.st0{fill:#FFFFFF;}

The PMP Agile Mindset Principles on a Project 

 August 27, 2021

By  Dave Litten

PMP Agile Mindset Principles

You will notice a few of these principles overlap between traditional and agile projects. For example, the engagement of stakeholders should be done on any project you are working on.

Clearly, if you are managing a hybrid project you can utilize both lists.

If a hybrid project utilizes traditional project management for one part and agile for another part, then you would use principles from both lists to complete that project.

Balance the needs of the project stakeholders and the team

PMP 2021 Agile Feedback

PMP Agile Mindset

It is vital to utilize feedback loops, and these occur when you take what you’ve learned from one task and apply it to your next task to improve the results.

When you reach the end of a sprint or iteration, always ensure that the work was completed by doing a retrospective at the end

Teams and the product owner, need guidance to decide how early to ask for product feedback – typically, demonstrate whatever the team has as a working product at least once every 2 weeks

This allows team members to get feedback preventing them from heading in the wrong direction, and keeps the product development clean enough to build a complete product as often as they want or need to

A team that does not demonstrate or release cannot learn fast enough and is likely not adopting agile techniques

PMP Agile Mindset

Have good ethical values, do not lie to the team, or create false hopes, as this will lead to mistrust and disagreements between you and the team.

It is important for you to be a central figure to the team, not a dictator!

Fail Early!

Make sure people understand what failure and success will look like on the project, as this will lead to functional accountability.

PMP Agile Mindset

A retrospective is not about team blame, but to learn from previous work and make improvements. Teams must learn about their work product and work process, to plan their retrospective to gather data, to process that data, and decide what to try next.

Retrospectives look at the qualitative (people’s feelings) and quantitative (measurements) data, use them to find root causes, design countermeasures, and develop action plans

When selecting any improvements or impediments, the team  decide how to measure the outcomes – so in the next time period, these will be measured to validate the success or failure of each improvement

People should be proud when accomplishments are made, but they should also be able to face failure, as this would allow them to examine why something fails and learn from it.

Understand the needs of your team members and find out what may motivate them and what demotivates them

The PMP Servant Leader

It is important that you consistently communicate and re-communicate the project vision to the team

The servant-leader of the team is a coach helping to facilitate collaboration, remove impediments, enforce and safeguards the agile process, and protect the team.


They do not assign tasks to team members and they are not responsible for the delivery of a project
They ensure that the product owner has a properly prioritized and groomed backlog

The PMP Agile Mindset Principles on a Project PMP

Try to limit the work in progress using Kanban. Kanban boards should be displayed either on a large whiteboard or, less ideally, on a large monitor.

Provide a safe environment for disagreements, so do not punish anyone for having a difference of opinion, as you must understand that conflict is a positive step and an opportunity to learn.

PMP Agile Mindset

Any problem that occurs on a project should be resolved by the project team, so always let the project team choose a solution while coaching and supporting their solutions.


Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Part of the agile manifesto states: “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

So why not set up a colocation space where both design and engineering sit side by side? A place where equal weight is placed on both design and engineering?

This will encourage real cross-functional teams, where dependencies are easy to fix when the person with the solution is in the same room as you.

Elon Musk knows that the old way of thinking does not work well when you’re trying to change the game – he knows that there needs to be an intense focus on two things: the product and the people building the product.

Learning Today Leading Tomorrow!

All Courses for less than $10/month if paid annually

Always opt for a colocation over any other type of environment

PMP Agile Mindset

Information should always be radiated using large charts and graphs such as the burnup or burndown charts.

Always use tools that are low tech, high touch throughout the project

Provide agile teams with lots of wall space so they can write on them and use sticky notes. Face-to-face communication with a whiteboard and markers is the best form of communication.

Ensure a retrospective is done at the end of each sprint/iteration, so lessons learned during that iteration can be applied to the next one engage the customers as much as possible. This is usually done in the iteration review meeting with the customers, where the customers will have an opportunity to analyze the completed increment while providing feedback.

The PMP Agile Mindset Principles on a Project PMP

The PMP Product Owner

The product owner will document features and prioritize them in the product backlog, so always be a servant leader to the team at all times. This includes empowering them and removing any impediments, so give them the tools they need to succeed while staying out of their way.

