Agile Project Management
What Is Agile Project Management?
The word “Agile” comes up frequently in the world of project management, and of app development in particular. But what exactly is it and how can it help your team?
Agile project management is an approach to project management that focuses on continuous development and testing. It emphasizes collaboration and the team’s ability to respond and adapt to changes.
Agile development core values emphasize individuals and interactions over processes, and working software over documentation. They also focus on customer collaboration and deem responding to change more important than following a set plan.
At the heart of Agile project management are sprints or short development cycles in which a team works collaboratively to achieve a common goal. Sprints encourage teams to focus and achieve one target at a time. Each sprint includes testing and reviewing, including feedback from the software/app owner.
Agile promotes self-organizing teams who collaborate and reflect on how to become more effective. With Agile, team members play a dynamic role and are encouraged to share ideas and initiate discussions during regular meetings.
History of the Agile Methodology
Agile originated as a software development methodology in 2001 with The Manifesto for Agile Software Development. It was created at a time when conventional project management methodologies proved too slow, inflexible, and cumbersome for software development teams.
Unlike fixed projects with predictable outcomes, software projects involve on-the-go changes and adaptations. Even when the project goals remain the same throughout the development phase, the software product itself may take a different form than planned.
This occurs as new features are added or planned features removed in response to testing, market developments, beta user response, and other factors.
Advantages of Agile Project Management
Speeds up delivery times while enabling continuous delivery. With Agile, clients don’t have to wait months or years before all the desired features are built into the product. Rather, they can provide feedback on a product that is constantly developed, one iteration at a time.
- Makes it possible to implement changes even in the later stages of the development – This gives teams more flexibility and promotes adaptability. With Agile, it’s never too late to build new features or make significant changes.
- Lower risk – Short development cycles, continuous feedback, and iterative development make projects clear and predictable. Both teams and customers take fewer risks while being able to constantly make improvements.
- Improves customer satisfaction – A key aspect of Agile project management is working closely with customers and constantly requesting their feedback and developing sprints with it in mind.
- More motivated teams – Because of their high autonomy, Agile teams are encouraged to solve problems and think creatively. Communication is key, and so is collaboration, which can make teams give their best and feel happy working on projects in a manner that suits them, rather than simply following instructions.
- Emphasis on working products – From the first iteration to all subsequent ones, Agile emphasizes working products. It usually starts with a minimum viable product to which new features are added constantly.
Implementing Agile Project Management
Agile is flexible and powerful, but only if you implement it correctly. Here are some key tips to make your team truly Agile.
- Get the right people in your team – Agile works best when teams have the skills and the experience necessary to collaborate and take decisions. It’s also important for all team members to get along.
- Ensure communication and feedback – As we’ve seen, this approach to project management requires continuous communication and feedback. Having the right communication platforms and tools makes everything easier.
- Invest in project management tools – Agile teams can be slowed down or inconvenienced by a project management solution that’s not adapted to their needs.
- Create a training program – Team members not used to Agile may find it a major change compared to Waterfall and other project management approaches. Providing training helps get everyone on board and understand how it can benefit them.
In the end, Agile is what it sounds: a flexible and dynamic way to manage projects. It’s not magic—you still have to do the hard work. But used right, it can save you and your team time and lead to quicker deliverables.
Additional Agile Project Management Resources
- Project Management Institute – Agile approaches to project management