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Agile vs PMP: Difference Between Agile and PMP

05th Sep, 2023
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Agile vs PMP: Difference Between Agile and PMP

Project Management and planning are crucial for all businesses. The most commonly asked question is which is better to obtain Project Management professional training certification in Agile and PMP or Project Management Professional Certifications, depend on where you wish to use your skills. The methodologies are ideal in certain circumstances. Continue reading to make a clear decision and understand Agile certification vs PMP comparison.

Get to know more about importance of project charter.

Project Management Professional (PMP) vs Agile

There are several similarities and a vast difference between Agile and PMP methodologies which are compared in the below table:

PMP methodology
Agile methodology
The methodology used in PMP vs Agile.
PMP certifications and professionals use the updated agile and holistic project delivery methods. i.e., combination of Agile, Hybrid and Waterfall ModelAgile concepts, framework and Scrum teams and have development iterations in phases are used.
Important features
The method has three distinct phases. Namely,

The Project Planning Stage in software development before starting the project.
  1. The Code Development Stage is the execution, change requests, and building stage wherein the product is developed.
  2. The Product Testing Stage is comprehensive and continues till the finished product is completed, tested and delivered to the client.
The unique features here are.  

1. The Project Backlog is where the project is subdivided into smaller, manageable, and prioritized tasks.  

2. Sprints vary from 2 weeks to a month short period for starting and completing iterations.  

3. Product Delivery is where operational deliverables with completed features are presented to the client.
Project Delivery date
PMP projects are predictable and have clear cut expectations, milestones, and timelines for project deliverables.Work in the fast-changing Agile environment is undertaken in Sprints in the PMP vs Agile battle.
Used in
The method was developed for manufacturing industries before being adopted in marketing and various industries.It is ideal for software development as it produces high-quality, competitive, fast product launches.
It is ideal for project teams were.
  • Similar past projects are completed.
  • Where project scope needs to be defined before starting.
  • Where the estimation of project costs and resources are accurate.
Many smaller products can be launched quickly.

The client needs frequent changes.

The timeline or cost of the project is not fixed.
PMP Certification vs Agile Certifications
Leads to PMP Certification.Leads to PMI-ACP Certification.
Planning differences
Here the project plan is definite and outlined before the project begins.In the Agile method, every sprint has a planning session where the tasks are outlined.
Building differences
Project building is linear, and the next step begins when the present step is completed.Building Agile projects is iterative. Each iteration results from a sprint, and team members simultaneously work on the various steps.
Change management.
Change is hard to make without an adverse impact on the project plans.Agile plans are flexible and change amenable due to sprint iterations.
The client receives a complete deliverable at the end of the project plan.Agile clients receive deliveries at the end of each sprint.
Testing takes place only when the product is completed.The products of a sprint are tested during the sprint itself.

Agile vs PMP: Approach to Project Management   

The first parameter differentiating Agile and PMP is the approach to project management. Agile is an iterative, flexible, and adaptive approach to project management, whereas PMP is a more structured and plan-driven approach. Agile focuses on delivering small chunks of working software called sprints and encourages regular communication and collaboration between team members. On the other hand, PMP focuses on detailed planning, scheduling, and controlling the project's execution and emphasizes the importance of project management processes. 

Agile vs PMP: Scope of Project   

The second parameter is the scope of the project. In Agile, the scope of the project is more flexible and can change throughout the project's lifecycle. In PMP, the scope of the project is defined at the beginning of the project and is supposed to stay the same. Agile projects are more suitable for projects with an uncertain or rapidly changing scope, while PMP is better suited for projects with a well-defined scope. 

 Agile vs PMP: Role of Project Manager 

The third parameter when choosing PMP or agile is the role of the project manager. In Agile, the role of the project manager is more of a facilitator who helps the team to work together effectively. In PMP, the project manager is more of a traditional manager who is responsible for planning, scheduling, and controlling the project. 

Agile vs PMP: Documentation

The fourth parameter is documentation. In Agile, documentation is minimal and focuses on the essentials. PMP documentation is more extensive, including detailed project plans, schedules, and progress reports. 

Agile vs PMP: Testing  

In Agile, testing is integrated into the development process, with testing done in parallel with development. In PMP, testing is done after the development phase, a separate phase of the project. 

