How does agile project management work, and can it really help your team accomplish more within a shorter time frame? What do you know about project management? The following are some tips for applying agile project management to your next project.
You can choose from dozens of different project management methodologies when managing your work.
When you begin researching which methodology is right for you, you will likely come across the word “Agile” over and over again.
Work is becoming increasingly complex and ever-changing, which makes Agile a necessity in the modern workplace. When a team is quick to adapt to a change that leads to better productivity, agile thrives. Explore Agile project management in this guide and learn about its key components and principles, as well as how to implement it.
What is Agile project management?
Agile project management is an iterative approach to project management, which emphasizes breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks, which are then executed in short iterations within the project life cycle. With Agile methodologies, teams can complete their work faster, adapt to changes in project requirements, and streamline their workflow.
Agile enables teams to change direction and focus quickly as the name suggests. A software company and marketing agency know that stakeholders frequently change their minds about the project from week to week. The Agile approach allows teams to reevaluate the work they are doing in given increments to ensure the team’s focus changes as the work and customer landscape change.
Agile project management might seem complex and difficult to manage at first if you’re new to it. However, you are already following many of the Agile principles whether you realize it or not. It’s possible to shorten development cycles and deliver smaller, more frequent releases by tweaking a few things.
What are the 4 core values of Agile?
A team adopting Agile methodology should adhere to four Core Values and 12 Guiding Principles as a North Star.
The Agile Manifesto was created by software developers as the first agile project management method. The word “developer” and similar terms like “customer” will be used throughout.
However, don’t let it limit you.
It doesn’t matter if you are creating software or something completely different (like a marketing campaign), there will be plenty of lessons you can apply, regardless of your industry.
Among the four Agile Core Values are:
1. Individuals and interactions between processes and tools
Any kind of project management will always be aided by the human element, no matter how sophisticated the technology gets. An inability to adapt to changing circumstances can result from relying too heavily on processes and tools.
2. Comprehensive documentation over working software
Working software is more important than documentation. The developer value is all about providing them with exactly what they need to do the job without overloading them.
3. Collaboration with customers over contract negotiations
One of the most valuable assets you have is your customers. Integrating customers throughout the process can help ensure a product that better meets their needs, whether they are internal or external.
4. Implementing a plan in response to a changeover
Compared to traditional project management, this value is one of the most revolutionary. In the past, change was considered an expense, and one that should be avoided. An agile process allows for constant change within a project. Every sprint provides a chance to review and correct the course.
Agile project management is based on these core values, which are incorporated into everything from standard work methods to the 12 agile project management principles.
Agile approaches are characterized by their collaborative aspect and people-centric nature.
The human element is at the forefront of not only the working processes (progress is made through individual interactions and customer collaboration, putting the human aspect at the forefront), but also the final products. In other words, we want to create something that delivers maximum value to end-users.
Agile Project Management Methods
In our discussion so far, we have mostly focused on Agile project management, including its main characteristics. Let’s consider some of the most common Agile management styles and methods to gain a more detailed understanding of the process.
The popularity of Agile at the beginning of the 21st century led a number of frameworks to gain prominence (Scrum, SAFe, etc.).
Nevertheless, many companies that aspire to true business agility realize that highly prescriptive frameworks and agility are exactly the opposite. As a result, many organizations today are looking to Agile methodologies that facilitate a stable workflow and allow them to customize the processes to match their individual requirements instead of relying on highly prescriptive frameworks.
These days, Kanban, Scrum, and Scrumban are the most popular frameworks or methods for Agile project management.
Kanban was first formulated a decade ago. It emphasizes continual improvement and evolution.
The six practices of the method are as follows: visualize work, limit work in progress, manage flow and processes, implement feedback loops, and improve collaborations.
The Kanban boards serve as a hub for all tasks to be placed so that teams are able to visualize their work. It will make sharing information and collaborating on different projects much faster and easier.
Various stages of work are represented on a Kanban board by columns. Organization and management of work are made much easier, projects are tracked, and an overall view of the process is gathered.
Kanban’s work-in-progress limit is one of its most critical practices. Each board column has a WIP limit which specifies how much work may be in it. Your team will be able to better prioritize work and focus when using this tool, which can improve overall efficiency.
Then again, we all know that every project, team, and individual is different. As a team, you might have different skills, experience, and expertise. Each project may have a different scope, budget, etc.
Because of this, Kanban proposes starting from what you do now and evolving gradually. There are no drastic changes to Kanban, making it one of the most adaptable agile project management methodologies.
IT, marketing, and any other team in your organization can implement Kanban.
There is a common misconception that Scrum is an Agile method. In fact, it is a prescriptive framework. As a result, it’s an iterative approach that uses fixed intervals and divides projects into fixed intervals known as sprints.
Ultimately, the goal is to help teams produce high-value products creatively and efficiently.
