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Mastering Agile Iteration Planning for the PMP Exam 

 September 7, 2023

By  Dave Litten

Mastering Agile Iteration Planning for the PMP Exam

Mastering agile resume planning for the PMP exam The PMP exam is no walk in the park, and many feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to agile resume planning. If you are one of those aspiring PMP candidates, don’t worry! We dive deep into the ins and outs of agile iterative deployment and how it fits into a PMP exam.

Understanding the Agile Framework in PMP

Before sprinting into agile iteration deployment, let’s understand the broader context. Agile is about more than rushing through tasks. It focuses on collaboration, regular feedback and adaptability.

Rooted in the Agile Manifesto principles, the PMP exam will test your grasp of these fundamentals.

The Essence of Iteration

The essence of iteration In simple terms, iteration is a time-box cycle where specific actions are planned and executed.

Once the iteration is complete, you review what went well, what didn’t, and how to improve. This brings us to Scrum, one of the primary agile frameworks relevant to the PMP exam.

Scrum: More Than Just a Framework

Scrum provides a structured approach to deliver value. It divides the project into ‘sprints’ (another term for iterations). Each sprint leads to potentially exportable product growth.

This makes you ask, “What’s the difference between an agile iteration and a sprint?” They are basically the same, but the term ‘sprinting’ is specific to Scrum.

Decoding Iteration Goals

Each iteration begins with a clear goal. This goal is a guiding light, ensuring that by the end of the iteration everyone knows what needs to be accomplished. Goals make iterations purposeful.

Backlog Grooming: Preparing for Iteration

Before diving into resume planning, there is an important step known as backlog grooming or refinement. This includes reviewing the product backlog, ensuring clear user stories and prioritizing them.

The Heartbeat of Iterative Development

A core concept tied to iterative planning is iterative development. It is a methodology where projects are developed through collaboration between cross-functional teams.

The goal? Continuously improve deliverables to ensure they match user needs.

Roles in Agile Iteration Planning

While the Product Owner prioritizes user stories, the team decides how much work they can commit to during the iteration. The Scrum Master facilitates the planning session, ensuring the team has all it needs.

Time-Boxed Iterations and PMP

In the PMP exam, be clear that when the product owner prioritizes user stories, the team decides how much work they can commit to during the iteration. The Scrum Master facilitates planning sessions, ensuring the team has all the requirements.

Expect questions around time-boxed repetitions on the PMP exam. Each iteration is timed and usually lasts 2-4 weeks. This time box ensures teams stay focused and deliver results quickly.

Feedback Loops: The Iteration Lifeline

At the heart of agile are feedback loops. Post every iteration; there’s a sprint review. This ceremony allows stakeholders to see and provide feedback on what the team has to offer.

Remember, in agile, regular feedback is gold dust for communication.

Velocity: More Than Just Speed

Velocity measures how much work a team can handle in a iteration. It helps in planning for the future. While speed is an important agile metric, it is unique to each team and should not be used for comparison.

Continuous Improvement in Agile Iterations

Continued improvement in agile iteration comes pre-inspection after feedback. Agile is a retrospective where the team discusses improvements for future iterations. This is a basic ceremony of continuous improvement, ensuring teams grow and become more efficient.

Agile Iteration Challenges in the PMP Exam

The PMP exam can throw some curveballs when it comes to challenges in agile iterative deployment. These can range from mid-iteration management of scope changes to ensuring alignment with all iteration goals.

Agile Estimation Techniques

The PMP examination undoubtedly touches on agile estimation techniques. From planning poker to t-shirt sizes, understanding these techniques is critical to successful iteration planning.

Defining Done in Agile Iterations

Definition of Done in Agile Iterations An essential term in agile is the ‘definition of done’ (DoD). This is a list of criteria that a job or user story is complete. Ensures consistency and quality in DoD deliverables.

Visual representations help track progress. Agile, burn-down and burn-up charts show work completed against work planned, helping teams see where they stand in the iteration.

The PMP Exam Way Forward

Agile Iterative planning may seem intimidating at first, but with understanding and practice it becomes second nature. It is essential for those eyeing the PMP exam to grasp these concepts, not only for testing but for real-world project management scenarios.

Remember that, at its core, agile is about delivering value, adapting to change, and ensuring collaboration. With these nailed down, you’re on your way to PMP success!

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Dave Litten


Dave spent 25+ years as a senior project manager for UK and USA multinationals and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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