The word "agile" gets thrown around a lot in various industries, but what does it mean? Agile project management is a progressive and iterative method of managing projects. It's a flexible and responsive way to manage projects that helps teams deliver top-quality products and services to their customers.
It derives from the Agile Manifesto, a set of principles for software development. The Agile Manifesto values workers and interactions over methodologies and tools, client collaboration over business contract negotiation, and adjusting to change over following a plan.
This method has been gaining prominence in recent years as more and more organizations are looking for ways to be more flexible and responsive to their customer's needs. Organizations in various industries, such as software, construction, banking, and advertising, can take advantage of this approach. As a result, it can help companies enhance their efficiency and effectiveness while delivering high-quality products and services to their customers.
If you're looking for a way to reinforce your project management skills, Agile is a great place to start. This article will explain what Agile project management is and provide examples of adopting it in the real world.
So, what is Agile project management? Let's take a closer look.
Agile project management holds several benefits over traditional project management methods. One of its notable benefits is that it helps organizations be more responsive to their customer's needs. It is also much more flexible than traditional methods, which can improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Conventional project methods are rigid and often only allow for a bit of flexibility. This can lead to projects taking longer than necessary and failing to meet the customer's needs. For example, a client asks for changes in a product it’s developing. The traditional method would require the entire project to be put on hold while the team makes changes.
On the other hand, agile methods would allow the team to make the adjustments quickly and easily without disrupting the rest of the project. The technique avoids these issues by being more responsive to change.
Another incentive of agile project management is that it assists teams in delivering high-quality products and services. This is because the method strongly emphasizes collaboration and customer focus. By working closely with clients, agile teams guarantee that the services and products they deliver meet the customer's requirements.
Some examples of agile methods include Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP). Each principle has its unique set of practices and tools, but all share the same agile values and principles. A report even shows some companies utilizing a hybrid approach where they combine agile frameworks in managing projects. Nonetheless, here’s an overview of each method:
One of the more well-known agile techniques is Scrum. It’s a framework that assists teams in working together more efficiently by breaking projects down into smaller pieces and then completing them in sprints or short periods. The method can enhance collaboration and communication within teams, as well as increase the overall transparency of a project.
The Scrum team typically consists of the following roles:
Another technique is Kanban. It’s an agile method that helps teams visualize their work and progress. Kanban is a Japanese concept that translates to "signboard" or "billboard." In a Kanban system, cards represent tasks, and teams place them on a Kanban board. Organizations can use the board to track a project's progress and identify any bottlenecks or areas of improvement.
There are various options for setting up a Kanban board. However, the essential thing is that it’s easy to understand and clear. The typical workflow stages of this technique are “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.”
Finally, XP is an agile technique that focuses on delivering high-quality software. Its core values include respect, communication, simplicity, and feedback. Moreover, it has 12 supporting mechanisms specific to software development, including Pair programming, Test-driven development, and Continuous integration.
Pair programming is a technique in which two developers work together on the same task. This helps reinforce the quality of the code, as well as increase the overall efficiency of the team. Meanwhile, test-driven development is a method in which employees conduct tests before developing the code. This technique ensures that the code meets all of the project requirements.
Lastly, Continuous integration is a practice in which teams regularly integrate code changes into the main code base. Doing so prevents problems when companies create large-scale modifications to the code base simultaneously.
One of the challenges you may face when using Agile methods is that getting everyone on board with the new way of working can take time. Agile requires a different mindset from traditional project management, and some people may resist change. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that everyone understands the gains of Agile before you try to implement it in your organization.
Another challenge you may face is that Agile methods can be very demanding. Agile teams need to work at a fast pace, and they need to adapt to changes quickly. This can be a challenge to teams used to working more traditionally.
Regardless, there are several ways to overcome these challenges. One strategy is to start small and only apply agile methods on a few projects. Doing this will aid people in getting used to the innovative way of working and let you see how agile techniques can benefit your company.
Besides those mentioned above, another way to overcome challenges is to provide training and support for agile teams. This will enable them to understand the methods and how to use them effectively. Additionally, adopting web based project management tools can modernize and improve your process.
The latest platforms also let you integrate them with your current system. For example, you use Pipedrive as your customer relationship management (CRM) and sales software. You can connect this tool with your project management solution for a smoother workflow.
Given the above points, agile project management is an effective method for managing projects of all sizes. In fact, several case studies have shown that agile implementations have led to increased productivity, communication, and customer satisfaction. Here are some examples:
Lego Digital Solutions is a section in the Lego Group that transitioned to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Some of the issues the organization wanted to address are how to get teams to progress in similar directions instead of working in silos. In addition, how can they impose realistic expectations without overloading the workforce but still satisfying the clients?
SAFe helped Lego achieve its goals by providing a clear framework and increasing communication between departments. The teams met every eight weeks to assess their progress and apply adjustments as necessary. As a result of this change, the company saw improved communication, collaboration, and increased client satisfaction.
Furthermore, its developers now provide a more accurate appraisal of their work, which leads to fewer delays and a better quality product. Better team communication has led to shorter release cycles, less excessive documentation and rework, and other counterproductive practices.
On the other hand, Ericsson AB is another case study that successfully applied agile methods. One problem the organization wanted to address was how to speed up the product development process and improve communication between teams. Before implementing the agile technique, the company used the Waterfall model, a traditional project management approach.
Its previously encountered challenges include inaccurate project outcomes, defective products, and low customer satisfaction. However, the agile methodology helped Ericsson AB to achieve its goals by shortening the development cycle and improving the quality of the product. In addition, it saw many benefits, including better planning, less dependency and repetitive work, and more client engagement.
Moreover, it noted that the technique improved communication between teams, avoiding confusion and reducing the number of defects in the final product. While these are just a few examples of the advantages of agile project management, both of these case studies show that the approach can effectively strengthen communication, collaboration, and customer satisfaction.
Agile project management is a popular, modern methodology that offers numerous benefits over conservative methods. It provides many advantages over traditional approaches, and organizations can adopt them to manage projects more effectively and efficiently.
While challenges may occur when using agile techniques, companies can overcome them with little effort. With the correct planning and execution, agile can efficiently manage your projects.