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, let me ask one question.  So for many practitioners, they’re interested in any change to the PMBOK Guide because they kind of see that as, okay, this is the standard that I need to know.  What about those who are still using traditional methods, and now their ears are up because of this Agile change to the PMBOK Guide?  What about the Agile Practice Guide?  Do you recommend to practitioners that use traditional methods, should they take a look at that, and why?

JESSE FEWELL:  Well, let me just say upfront I’m a little biased because I did invest a ton of energy and frequent flyer miles on it.  It was built, written, designed exactly for project managers who are Agile curious and want to start kind of picking up on the lingo and picking up on the vibe that these strange project management hippies are all about and what’s that, what is that.  And so it was intended to present the Agile conversation in a way that could be accessible to project managers.  And there’s a couple of differentiators, in my opinion.

But this Agile Practice Guide is the first ever community-authored, non-commercial, methodology-agnostic publication on Agile in the industry.  And those distinctions are important.  It’s community authored so that it’s not just one blowhard know-it-all saying “do it my way.”  It’s non-commercial so that we’re not out to make a buck here, although everybody says PMI’s just about making money.  And, well, actually it’s a not-for-profit organization, so that’s a nuanced conversation.  And then, finally, it’s methodology agnostic.

There is one graph at the end that says, oh, by the way, here are two dozen methodologies.  That’s not the point.  Because a lot of professionals today live in the tangible, and we go straight to slot A fits into tab B methodology, tell me what to do next because I don’t want to have to think for a living.  And then you miss out on all the intangibles around collaboration, around adaptability, flexibility, about prioritization and tough business choices.  That’s the good news that project managers should be facilitating is that stuff.  So all of that was written with an eye towards making it accessible to project managers.

So my advice to somebody who probably thinks that they’ll never use an Agile technique ever is, you know what, those little blurbs in the appendix we put in the PMBOK 6 might be enough for you.  I think a professional project manager absolutely should be aware of what’s going on in the industry.  But if you want to get kind of like a first take on it, you want to go a little bit deeper, have a more structured exposure to it, check out that Guide.

BILL YATES:  That’s great advice.

JESSE FEWELL:  And then that might be your first step to explore in where to go next.  Maybe I want to go deeper in one of those methodologies.  Or maybe I want to go deeper into one of those soft skill areas.

BILL YATES:  Okay.

JESSE FEWELL:  So the Guide could be a good start.

BILL YATES:  That’s great advice, Jesse.  And I get that, as we’re growing as project managers, we need to know about trends, we need to know about new tools, and we need to be aware of things that could make our life easier and better.  So good word.

I want to ask another question.  You were talking about advice.  What advice do you have to those who are going to take the exam with the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide?  How much Agile do they need to know?

ANDY CROWE:  And by that you mean the PMP exam.

BILL YATES:  Yes, the PMP exam.

JESSE FEWELL:  The PMP exam.  I can share with everybody that the product management, the product team for the PMI ACP was actively involved.  There’s absolutely plans to update the PMI ACP at an appropriate time with the content from the Agile Practice Guide.  The degree to which the Agile content in the PMBOK Guide or the Agile Practice Guide is going to influence the PMP is yet to be determined.  And so part of that is timeline.  But also part of that is market strategy and philosophy and things around that.  So Andy, what have you heard about when the PMBOK 6 is going to impact the PMP?

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  So what happens in a case like that, it’s an interesting cycle, Jesse.  And it’s changed a little bit over the years.  But what happens almost immediately after the updated PMBOK Guide is released and adopted as a standard, the exam will realign.  And so let me give you a trivial example of what that might mean.  For instance, if you’re dealing with questions about risk, well, in the Fifth Edition they were called “control risks.”  That was the process.  And in the Sixth Edition it’s “monitor risks.”  Okay?  So the wording will change pretty quickly.  And that kind of realignment happens just to make sure everything is – nothing’s conflicting with the current PMBOK Guide.

