What is agile project management?

Project Management is an essential part of any functioning business. But have you heard of its lesser-known relative, Agile project management? If not, don't worry, you're not alone. In this article we'll be going over the basics of Agile project management, and how it can help your business.

Author: Tim Randall | Published: 05/07/2022

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What is Agile Project Management?

If you're part of a successful company, you'll probably already know a thing or two about Project Management- it's an essential part of any functioning business. But have you heard of its lesser-known relative, Agile project management? If not, don't worry, you're not alone. In this article we'll be going over the basics of Agile project management, and how it can help you and your business become more efficient than ever.

But first, let's go over the basics for those who don't know.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the process of leading a team and working together to achieve completion of the projects and tasks given to you. While this process can take many different forms, the main objective is often to finish the project as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining a good level of quality.

What are some components of the traditional (or "Waterfall") approach to project management?

  • Estimating budget, resources, and the length of time needed to complete the project or task
  • Managing communication, risks, and the team's budget
  • Providing the team with leadership and motivation
  • Monitoring the team's progress (or lack thereof)
  • Prioritising contract negotiation over customer collaboration

What is Agile Project Management?

The Association for Project Management describes Agile project management as 'an iterative approach to delivering a project throughout its life cycle'. In short, Agile is a concept that focuses on a team of people and their interactions, as well as the promotion of improvement over time rather than producing immediate results.

An iterative process like Agile is one that breaks down a project into smaller sections and focuses on each individual task until every stage is perfected, using more flexible and employee-friendly tactics that assure product satisfaction.

What are the four main values of Agile project management?

The four values of the Agile Manifesto are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

The 12 Agile principles

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development outpnes 12 Agile principles that all businesses should follow if they want their projects to be successful. These principles are as follows:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, 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 shorter timescales.
  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 be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity- the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. The team discusses how to become more effective at regular intervals, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly

What are some components of the Agile approach to project management?

  • 'Feedback loops': creating the project, releasing it to a test group, and changing the project based on the test group's feedback (then repeating this cycle until the project reaches the desired standard.)
  • Team collaboration: Having a team that works well together and brings out the best in their teammates is an essential part of Agile working.

What makes Agile project management better than its counterpart?

It would not necessarily be fair to call the Agile methodology 'better' than other approaches such as Waterfall and Scrum- depending on your office structure and what your stakeholders prefer, it may not be the right methodology for you. Ut that's not to say that it doesn't have its advantages. Here are just a few benefits to adopting the Agile methodology in your workplace.

Your team is encouraged to collaborate

As we previously mentioned: the stronger the team, the stronger the project. According to a survey by Clear Company, 97% of employees and executives bepeve lack of apgnment within a team impacts the outcome of a project or task.

Your employees feel valued and supported

When a group of people are passionate about their work and feel encouraged to do well, they're bound to work harder in the long run. Agile project management often promotes a healthier work environment for employees as they are shown that their input on a subject makes a big difference, and that they are able to offer up ideas for their work that are listened to and appreciated by their superiors.

Your stakeholders receive the product faster

Rather than spending months on a project and producing it to stakeholders at the end of the year, taking the Agile approach means producing a prototype in a shorter timeframe, asking for feedback from stakeholders, then building on the product based on the results. This means stakeholders are more involved in the process and are kept up to date on the project's development, and are notified every time your product receives an update.

How to implement the Agile methodology in your workplace

We may have covered some important points in this article, but there is so much more to Agile than you might think! With that in mind, if this is your first time coming across the Agile mindset, how do you start implementing it into your work environment? Here are three ideas to get you started:

Avoid micro-managing your staff

While it be well-intentioned, micro-managing can sometimes hinder more than help. By allowing your teams to organise themselves how to see fit and not micro-manage, you will be helping your staff to become self-sufficient and reliant on each other as a team, as well as reach their deadlines more efficiently.

Promote a team leader

If you have individual teams working on separate elements of a project, you may want to consider finding a team leader within your teams to make sure deadlines are met and that there is only one point of contact from anyone higher up. This will come in handy with regard to sticking to a deadline, and will give employees someone to go to for advice if they find themselves struggling.

Arrange short but regular meetings with your team(s)

While you may want to avoid micro-managing your staff for fear of stifling them, a good alternative might be organising short catchups with your team(s). This will help you to see how the project is progressing and also to make adjustments based on your individual and group progress.

Would you like to learn more about what project management can do for your business? If so, consider booking a demo with us.

Tim Randall

Tim Randall

CEO

With an extensive background in business analysis and software programming, Tim heads up our software development team and loves nothing more than solving complex business challenges with simple easy to use software.

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