Bridging the Gap: Traditional to Agile Project Management


By Susan Parente, PM

Connecticut, USA


In today’s world of fast-paced technology and continually changing requirements and project scope, the need for Agile Project Management has greatly increased. Responding to this demand, the PMI® (Project Management Institute) launched a new certification, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)SM. The result of this fast growing certification is the creation of a new space where Project Management and Agile Practices for Software Development meet. This calls us to ask how do we transition from traditional project management to agile project management? This paper translates traditional project management and its processes, as detailed in the PMBOK Guide, to agile practices. It discusses methodologies which can be used to assist in bridging the gap between traditional project management and agile project management.

What is Agile Project Management and when does it make sense to use agile practices? How do the PMBOK Guide knowledge areas we are familiar with relate to agile project management and how are they incorporated into agile practices will be evaluated. Recommendations for implementing agile practices will be provided.

When requirements and environmental conditions are in flux, our ability to respond to changing needs is critical to managing projects with agility. When should you implement agile practices and how do you implement agile project management in a traditional project management environment? This paper will respond to these questions based on research in this field.


The objectives of this paper on Bridging the Gap: Traditional to Agile Project Management are to assist traditional project managers with understanding what Agile project management is and what Agile practices are. Traditional project management will be compared to Agile project management. This paper will engage in the topic of when Agile practices are valuable to use and why they should be used. Finally, a number of agile methodologies will be reviewed and advantages and disadvantages of each will be detailed.

The goal of this paper is to provide readers with a path from tradition to Agile project management, along with a reason to choose that path.


What is Agile? Agile is not software or a software package. It is a set of principles that guide teams and that guide product development. Adoption of Agile necessitates a culture shift for organizations, since in many ways it is contrary to traditional organization and managerial structure and how traditional project management works. Agile requires open communication between teams, stakeholders and customers. This open communication can see to be a beneficial attribute, and it is; however it also comes with increase client engagement which might not work well in all project environments.

To begin this discussion of Agile project management, let’s first define what Agile is and is not.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 2nd annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, USA in June 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.



About the Author


pmwj38-Sep2015-Parente-PHOTOSusan Parente

Connecticut, USA




Susan Parente, PMP, PMI-ACP, CISSP, PMI-RMP, ITIL, MSEM is a project engineer, consultant, speaker, author, and mentor who leads large complex IT software implementation projects, and the establishment of Enterprise PMOs. Ms. Parente’s focuses on risk management and Agile project management. She has 16+ years’ experience leading software and business development projects in the private and public sectors, including a decade of experience implementing IT projects for the DoD. Ms. Parente is also an Associate Professor at Post University in Connecticut. She has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester in NY and has a MS in Engineering Management from George Washington University in DC. She is also PMP, CISSP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP and ITIL certified, and is a CMMI and ISO 9001 Practitioner.

Ms. Parente is a Principal Consultant at S3 Technologies, LLC. Her company’s focuses on revitalizing projects through the use of risk management. S3 Technologies does this by teaming with clients, stakeholders and vendors and using risk management to deliver project successes. Ms. Parente trains and mentors project managers in the area of project and risk management. She is also an Agile project management generalist. Ms. Parente has developed a methodology which she uses to implement risk management programs for both small and large clients and is currently completing her manuscript for a book on implementing risk management.

Susan can be contacted at [email protected]