Adaption of selected PMBOK processes

to fit SCRUM developments



By Philipp Rosenberger
FH Campus Wien
Vienna, Austria


József Tick
Óbuda University
Budapest, Hungary




Project managers managing agile developed IT projects often find themselves in difficult situations. Their frameworks, like PMBOK project management framework of PMI Organizations, demand a deep level of planning, control and active management. On the other side, agile development frameworks like SCRUM demand self-management, flexibility and appreciate change. This article proposes solutions for five PMBOK processes that have been identified as critical in SCRUM development environments in the previous publication Suitability of PMBOK 6th edition for agile-developed IT Projects, by Rosenberger and Tick. The process of “Manage project execution” is adapted by introducing Strike Events; “Work Breakdown Structure Plan creation” and “Scheduling” processes are changed by dividing large backlogs into phases and break down individual phases into Macro and Micro level planning; “Cost Estimation” processes uses velocity of development teams as planning reference; “Developing and Managing Teams” is adapted by introducing the project manager as SCRUM master and if needed apply again the Strike System in case of serious problems. These proposed solutions adapt the classical PMBOK project framework to cope with SCRUM developed project to an “Agile IT Project Management Framework”. These process specific solution results are based on literature research. The actual applicability in agile developed projects and adaptations will researched and applied in a following step of this research topic towards the way of creating an optimized, tailored agile IT project management framework.

Key words: SCRUM, IT-Project Management, Agile, PMBOK

JEL code: M15 (IT-Management)


Published in 2001 the agile manifesto (Agile Manifesto, 2001) provided the basis for SCUM framework of agile development in IT projects. The goal was to make development processes more flexible and to achieve early results for customer feedback. But the SCRUM framework as defined in the SCRUM Guide (SCRUM Guide, 2017, Schwaber K.& Sutherland) describes only an agile process of software development. It was not meant to be seen as a project management approach.

But in reality, SCRUM is often used as a “agile project management” framework. By adopting agile tools and methods, or sometimes even just terminologies used in SCRUM organizations pretend to use agile project management approaches, without even deeply understanding the real nature of agile project management. However, these organizations are not being blamed. There is no real finalised “agile IT project management” framework existing at the moment. There are classical project management frameworks like PRINCE2 (Prince 2 Handbook, 2017, Axelos Global Best Practice) or PMBOK (PMBOK-Guide) – Sixth version, 2017,  Project Management Institute, Pennsylvania, USA) of PMI organization. And then there are agile development models like SCRUM, which are used in classic project environments.

So when agile IT project management is defined as classical project management, including an agile development approach, problems can develop due to the fact that these two frameworks focus sometimes on completely different values. This cultural inaptitude, often results in decreased overall project success, problems in communication and understanding of project participants.

Basis and approach for this research

This article sets up the basis for an adapted PMBOK project framework specially focussed on agile, with SCRUM, developed IT projects. PMI organisation already took a first step in this direction by adding an “agile guideline” document to its newest sixth version of the PMBOK framework. But this guideline is only an introduction in agility and agile methods and tools. It does not change the processes defined in PMBOK as such.

To now completely redefine the PMBOK processes and make them suitable for SCRUM developed IT projects two steps need to be taken:

  • Critical areas of the PMBOK processes have to be defined.
  • Solutions regarding these areas have to be investigated, analysed and evaluated

The first step of identifying critical processes has already happened. In the IEEE publication “Suitability of PMBOK 6th edition for agile-developed IT Projects” (Rosenberger P. & Tick J ,2018) five processes have been identified to cause problems:

  • Manage project execution
  • Develop project structure plan
  • Develop project schedule
  • Estimate and define costs based on requirements
  • Develop and manage team

This article now uses these identified critical areas as starting point and proposes approaches to be integrated into the existing PMBOK framework. These proposed solutions are based on existing tools and methods identified by literature research and followed by an assessment of applicability using a KPI evaluation. Please note, that the last step of proofing the applicability of the proposed solutions via a large-scale online survey is yet not finalised and therefore not part of this article.


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Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 8th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States at the University of Latvia in April 2019.  It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Rosenberger, P. and Tick, J. (2019); Adaption of Selected PMBOK Processes To Fit SCRUM Developments; presented at the 8th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2019; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Rosenberger-Tick-pmbok-processes-to-fit-scrum.pdf



About the Authors

Prof. DI Philipp Rosenberger

Vienna, Austria




Philipp Rosenberger is a professor at FH Campus Vienna at master program technical management focusing on IT project management in an agile development context.  After many years in consulting focussing on technical aftersales and business as well as project management and especially IT project management development in Europe and China, he got into the financial sector, managing the implementation of a current account financial product implementation project at ING DiBa Online bank in Vienna and in parallel starting his own small consulting company ROSCON.at. In his current PhD program Philipp is focussing on improving agile IT project management models. Prof Rosenberger can be contacted at Philipp.rosenberger@fh-campuswien.ac.at


Dr. habil József Tick

Budapest, Hungary




Dr. habil József Tick is an associate professor in the Institute of Software Design and Development, at the John von Neumann Faculty of Informatics of Óbuda University, Budapest, Hungary. He received his BSc in Computer Science in 1977, his Master Degree in Meseure- and Controlsystems in 1986, and his PhD degree in Computer Science in 2007 from the University of Veszprém. His research areas are Simulation of controlsystems, Object-oriented Software Development, Software Reuse, User Interface Design and Embedded System-control. He did a one year research in the field of Software Engineering at the Research Centre for Informatics in Karlsruhe Germany. Since 2000 he is the Vice rector of Óbuda University. He is an author and co-author of numerous conference papers; he has given several presentations on national and international conferences. He has acted as a Program and Technical Committee Member on several international conferences. József can be contacted at tick@uni-obuda.hu