Only the product owner can prioritize the features in the product backlog. If the product owner refuses to do so because they feel all of them are valuable, then you must train them on the benefits of doing so.

Do not prioritize the features yourself as this is the job of the product owner.

The PMP Agile Mindset Principles on a Project PMP

Are traditional projects dead?

No Way. PMP 2021 clearly states that both predictive and agile approaches can be used as needed. Indeed, you could combine them – taking an agile approach in certain parts of your project and harnessing predictive parts where it is sensible to do so.

Some industries, such as construction, are best fitted to predictive approaches (you can’t redesign the basement and foundations when you are constructing the 10th floor!)

The Mindset Principles of a traditional project

Let me take you through the mindset principles of a traditional project.

The PMP Agile Mindset Principles on a Project PMP
  • Your main job is to be an integrator of the many different components within a project so do not concentrate your time and efforts on one particular thing while ignoring others
  • When selecting a contract to use on a project with potential sellers, always use a contract that is mutually beneficial to both the seller and the buyer
  • Use the skills of emotional intelligence to analyze your own feelings and those around you to respond to stakeholder needs and requirements as emotional intelligence allows you to solve problems more quickly and effectively
  • Try to use tools that are inclusive such as a whiteboard with a marker versus complex software
  • Before communications are sent out to stakeholders be sure to analyze their needs and determine what they’re looking for, how often, what methods they would like it to be delivered, and who will deliver it to them
  • When engaging your stakeholders, ensure they understand the communications that they are receiving and tailor your communications to individual stakeholder needs. Engage stakeholders often and regularly using such things as meetings, one-to-one conversation, phone calls, and presentations to engage them
  • Identification and analysis of stakeholders is something that is done throughout the project not just at the beginning
  • When selecting a contract to use on a project with potential sellers, always use a contract that is mutually beneficial to both the seller and the buyer
  • Use the skills of emotional intelligence to analyze your own feelings and those around you to respond to stakeholder needs and requirements as emotional intelligence allows you to solve problems more quickly and effectively
  • Try to use tools that are inclusive such as a whiteboard with a marker versus complex software
  • Before communications are sent out to stakeholders be sure to analyze their needs and determine what they’re looking for, how often, what methods they would like it to be delivered, and who will deliver it to them
  • When engaging your stakeholders, ensure they understand the communications that they are receiving and tailor your communications to individual stakeholder needs. Engage stakeholders often and regularly using such things as meetings, one-to-one conversation, phone calls, and presentations to engage them
  • Identification and analysis of stakeholders is something that is done throughout the project not just at the beginning
  • Before resolving a conflict between team members, be sure to understand the source of the conflict, and such conflicts should always be resolved for the benefit of the project objectives, not to satisfy one member over another
  • Quality requirements should be defined early in the project and be checked often to ensure that they are getting done. The customers are the best people to check a deliverable for scope and quality requirements being met as they are the ones who will use the product
  • Identify as much risk as possible as early as possible on a project. All identified risks should be documented in the risk register, along with their corresponding risk responses. A negative risk is known as a threat while a positive risk is known as an opportunity so be sure to identify and document responses to both
  • The best people to create a work breakdown structure are the project team as they can determine what a particular activity may cause since they will have the most knowledge about the work
  • When conducting estimation, use a bottom-up approach and not a top down as this will lead to more correct estimates but will however, require more work
  • Never act without first creating a plan, so always follow a plan and never allow changes to the plan without an approved change request. Any stakeholders that want to change any component of the project management plan will need to submit such a change request where they will need to be reviewed and assessed
  • All scope changes should be assessed on how it will impact all other parts of the project, including schedule, cost, quality, resources, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholder engagement
  • Consult with the project team before making decisions as they will have a more practical approach
  • Your final decision should always benefit the objectives of the project. As an example, if there are conflicting methods on how to complete a particular task, then choose the method that would deliver the most value to the project outcome.
  • Update the lessons learned register throughout the entire project, this way, it can be transferred to future projects in the organization
  • When closing the project, ensure all bills are paid off and resources are released. Projects that are terminated early still need to be closed formally through the closed project or phase process


If passing the PMP Exam is on your radar – then first check out our brand new PMP 2021 Masterclass

PMP 2021 Masterclass

Dave Litten


David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for 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.

The Projex Academy

related posts:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Use Coupon Code at checkout 'PROJEX20'

GET A 20% DISCOUNT