Agile vs PMP: Feedback   

In Agile, feedback is continuous, and the team regularly receives feedback from the customer. In PMP, feedback is less frequent and typically occurs at the end of each phase of the project. 

Agile vs PMP: Change Management   

Change management is flexible, and changes can be incorporated into the project at any time. In PMP, change management is more rigid, and changes are only incorporated into the project after the change control board has approved them. 

How are Agile and PMP Similar? 

Agile and PMP methodologies have a common goal of delivering a successful project on time and within budget. Both methods emphasize the importance of communication and collaboration between team members and are based on the principle of continuous improvement. Additionally, Agile and PMP incorporate project management tools, such as Gantt charts, burndown charts, and backlogs, to help manage the project's progress. 

What Should you Choose Between Agile and PMP?   

The choice between Agile and PMP depends on the nature of the project and the organization's culture. If a project requires a flexible and adaptive approach, with a focus on rapid delivery and customer feedback, then Agile, specifically Scrum, may be the best choice. On the other hand, if a project requires a more structured and plan-driven approach, with a focus on detailed planning and control, then PMP may be the better choice. 

Furthermore, for those looking to expand their knowledge in Agile, PMI offers PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner), a certification that focuses on Agile methodologies and principles. It is best suited for those interested in learning Agile practices without going through a complete Agile certification program. 

Which is Better PMP or PMI ACP  

The choice between PMP and PMI-ACP depends on the individual's goals and the type of project they are working on. 

  • PMP (Project Management Professional) is a globally recognized certification for project managers. It focuses on the knowledge and skills required to manage projects using the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) guidelines. PMP is best suited for those who want to gain a comprehensive understanding of project management concepts and practices and are interested in managing projects using a traditional, plan-driven approach. 

  • PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner) is another certification offered by PMI (Project Management Institute) that focuses on Agile methodologies and principles. It is best suited for those interested in learning Agile practices without going through a full Agile certification program. It is for those working in Agile environments who want to gain a deeper understanding of Agile methodologies and practices. 

PMP is a more general certification, while PMI-ACP is more specialized in Agile methodologies. If you are working in a traditional, plan-driven environment, PMP may be the better choice. PMI-ACP may be the better choice if you are working in an Agile environment. It's essential to evaluate your current role and the projects you are working on to determine which certification suits your goals.

Top Cities where Knowledgehut Conduct PMP Certification Training Course Online

PMP Certification in Bangalore
PMP Certification in Toronto
PMP Certification in Dubai
PMP Certification in Chennai
PMP Certification in Pune
PMP Certification in Mumbai
PMP Certification in Hyderabad
PMP Certification in Sydney
PMP Certification in Hong kong
PMP Certification in Riyadh
PMP Certification in Berlin
PMP Certification in London
PMP Certification in Brisbane
PMP Certification in Frankfurt
PMP Certification in Delhi
PMP Certification in Melbourne
PMP Certification in Doha
PMP Certification in Canada

The Curriculum of The Examination

Many people have questions as to what is included in the syllabus of the PMP® course to gain answers to the PMP vs Agile question. So, let’s quickly glance through the exam curriculum. You can benefit from dividing the syllabus into the following seven sections.

A. The mindset of Project Management: The Project Management mindset covers topics like introduction to PMI, its evolution, contact resources, the PMBOK Guide, PMI certifications, and more.

B. Team creation: Team creation deals with building a high-performance team, negotiating agreements, the team rules, empowering virtual teams, stakeholders, team members, training, producing, gaining the understanding and support of teams, etc.

C. Starting projects: Starting projects covers the whole gamut of managing and planning schedules, resources, budgets, the project plan, scope, project methodology, procurements, quality of deliverables and more.

D. Executing projects: Executing projects has topics like managing and accessing project issues, changes, communications, risks, etc., engaging stakeholders, delivering project value, creating the artefacts, and everything associated with getting the project working and done.

E. Team management: Team management topics are how to lead teams, manage conflicts, support their performance, address the obstacles, promote team performance, collaborate and mentor stakeholders and more.

F. Aligning with business goals: Aligning with business goals module has the processes of continuous improvement, meeting compliance needs, delivering project benefits, organizing and addressing changes, etc.

G. Preparing for the PMP® Examination: Preparing for the PMP® Examination is a module that contains tricky and sample questionnaires, exam tips, and information to help prepare for the PMP exam.

