Deepening a bit on Project Management approaches, I came across with two main perspectives: Predictive and Adaptive. Predictive is describe more like traditional Project Management, whereas Adaptive is often described as a way to group most Agile techniques to push projects forward.

My question is, is it true to say that everything within Agile is contained within Adaptive Project Management? Or are there "Flavors" of Agile that could be classified as predictive?


According to the PMI, adaptive project life cycles are those that are designed to respond to change and uncertainty, primarily with stakeholder involvement throughout the effort. They are also characterized by short iterations. The overall project requirements are uncovered by doing the work and reviewing the evolving product with stakeholders to make sure that the work being done meets their needs.

However, the PMI also states that a "detailed scope is defined and approved before the state of an iteration", which is not a requirement of agile methods. Some agile methods, such as Scrum, focus on goals instead of work output and readily accept changes to scope that do not endanger the goal.

There's a very close, but not an exact, relationship between adaptive and agile methods.

No agile methods can be predictive. Predictive usually refers to the overall project. Since agile (and the PMI's adaptive) methodologies are about uncovering the requirements as the effort goes on, it is not possible to predict effort, schedule, or budget in advance. There's no effort to attempt to detail too many requirements upfront that would enable the prediction of the effort.

  • Thanks for the detail Thomas, so based on what you say the proper way of looking at it is to think about it as three groups that overlap in certain parts (Predictive, Adaptive, Agile), isn't it? – BlastDV Mar 21 at 13:50
  • @BlastDV I would tend to think about it as a spectrum from "predictive" at one end to "agile" at the other end, and the PMI seems to agree with that: Project life cycles can range along a continuum from predictive approaches at one end to adaptive or agile approaches at the other. However, some characteristics that the PMI assigns to adaptive life cycles are closer to predictive than how I interpret sources such as the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the methodologies that are aligned with the Manifesto. – Thomas Owens Mar 21 at 15:28
  • I see your point, seems like the safe way to think about it. Thanks Thomas! Marking this one as the answer. – BlastDV Mar 21 at 15:44

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