What is Agile Project Management?
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Project management is something many businesses struggle with, and the best starting point is to focus on using a methodology. While there are many methodologies to choose from, one of the most popular is Agile project management.
So what is this, and how can you start using it to meet your own project management goals?
Agile Project Management: An Overview
Agile project management is used by a wide range of organisations, from marketing agencies to software developers. It’s popular because it is easy to set up and use, and it can also be applied to most types of organisations.
Agile is a methodology that uses very short development cycles (called ‘sprints’) and focuses on continual improvement when developing a product or service.
It was invented in 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was published by a group of software developers. It focuses on taking a more people-focused approach to project management compared to other methodologies.
The Agile Principles
You can get training in Agile project management to learn how to incorporate it into your organisation. During training, you will learn about the principles. While agile methodologies can be unique, there are 12 founding principles that you should use as your guide when making decisions:
- The main priority is customer satisfaction through quick and continuous delivery
- Accept and welcome changing requirements for the customer’s advantage
- Focus on frequent delivery with shorter timescales
- Team members need to work together every day
- Projects need to be built around individuals who are motivated, and you need to give them support and trust
- Information should be conveyed face-to-face
- Success is mainly measured by the final product
- Focus on sustainable development
- Focusing on technical excellence and design improves agility
- Always keep it simple
- A self-organising team leads to the best results
- You should take the time to reflect on how to improve regularly, then make changes
The Agile Process
The goal of agile project management is to have shorter development cycles and release products more frequently. Shorter timeframes mean teams can react rapidly to their clients’ needs.
There are different agile frameworks, but they all follow the basic process:
- Planning: The team must understand the goal and how to achieve it.
- Product Roadmap: You should include all the features that make the final product in the product roadmap, and also list the features and the deliverables that make up the final product.
- Plan the Release: At the end of each cycle, features are released, and you need to plan for each of these releases at the start of the project.
- Plan the Sprints: Plan before each sprint, including what the aim is for each person and how they should achieve it. Assess task load and share it out so everyone can achieve their tasks.
- Meetings: You should plan meetings each day and analyse whether changes are needed. These should be very short meetings.
- Review the Sprints: After each sprint, review it in a meeting. Do this with the stakeholders so they can see the product, then discuss what went well and what could be improved.
Key Benefits of Agile
Agile project management was initially developed for the software industry, but it is now a perfect fit for many businesses that want to change the way they manage projects.
Some of the key benefits of Agile include:
- More flexible than other methodologies
- Faster turnaround times
- More productive
- More transparent
- Problems are detected sooner and dealt with
- Less chance of missing objectives
- More satisfaction due to more engagement with stakeholders
- Resources are minimised, reducing waste
- More control over the project
- More focus on the needs of the customer
Potential Problems with Agile
Despite all the benefits, Agile may not be suitable for every project or organisation. For example, problems may arise when customers do not clarify their goals properly, or an inexperienced team could lead to mediocre results.
It also may not be ideal for larger organisations that may be more rigid in their processes. Everyone in the organisation needs to buy into it, including the executives, for Agile to work.
Sprints can also sometimes lead to rushing. Trying to do them quickly means the focus shifts to speed rather than results, and mistakes may be missed.
Try Agile Project Management
Agile project management is one of the most popular methodologies, and it has many advantages. But is it right for your organisation? Sometimes, the only way to find out is to try it. If Agile can speed up product releases and improve results for your organisation and your clients, it’s well worth a shot, and it may provide you with many benefits to help you improve your project management going forward.
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