But then there will be a Role Delineation Study.  And the RDS happens, and it doesn’t happen in the same cycle with the PMBOK Guide.  It happens later.  So when the RDS, this Role Delineation Study happens, it’s going to look out at the practitioners at what they’re actually doing.  And it’s sort of a big survey study that they do industry-wide, and they come back, and then that will greatly influence the PMP exam.  So a lot of people expect that the exam’s going to change with the PMBOK Guide.  It does.  But the initial changes right away  are subtle, and they’re just for accuracy.

BILL YATES:  Jesse, it’s interesting, too, because the Role Delineation Study will not impact the exam content outline until a future date.  Like Andy said, we’ll see minor changes in wording.  And “harmonization,” I think, is a big word that you guys used as you were looking at the…

ANDY CROWE:  Ooh, I like that.

BILL YATES:  The language in the Agile Practice Guide needs to be harmonized consistent with that that’s in the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide.

JESSE FEWELL:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  So there’ll be harmonization both in terms of lingo and lexicon used on the exam to match up with the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide.  And, you know, PMI has also stated that some of the exam questions are written by volunteers.  So as those go in for the Sixth Edition of the PMP exam, as they see this, the Sixth Edition PMBOK Guide as an approved source for the PMP exam, there’s some Agile in there.  So to your point, there are those paragraphs, those introductory paragraphs.  There’s the Appendix or Annex in the back that’s six or seven pages.  So those will – we’ll be telling those who are pursuing the PMP exam to pay special attention to those and make sure they’re familiar with the concepts.

JESSE FEWELL:  Right.  So in the Fifth Edition the PMBOK introduced the continuum of life cycles.

BILL YATES:  Right.

JESSE FEWELL:  And that on one extreme versus another extreme, those are the kinds of things that I would expect any project manager to be aware of and to understand.  And that continuum was an example of something that was reviewed and revised in Sixth Edition and also in the Practice Guide itself.  And there was a significant amount of effort and drama over terminology alignment between the standards.  So it makes sense that that might be the first visible thing you start seeing.  But mum is the word as to how much and what kind of impact this Agile stuff is going to make it into the PMP and in what nature it’ll be impacting.

NICK WALKER:  Jesse Fewell, thank you so much for this opportunity to pick your brain.  Obviously, these are conversations that will be ongoing.  So perhaps we can have you back on a future podcast.

JESSE FEWELL:  Any time.

NICK WALKER:  Well, thanks so much for being with us today.  We have a gift for you before we go; okay?  This is the Manage This coffee mug.  It’s a nice size.  It will hold lots of your morning fuel or whatever you’d like to put into it.  So enjoy.

JESSE FEWELL:  That is awesome.  Thank you so much.  It’s always a pleasure chatting with you guys.

NICK WALKER:  Jesse, how can people get in touch with you?

JESSE FEWELL:  The easiest and best way is to go check out my website, which is my name, Jesse, J-E-S-S-E, Fewell, F‑E‑W‑E‑L‑L, dot com.  And there are links there to my YouTube feed, my Twitter feed.  And there’s a form there where, if you want to reach out to me, we can schedule time together and all that stuff.

NICK WALKER:  Well, thanks again, Jesse.  Andy and Bill, thanks, as always, for your proficiency and your perspective.

We have a gift for our listeners, too:  Free PDUs just for listening to this podcast.  To claim your Professional Development Units toward your recertifications, go to Velociteach.com and select Manage This Podcast from the top of the page.  Click the button that says Claim PDUs and just click through the steps.

That’s it for us here on Manage This.  We hope you’ll tune back in on October 17th for our next podcast.  In the meantime, visit us at Velociteach.com/managethis to subscribe to this podcast, to see a transcript of the show, or to contact us.  And tweet us at @manage_this if you have any questions about our podcasts or about project management certifications.  We are here for you.

That’s all for this episode.  Thanks for joining us.  Until next time, keep calm and Manage This.

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