What is Agile?
Forget the term agile project management for a while and concentrate only on the word ‘agile’. What do you understand by it? Agile means – efficient or getting maximum output in minimum time without any wastage of time.
Now, when we see this in the context of project management, Agile project management uses those methodologies which help in completing projects efficiently, at the same time without compromising with quality in any way.
Basically, Agile project management allows flexibility, continuous improvement, clear actions and better output from projects.
The popular agile methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Adaptive Software Development, Feature-driven Development, etc.
The Guiding Principles of Agile Project Management
These are the guiding principles of Agile Project Management.
- Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance and is ensured by rapid and continuous delivery.
- Adapting to and embracing changing requirements at any stage of the process is central to agile methodology. It provides a competitive advantage to the customer.
- Delivering the product or service at higher frequency matters.
- Collaboration between the developers and stakeholders is important on a daily basis.
- Motivation to achieve goals remains a major hallmark of stakeholders as well as team members.
- Face to face meetings are considered integral for ensuring project success.
- A final functional product is what success looks like in project management.
- A constant and ongoing pace is important to bring sustainable development throughout the process using agile methodologies.
- Excellence in technical as well as design aspects is focussed upon.
- One important element is simplicity.
Reasons to Adopt Agile Project Management in 2020.
Ability to Course Correct
In the traditional project management, a rigid approach is followed and you move as per the strict agenda and planning leaving no room for you to correct your course on the way. Whereas, the agile project management methodologies like Kanban, Scrum, Gantt, etc. allow you to improve your mistakes on the way.
When you follow agile, you will no longer see yourself making off bets with no way to change the course. Agile project management allows you to go wrong at times. You can come up with the best way of doing something right now, experiment that for a while and finetune it on the way if the need arises or for that matter, you can even completely scrap that idea and have a completely different take.
It is always better to get it right in the end with experimentation and corrections on the way than blindly acting on one rigid plan only to find out that all your hard work has gone down the drain because the final product is nothing like it was aimed for.
Agile project management processes ensure that quality is baked in at every step. Testing becomes a very important part of each stage of the development process in agile methods. Every time a stage is completed, multiple feedback sessions are a part of the agile process to ensure perfection before moving onto the next step. Time and money are saved with continuous testing. Apart from this, there remains no scope of having made something which is absolutely useless.
Release Time Is Reduced
One of the biggest advantages of agile methodologies is that the time taken for new releases is reduced. When teams use agile methods, work flows easily from one stage to another due to the better clarity and real-time update that an agile project management software provides. This way, the clients did not have to wait for too long to have the changes made. Testing keeps on happening simultaneously and there remains less scope of chaos.
Improvement in velocity had many great secondary results as well. Better employee engagement and satisfaction is one of them.
Prioritization Becomes Easier
In traditional project management, prioritization is difficult. Most of the time, you pick one thing and then the other as per the initial planning without taking into account the need of the hour and the changing demands. Whereas in agile project management, planning is also flexible.
While, with a tool like a Gantt chart, you can view all your project tasks in a visual representation form. You can see all your tasks, people responsible to complete those tasks, the set milestones, overlapping tasks, and employee workload all in one window using a Gantt chart.
Apart from this, you can keep all your tasks in the form of various task lists on a Kanban board and add labels like high priority, urgent, etc. to attract attention such that they are attended first without the need for anyone to nag team members and remind them over and again about which task matters the most.
A Sense of Accountability Grows
Agile project management can inculcate mutual accountability and team ownership. Agile project management allows teams to brainstorm ideas and give their useful input on various project-related matters. They can together divide the entire project into tasks and sub-tasks. The team members can contribute to deciding the timeline of various tasks and it does not only stay the responsibility of the manager, so this way the chances of wrong calculation reduces.
Tools like an agile Kanban board helps in the clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities for everyone to see. Managers do not need to ask for the updates every now and then as real-time notifications every time a task stage is changed keeps everyone updated.
Team members can drag and drop a task in the next stage column and the concerned people are notified such that the next concerned person can immediately take over to his responsibility.
This way the assignees feel a sense of accountability without the need to nag them.
Communication and Collaboration Is Improved
Agile project management software provides a single source of truth for the entire team rather than one person receiving instructions from various channels thus leading to confusion. An agile project management solution becomes a central source to brainstorm, discuss, communicate and understand various processes. As a result, a common standard is set for all to follow.
At the same time, the ability to share files through one central channel, the process of feedback on files, the ability to check various versions of a file, the ability to tag and comment on tasks directly makes the context clear, and all the time which was otherwise wasted in communication is now streamlined in productive ways.
This becomes a bliss for remote teams as they can quickly collaborate on files and participate in discussions without any chance of missing on useful information or without falling into the web of email threads to communicate on tasks and projects.
Make daily standups a ritual
Project management solutions become a great complement for daily standup meetings. At the start of the day. All the team members can come up for a quick standup meeting. They can discuss the tasks they did (March 05, 2020), and what they are supposed to do today. This gives motivation and a quick start to the day.
Standups are great for discussing any queries or impediments that one team member faced while doing his work which may also come in some other member’s way some other time.
A project management solution helps a manager or team lead scroll through the tasks of the concerned team members just to get a quick update during the standup.
Success rate increases
The digital world is changing fast. We cannot really predict how the practices of work would change in the future or what new innovations will be there down the line. In such a scenario, it is possible that what a business commits to on day one of a project might not be relevant by the end of the project.
Agile, provides the organizations to flex and change the course of their projects on the go. So, they can incorporate new technologies or changing user needs in their projects with agile methodology.
The net result of a flexible and adaptable project methodology turns out to be a success.