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AgilePM® vs PRINCE2 Agile®: which one’s for you?

AgilePM® or PRINCE2 Agile®? It’s a question we’ve heard many times, and one that’s not often easy to answer. It’s a little like choosing a wine – it so often depends on the dish it accompanies, and your personal taste and preference.

What are the key differences between the two?

AgilePM originates from the DSDM Atern software development framework, now known as the Agile Project Management Framework 2.0. Therefore, if you are planning to conduct a purely or predominately software-based development project, then AgilePM is generally the better place to start. It’s built on a multiple release, iterative process model from the ground up, and its organisational structure gives prominence to technical co-ordinators and solution testers not found in PRINCE2 Agile.

On the other hand, PRINCE2 Agile is firmly rooted in the latest version of PRINCE2 2017 and the latest version of SCRUM (Scrum Guide Nov 2017). So, if it is a mixture of software, infrastructure and organisational restructuring that’s needed, then PRINCE2 Agile is what you’re after. It covers scaling options in a lot more depth and allows you to mix together both big design and ‘design up front’ areas of a project.

How are they similar?

Much like fine wines, though there are plenty of subtle differences, there are often similarities. For example; both methods are founded on principles, both have a process model of sorts, both have a distinctive project organisational structure with differing roles and responsibilities, and both have a series of techniques, some of which are the same or similar and others somewhat different.

What are some of their key features?

One unique feature of PRINCE2 Agile is the concept of the ‘agilometer’, which guides the project manager in understanding how much agility is needed in a project. A second unique component is the coverage of the need for agile contracts. The difficulty with using what are known as ‘traditional’ contracts in agile projects is that they don’t lend themselves particularly well to change. And considering that agile is naturally ‘change-friendly’, this seems counter-productive. So, agile contracts are designed to find a medium between the two to help tackle these challenges.

In contrast, some unique features of AgilePM include a focus on the importance of testing and, more specifically, the different types of testing. It emphasises the need to test throughout a project, because the sooner a defect is found, the easier it is to fix.

Another unique feature is the Project Approach Questionnaire (PAQ), which is a valuable tool that assists project managers with how to tailor the method to a specific project environment, using any necessary special approaches. It also helps to assess any risks before a project starts.

Do I need to study anything else first?

The AgilePM Foundation and Practitioner courses have, essentially, no student pre-requisites, and if you hold PRINCE2 Practitioner, you can take the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner without sitting the PRINCE2 Agile Foundation first.

No framework has all the answers you may be seeking, so you may end up sampling multiple approaches until you find which parts strike a chord with your organisation’s unique situation and localised needs. Both are highly popular and well-received courses so, based off the information provided here, the choice is yours! Perhaps you’ll end up adopting the best of both, but if you’d like more help deciding, visit our AgilePM and PRINCE2 Agile course pages, or contact one of our training advisors for more information.