A beginner’s guide on Agile Project Management

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management can be defined as an “iterative and incremental strategy to achieving project requirements across a project’s life cycle.” It is technically incorrect to refer to Agile as one of the project management methodologies. A methodology is a collection of rules and processes that individuals should follow in certain situations. On the other hand, Agile essentially permits project management to be done in any way as long as the basic Agile principles are maintained. Agile ideals and principles guide a team’s thinking and interactions so that the project may be more agile.

History of Agile

In 2001, 17 forward-thinking software engineers gathered in Utah to address industry issues and potential solutions. They wrote the Agile Manifesto, which is now widely recognised in the industry. The Agile Manifesto contains several ideas and ideals that project managers must follow to assure a product’s eventual success.

This group of top developers saw that the software business needed a better approach to manage projects and get products to market. Their main objective was to develop alternate project management and strategic development approaches that didn’t substantially impact project cost or time to market. They agreed that breaking down a project into smaller sprints could allow faster development and testing. Customers could give feedback on the product, and the team could make adjustments without waiting for the final version. As a result, the name Agile Methodology was established for software development.

Agile now has a large community of people working on Agile software and companies that support them with training, tools, frameworks, and consultancy. The Agile Product Development Methodology is currently utilised to handle projects at businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to giant corporations, and across a wide range of sectors.

What are the four core Agile values?

The Agile Manifesto specifies four core values and twelve guiding principles that each team using the Agile approach should follow.

Agile’s four core values are:

1. People and their interactions with procedures and tools

No matter how advanced technology becomes, the human aspect will always play a crucial part in project management. When you rely too much on processes and equipment, you can’t adjust to shifting conditions.

2. Working software trumps thorough documentation.

Working software is much more essential than documentation. This value focuses on offering developers precisely what they need to complete their tasks without overburdening them.

3. Collaboration with customers rather than contract negotiations

One of your most valuable assets is your customers. Involving consumers throughout the process, whether internal or external, may help guarantee that the final product satisfies their demands more successfully.

4. Adapting to change under a strategy

One of the most significant deviations from standard project management is this value. Change has always been viewed as a cost to be avoided. Agile project management allows for constant changes all through the life of a project. Each sprint provides the opportunity for reflection on the previous sprint and make route changes.

The 12 principles of agile project management

According to the Agile Manifesto, there are 12 core principles of agile project management. They are:

  1. The number one priority is customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing developments, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential — the art of maximising the amount of work not done.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on becoming more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

Benefits of Agile Project Management

Agile project management advocates argue that the technique has various advantages. These include:

  • Increased flexibility — project management allows designers to focus on models that best suit their skills.
  • Compared to traditional project management approaches such as waterfall, it does not require as well defined goals and processes at the outset of development.
  • Greater user collaboration, resulting in solutions that are more suited to their needs.
  • Effective resource utilisation, allowing for quick rollout.
  • Problems are detected quickly, allowing for faster resolution.

Limitations of Agile Project Management

However, there are several limitations, including the following:

  • Because there are fewer fixed options at the outset of a project, it might get off track.
  • Projects that are off track have fewer predictable outcomes.
  • Because agile management is based on making rapid choices, it is not appropriate for companies that take a lot of time to analyse problems.
  • Collaboration between teams or end-users must occur regularly to create the best possible product. Communication issues may influence the final output.

Ways of using the Agile method

Agile attempts to produce shorter development cycles and more frequent product releases, unlike traditional waterfall project management. Due to the shorter periods, teams are better able to respond to changes in client demands. Agile Methodology, on the other hand, may assist users with:

Before a team can begin a project, they must first comprehend the ultimate objective, the customer’s value, and the method of completing the project.

Users can use the Agile project management framework to design a project scope. However, they must bear in mind that Agile Methodology attempts to make modifications and additions to a project as easy as possible. As a result, the project scope they establish should appear to be adaptable.

  • Creating a product roadmap

The elements that form up the end-product are a product roadmap. Because teams produce unique features during each sprint/iteration, a roadmap is an integral part of the planning step of an Agile project.

A stakeholder will also create a product backlog at this stage. The team will extract tasks from the backlog as the plan sprints progress.

  • Preparation for the release

The date is implemented after the entire project has been completed in Waterfall project management. On the other hand, Agile project management employs shorter development cycles, allowing features to be released after each process.

Project owners or teams can create a high-quality strategy for feature releases after each sprint before starting the project. They can always go back and re-evaluate the release of a specific feature.

Business stakeholders must first have a sprint planning meeting before commencing a sprint. This lets them figure out how each team member should do throughout the sprint and how they’ll do it. The work will be accomplished during the sprint if the load is distributed equitably among team members.

Stakeholders may also use visual documentation to identify and eliminate obstacles, promote team transparency, and exchange knowledge within the Agile team.

Daily stand-up meetings assist teams in completing their projects during each sprint and evaluating the adoption of essential changes. These sessions are usually only 15 minutes long. Each team member takes a few minutes to describe what they achieved the day before and plan to do the next day.

  • Sprint review and retrospective

The team should have a functional component or software by the conclusion of each sprint cycle. If this is the case, project stakeholders will convene for a sprint review meeting, during which the team will present the final product. Both parties will also discuss any product concerns during this discussion.

The relevant stakeholders will convene for a sprint retrospective meeting to assess how effective the sprint was, what might have been done better, and what was accomplished during the sprint. The whole team must be present during the meetings, especially if they are new to Agile project management. This aids project stakeholders in determining if the team can complete a job during a sprint and the sprint length for future projects.

For teams and companies looking for a flexible approach to product development, Agile Methodology is a good choice. What’s more, it’s not limited to the software development industry; any organisation or business that requires a non-linear strategy, practical cooperation, customer collaboration, and high-quality products may use it.

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