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As an entrepreneur, you probably spend your day trying to hit all kinds of moving targets. Your customer wants one thing on Monday and something else on Wednesday. New emerging technologies or competitors force you to make adjustments. Hitting a moving target would be much easier if you could adjust your shot after pulling the trigger.
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Enter Agile project management.
Agile project management is a popular methodology for tracking various roles, responsibilities, deadlines, and other factors in a project. When used correctly, Agile can save organizations a lot of time, frustration, and money. Here is how it works.
What is Agile?
Agile is an iterative, introspective and adaptive project management methodology. In an Agile practice, a project is divided into sub-projects. These are generally called sprints. At the end of each sprint, stakeholders and the team review their work, make adjustments for the next sprint, and start over until it is complete. Agile’s goal is the constant and incremental delivery of value throughout the project, rather than all at once at the end.
Agile project management has its roots in software development. Development cycles are now much shorter than they used to be. Software developers can take years to bring a product to market. In some cases, the software was obsolete before it could reach consumers.
Traditional project management structures were partly to blame. They are very rigid and linear. It is difficult to adjust to issues that arise and nothing is released until all the work is done.
The framework solves many business problems by embracing chaos. It is designed to take into account that you will encounter unexpected problems. He knows that inevitably you will have to make a change to get the desired result.
Agile allows your team to aim for general direction, build something and then reassess the situation. Many teams both inside and outside the software industry find this approach useful for accomplishing difficult and complex tasks.
Agile project management: an example
Let’s say you are creating an app. A product owner takes feedback from stakeholders. These can be executives, clients, or both. They’ll say something like, “We want an app where people can create and sell widgets to each other. »From these interactions, the Product Owners create a backlog. The backlog is a list of all the tasks that need to be completed to achieve the overall goal.
Then the team holds a pre-sprint meeting. They look at the backlog and determine how much work they can take on. Once they get into the work and break it up, the sprint begins. A sprint usually takes a few weeks, but no longer than a month. At the start of each day, the team will meet for a stand-up meeting. These are brief, everyone gets up (to make sure the meeting is brief), and you go over the previous day’s work and make adjustments if necessary.
At the end of the sprint, the team and stakeholders review progress, engage their work, make adjustments for the next sprint, and reiterate. This continues until the overall goal is achieved.
Simply put, Agile is about breaking down complex tasks into simple sprints. When used correctly, they can make a huge difference in your team’s productivity and morale.
The Agile Manifesto
Like most big theories, Agile is presented in a manifesto. Here the counterfeiters of Manifesto for agile software development (commonly referred to as the Agile Manifesto) define the four core values and 12 principles of Agile project management.
Agile project management requires highly collaborative and flexible teams that can deliver consistent value with every iteration. This makes sense, given that Agile is inherently introspective and focuses on constant adjustment to optimize results.
Four core values of agile project management
The four core values of Agile include:
- People and interactions on processes and tools
- Work software on complete documentation
- Customer collaboration on contract negotiation
- Respond to change about a plan
12 principles of agile project management
The 12 principles of the methodology are based on these values, according to the Agile Manifesto:
- The highest priority is customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Accommodate changing requirements, even at the end of development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Provide working software frequently, from a few weeks to a few months, with a preference for the shortest lead times.
- Business people and developers must work together on a daily basis throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most effective and efficient method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Functional software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. Sponsors, developers and users must be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design improves agility.
- Simplicity, the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team thinks about how to become more efficient, and then adjusts and adjusts their behavior accordingly.
Different types of agile project management methodologies
The Agile family tree of project management methodologies has many branches. All Agile project management theories adhere to the core principles of Agile, but they do so in subtly different ways. We won’t be talking about the whole family here. But we’re going to discuss two of Agile’s most popular flavors.
Scrum’s founders define it as “a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.” Scrum is built on the ideas we learn by doing, waste needs to be minimized and we need to focus on what is most important. Scrum should be used against a team of multi-tool players who collectively create increments of value with each iteration.
In a Scrum practice, the Scrum team is made up of a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and the development team. The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the end goal, while the Scrum Master is responsible for maintaining Scrum and getting the most out of the development team. The development team does the job.
Scrum is the most popular Agile method. In the survey results presented in the 14th Annual State of Agility Report, 75% of respondents said they practice Scrum or Scrum-hybrid.
Kanban relies on visualizations and controls to track and manage workload. A basic Kanban board is made up of three columns: “Request”, “In progress” and “Completed”. But many businesses will create columns for each step of their workflow.
Each project is visualized as cards on the Kanban board and progresses through each column until the job is complete. A “work in progress” (WIP) limitation is created and applied to each column to prevent the team from stretching too much by committing too much work. From there, it’s about maintaining a sustained and sustainable pace, and adjusting as needed to optimize processes.
According to the 14th State of Technology, 63% of respondents said they use Kanban in their organizations.
Leverage agility in your environment
Agile project management is not a universal methodology. The effectiveness of Agile depends on the goals you are trying to achieve. If you’re shooting at a fixed target and can’t stray from a predefined path, then Agile might not be your best bet. But if you’re trying to hit a moving target and need to make the most of the time and resources at your disposal, then Agile might be the answer to your problems.
Your team members are also something you should consider before implementing Agile. Culture and membership are a big deal, and poor culture and lack of membership are the main causes of Agile failure, according to the State of Agility report. But more importantly, people are a central part of Agile. You need a team of multi-tool players who can work together, adapt to changes, and stay focused on the goal.
If you decide that Agile isn’t right for your team, consider implementing one of the other project management methodologies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Agile only for software development?
No. Others have found success with Agile – or at least using certain components of Agile – outside of software development. People in the automotive industry, R&D, and other industries have found success in Agile. Standing meetings are common in a variety of work environments, from restaurants to boardrooms. Kanban boards appear everywhere, like on whiteboards at law firms and on windows in property management offices.
Are there any certifications for Agile project management?
Yes. You can get Agile Project Management certificates from various accredited colleges and universities, as well as through professional and business organizations.
Do I need to buy a project management tool to implement Agile project management in my business?
You don’t need to buy specialized Agile project management solutions to deploy or be successful with Agile. However, there is a plethora of project management solutions that can enhance, augment, and improve your Agile practice.