ChatGPT / Agile Project Mgt — Part #3: Digging into finer details of Agile knowledge areas.
This is Part 3 of an open-ended series on ChatGPT and how to use it in Agile Project Management. As I explore ChatGPT and how it works, I’m using tasks and use cases from Project Management, mostly agile but not exclusively. For other parts, check out the master index for this series.
What is this part about?
In the last yarn, I asked a few very basic questions about agile project management. In return, ChatGPT gave me some pretty basic answers. In this series of dialogues, I drill down into those previous answers to see how expert we can get.
the key question from Part 2 is:
AOP: what does a person have to know to be an agile project manager?
in summary, GPT said:
- Agile methodologies;
- Agile project management tools;
- Project management principles;
- Communication and collaboration;
- Agile project management practices; and
- Continuous improvement
Let’s see what we can unpack.
The first knowledge area ChatGPT suggested last time was Agile Methodologies, and s/he mentioned four: Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming. So, let’s start digging there.
I decided to go right to a solid question rather than to beat around the bush:
AOP: Can you compare and contrast these agile methodologies and identify
pitfalls of each "Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming"
This question demands not only factual knowledge but also analytical ability, judgement and the ability to generate coherent text. You could go duplicate this yourself, but I want to reproduce this here so we can talk about some key points.
GPT: Sure! Here's a comparison and contrast of Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and
Extreme Programming (XP), along with some potential pitfalls of each
Scrum is an agile methodology that is widely used for software development
It uses sprints to plan, execute, and review project activities.
It has a set of predefined roles (such as Product Owner, Scrum Master, and
Development Team) and ceremonies (such as Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review, and
Potential pitfalls of Scrum include: over-reliance on ceremonies, lack of
focus on technical excellence, and difficulty in adapting to changing
Kanban is a visual management system that emphasizes continuous flow and
limiting work in progress.
It uses a Kanban board to visualize and manage the flow of work items through
the project lifecycle.
It focuses on limiting work in progress and reducing cycle time.
Potential pitfalls of Kanban include: lack of structure for managing project
activities, difficulty in managing dependencies, and the need for a strong
feedback loop to support continuous improvement.
Lean is a methodology that aims to eliminate waste and increase efficiency.
It focuses on value creation, continuous improvement, and respect for people.
It uses a set of tools and techniques (such as Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen)
to identify and eliminate waste.
Potential pitfalls of Lean include: overemphasis on efficiency at the expense
of effectiveness, difficulty in scaling to larger projects or organizations, and a need for a strong focus on customer value to avoid becoming process-driven.
Extreme Programming (XP):
XP is an agile methodology that emphasizes technical excellence and customer
It uses a set of practices (such as Test Driven Development, Pair Programming,
and Continuous Integration) to ensure high-quality software development.
It emphasizes close collaboration with customers to ensure that the project is
meeting their needs.
Potential pitfalls of XP include: difficulty in implementing all of the
practices at once, resistance to change from team members or stakeholders, and
the need for a strong focus on customer value to avoid overemphasis on
Overall, each agile methodology has its own strengths and potential pitfalls.
The key to success is to choose the methodology that is the best fit for the
project and the team, and to continuously adapt and improve based on feedback
and changing requirements.
So, here are some key thoughts about this response:
- Covers all the methodologies I mention in the question.
- Pretty accurate factually — I’d be interested in your opinion.
- Provides some pitfalls for each of the four, as requested.
- It doesn’t do any work at all on the “compare and contrast” request
On point #2 above, I guess you could take issue with some judgemental commentary, e.g. the statement that a pitfall of Scrum is “… lack of
focus on technical excellence”. Sounds like someone’s hobby horse complaint to me.
It’s important to keep in mind that ChatGPT is a natural language text model that is based on a “prompt and response” dynamic. It’s good at analysing the natural language request and finding appropriate data in its massive training dataset. That’s from the little I’ve read. Whether or not it has the capabilities to “compare and contrast”, I’m not sure.
In the next two dialogue segments, I drill into even finer-grained detail. This time about the “values” in each of the methodologies.
AOP: what are the different values for Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and
Each of the agile methodologies - Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming (XP) - has its own set of values that guide their approach to project management. Here are the values for each methodology:
Commitment: Team members are committed to achieving the goals of the sprint.
Focus: The team focuses on the work of the sprint and avoids distractions.
Openness: The team is open and transparent in their communication and work.
Respect: The team members respect each other's roles and contributions.
Courage: The team has the courage to address challenges and conflicts.
Visualize: Visualize the workflow to improve transparency and clarity of work.
Limit Work in Progress (WIP): Limit WIP to manage flow, minimize multitasking and optimize delivery.
Manage Flow: Manage the flow of work through the workflow to optimize delivery and identify bottlenecks.
Make Process Policies Explicit: Make process policies explicit to establish consistency, understanding and flexibility.
Implement Feedback Loops: Implement feedback loops to continuously improve the process.
Value: Define value as per the customer's need.
Flow: Maximize flow by eliminating waste, avoiding overburdening and reducing the variation.
Pull: Make the process pull-based by empowering the teams to work towards customer demands.
Perfection: Strive for perfection by continuously learning, improving and respecting the people.