Pros and Cons: PMP vs Agile

The below table will help you with which is better PMP or Agile? Let us compare the characteristics of the two methodologies to understand the respective pros and cons of the Agile and PMP methods.

PMP Method
Agile Method

Software deployment
Slow deployment and turnaround time is the main difference between PMP and Agile.Quick software deployment, turnaround times and business value.  
Resource usage
Wastage of resources is high.Fewer resources are wasted as the task list is updated in the product backlog.

Change in plans adaptation.
Adaptability and resiliency to assist the practitioner in managing the project and deliver outputs that enable outcomes regardless of development approach.Adapts faster to changes in iterative sprints.

Testing and debugging
The process is bureaucratic.Very little bureaucracy is involved.

Support Community
A smaller global community.Large Agile community support can be relied on.

Feedback timing
Feedback is at the end of the project.Feedback is immediate, and team morale is higher.

Cost of development and testing.
High cost of testing and developing.Developing and testing costs of a sprint product is lower.

Project documentation
Excellent documentation is present.Documentation gets sidetracked, making new team members slow.

Progress measure
Measurable progress.Progress is measured in sprints and not for the project.

Client interaction
No client interaction or feedback till the product is delivered.Customer and developer interactions are constant and demand energy, time and teamwork.  

This is also the main difference between Scrum and PMP, as Scrum is a methodology working on the Agile framework.

Developer reassignment
Once developer work is complete, they can be reassigned.If the developer’s work is complete, a different project cannot be assigned as they may be needed during testing.

Project duration
Fixed project durations.Projects last and do not have a clear end date.

Project scope
No scope creep or experience rot in the planned methodology.Experience rot and project scope creep can set in.

Estimation of project costs
Project costs can easily be estimated.Clients with fixed schedules and budgets cannot estimate project costs increasing sales cycle complications.

Product Development
Better UX, design and architecture products are developed.Multiple and faster products from sprints can mean lower architecture, design, and UX features. Over time this spiral, leading to disjointed software.

Project cycle
Long and defined project cycle.Short sprint cycles lead to redevelopment.

Which Certification to Choose?

In the battle of Agile Certification vs PMP Certification in Project Management certifications, the only difference is the methodology and depends on whether you are in IT, Marketing etc. The ten best certifications from the PMI are listed below for you to choose from.

  • (PMP)® or Project Management Professional  
  • CSM or Certified ScrumMaster®  
  • CAPM® or Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PRINCE2® Certifications (Foundation and Practitioner)
  • Certification and project in CompTIA  
  • PPM or Professional in Project Management  
  • APM or Associate in Project Management
  • CPMP® or Certified Project Management Practitioner  
  • MPM or Master Project Manager  
  • PMITS or Project Management Certification in IT Security.

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Both Agile and PMP have widely used project management methodologies, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The choice between Agile and PMP or Scrum vs. PMP depends on the nature of the project and the organization's culture. It is essential to evaluate the specific needs of the project and the organization before choosing between Agile and PMP. Additionally, for those who want to expand their knowledge in Agile, PMI-ACP is a good option as it provides an in-depth understanding of the methodology. Ultimately, the goal is to select a methodology that best fits the project and the organization, ensuring the project's success. KnowledgeHut Project Management Professional training will help you get the required skills and project requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is better PMP or Agile?

A: You cannot rate the Agile Project Management vs PMP battle because the two methods are suited for different project management needs. The PMP traditional method works equally great for small as well as large organizations and is a planned method. On the contrary, Agile is a conceptual framework that focuses on rapid to-market deliverables and scores in the IT industries.

Q: Is Agile part of PMP?

A: The PMP methodology used is the traditional waterfall project management method. In comparison, Agile is a framework of concepts in project management. Most PMP Managers also take up the Agile Certifications to better their job scope and prospects.

Q: Why is Agile not for everyone?

A: Agile is today’s buzzword and works well for software development teams. However, it fails to impress a marketing team as they cannot iterate marketing campaigns or implement Agile concepts.

Q: How big is the PMP community?

A: In August 2019, there were 932,720 PMP certified managers, and the PMP certification was delivered across 300 chapters in 218 countries globally. The PMP® certification is the most broad-based certification from the PMI or Project Management Institute, with 93.5% of PMP Certified Managers pursuing other certifications like PMITS, Agile, etc.


Kevin D.Davis

Blog Author

Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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