Extreme Programming (XP):
Communication: Frequent communication and feedback to improve the software quality and collaboration within the team.
Simplicity: Delivering the simplest solution that fulfills the requirements, to minimize cost and maximize the benefit.
Feedback: Rapid feedback on the software by continuous testing and integration.
Courage: A shared ownership and courage to act against the risks and conflicts.
Respect: Respecting the people and their contributions, creating a positive environment and providing the necessary resources.
Each methodology's values help to define its overall approach to
project management and emphasize the importance of teamwork, collaboration,
and continuous improvement. The values guide the team's actions,
decision-making, and interactions, and help to foster a culture of trust,
respect, and excellence.
Again, the factual detail is very good.
Last one for this session:
AOP: compare and contrast the values for Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and
GPT: Here's a comparison and contrast of the values for Scrum, Kanban, Lean,
and Extreme Programming (XP):
Scrum values commitment, focus, openness, respect, and courage.
These values reflect the importance of working as a team to achieve the goals
of the sprint, focusing on the work at hand, being open and transparent in
communication and work, respecting each other's contributions, and having the
courage to address challenges and conflicts.
Kanban values visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress,
managing flow, making process policies explicit, and implementing feedback
loops. These values emphasize the importance of optimizing flow by
visualizing the work, limiting work in progress to avoid multitasking,
managing flow through the workflow to optimize delivery, making process
policies explicit to establish consistency and flexibility, and implementing
feedback loops to continuously improve the process.
Lean values value, flow, pull, perfection, and respect. These values reflect
the importance of defining value based on the customer's needs, maximizing flow
by eliminating waste and reducing variation, making the process pull-based
by empowering teams to work towards customer demands, striving for perfection
through continuous learning and improvement, and respecting people and their
Extreme Programming (XP):
XP values communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect. These
values reflect the importance of frequent communication and feedback to
improve software quality and collaboration, delivering the simplest solution
that fulfills the requirements to minimize cost and maximize benefit, rapid
feedback on the software through continuous testing and integration, shared
ownership and courage to act against risks and conflicts, and respecting
people and their contributions, creating a positive environment and providing
Overall, the values of these agile methodologies share some common themes,
such as the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
However, each methodology has its own unique set of values that reflect its
specific approach to project management. Understanding and embracing these
values can help teams to work more effectively and achieve better results.
Although this dialogue response specifically mentions compare and contrast, the main content doesn’t do that. There is a very generic summary at the bottom of the response that doesn’t add much value.
I lied; one bonus dialogue.
AOP: give me at least 5 books that compare and contrast the different values and
practises of Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming
GPT: Here are 5 books that compare and contrast the different values and practices of Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming:
1. "Agile Estimating and Planning" by Mike Cohn - This book covers the principles and practices of agile project management, including Scrum, XP, and Lean. It provides guidance on how to estimate and plan agile projects using different techniques and methods.
2. "Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business" by David J. Anderson - This book provides a comprehensive guide to Kanban, a visual management system that emphasizes continuous flow and limiting work in progress. It covers the values, principles, and practices of Kanban, as well as case studies and examples of its use in various industries.
3. "Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit" by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck - This book covers the principles and practices of Lean software development, including its values, principles, and tools. It provides guidance on how to apply Lean principles to software development, including eliminating waste, maximizing flow, and delivering value.
4. "Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change" by Kent Beck - This book provides an introduction to XP, a methodology that emphasizes technical excellence and customer involvement. It covers the values, principles, and practices of XP, as well as case studies and examples of its use in software development projects.
5. "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland - This book covers the principles and practices of Scrum, a widely used methodology for agile project management. It provides guidance on how to implement Scrum in various industries, as well as case studies and examples of its use in different types of projects.
These books offer in-depth insights into the different values and practices of
Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and Extreme Programming, as well as practical guidance on
how to apply these methodologies in different contexts. They can be a valuable
resource for anyone looking to learn more about agile project management and
improve their project management skills.
All those books are pretty good — I think I have all of them.
The Bottom Line
From my perspective, some clear trends are emerging, although they are yet to be fully tested. They are:
- ChatGPT is really good at understanding what you want in your natural language query. I’ll foreshadow that even more detailed questions are understood well.
- ChatGPT is also really good at mapping the query into relevant and accurate data in its dataset.
- ChatGPT appears to construct well-formed responses to those questions. but, at this stage, it’s unclear to me whether that's a function of GPT’s generator or it’s just the way the text is stored. I suspect — on very limited evidence — that it’s a bit of both.
- ChatGPT, so far, doesn’t appear to be as good at using the retrieved information for any analytical purposes or functions, e.g. compare and contrast.
On that last point, the generic concluding paragraphs in both the “Compare and Contrast” questions above seem to be there because the underlying content said it was comparing and contrasting. Again, this is a total gut feeling from me at the moment, so don’t take that as anywhere near proven fact.
Even so, I’m starting to develop some trust in the responses I’m getting, although I wouldn’t use them yet for anything other than generating more information. I’m not yet ready to copy/pasta these outputs into a document or communication. It provides good feed-stock into another set of queries.
Is that situation of practical value? The jury is out.
And don’t forget to check out the master index for this open-ended series.