Customers and other stakeholders are represented by the product owner. As a product manager, he/she organizes and manages a product backlog that lists all the work items needed for the product. Scrum masters, on the other hand, assist the team in understanding and applying the rules as servant leaders.
We select and move work items from the product backlog into the Sprint backlog until we reach the capacity of the Sprint. During the Sprint, which may be considered to be a project with a fixed duration of no more than one month, a self-organized or self-managed team does the work.
The original article that shaped the framework and subsequent Scrum guide does not mention task boards.
In contrast, today, any team or organization that practices Agile project management with Scrum is using a task board, a borrowed concept from Kanban.
Ultimately, the board encourages transparency and promotes Agile project management principles.
Some people in the Scrum community saw an opportunity to use Kanban to provide continuous improvement and evolutionary change to Scrum teams as Kanban became increasingly popular. Scrumban was born as a result.
Kanban is used by 81% of all Scrum masters in conjunction with Scrum.
Kanban practices and philosophy are added to Scrum, and some rules are eliminated.
Take a look at what Scrumban does with Kanban.
Visualize the work. This is what Scrumban requires as a first step. As Scrum does not mandate a board, Kanban requires aboard.
Limit Work in Progress (WIP). Knowing Kanban, you understand that limiting work in progress changes everything. With Scrumban, this practice is taken and applied successfully, making it possible for teams to focus on completing their work. By limiting the work in progress, we create a pull system rather than a push system, where tasks enter naturally into a workflow.
Extend the board. Increase the number of columns on the board. Kanban boards are typically laid out this way, and it is a good way to visualize the various workflow steps. As a result, your team will have a clearer understanding of the process, and you will be able to pinpoint where bottlenecks occur.
Prioritizing. Another Kanban technique that Scrumban uses is prioritizing. There is nothing complicated about it. Requested (To Do) cards are arranged in the Ordered column, and the top card is the most important. The team starts removing cards one at a time, keeping this rule in mind.
(Stop) Estimating. Scrumban cheats at this by estimating. How is that possible? In Scrumban, it is claimed that work should not be estimated. Let me explain. Lean regards every activity that adds no value to the product as waste. An estimate is considered wasteful. That’s why planning sessions within Scrumban are typically short, and they emphasize prioritizing rather than estimating.
Planning on demand. Scrum and Scrumban differ in this respect. In their initial form, Scrumban removes Sprint planning. The Kanban method takes Scrumban to the next level by removing work items from the backlog until it becomes empty, which is a trigger for planning more work. This enables agile teams to produce more and waste less while providing visibility and increasing productivity. This also allows teams to take full advantage of Agile planning.
#4. Other worth mentioning methods
Other Agile project management methods also contributed to the development of the Agile community, but they were gradually pushed to the side over time. This is why we won’t devote a separate paragraph to them.
They are, however, the following:
- XP (Extreme Programming)
- Crystal methods
- FDD (Feature-driven Development)
- DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery)
The Scrum methodology was adopted fairly early on (and is still widely used in the industry today), and it became mainstream. Throughout the years, Kanban, Scrumban, and hybrid models have become more popular, bringing Agile to other industries as well.
The top 3 approaches, Kanban, Scrum, and Scrumban, are those that have crossed the chasm successfully and are being employed in other industries, like product development, architecture, marketing, financial services, healthcare, insurance, education, and others.
What are the 12 principles of Agile you must know?
There are a variety of Agile methodologies out there, but the 12 Principles of Agile should always guide your decision-making and product development.
- We are committed to providing our customers with high-quality, timely software (or whatever else you deliver).
- Even late in the development process, we welcome changing requirements. Adaptive processes empower customers to take advantage of change.
- Deliver projects in a timely manner, typically within a couple of weeks to a few months.
- Throughout the project, members of the coordination team must coordinate daily.
- Motivate individuals to work on projects. Trust them to do the job if you give them the right environment and support.
- Communication between and within different teams is most efficiently and effectively accomplished through face-to-face interactions.
- The primary measure of progress is the final product.
- Sustainable development is promoted by agile processes. A constant pace should be possible for all stakeholders.
- Continual attention to quality and design that enhance agility.
- The goal of simplicity is to minimize the amount of work that isn’t done.
- It is through self-organized teams that the best architectures, requirements, and designs are created.
- The team reflects on how to improve its effectiveness periodically, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
Agile project management is based on these essential elements. In order to change your mindset and begin working together to be more flexible and adaptable to changes as they come, these processes, Agile software and tools, roles, and principles will help you. Although Agile is not for everyone, teams who implement it correctly will reap enormous benefits, such as streamlined work processes and rapid innovation.
Your organization can be more flexible with Agile project management and adjust to new conditions more quickly. Projects are considered agile when they meet the following criteria:
- Focus on customers
- Ability to adapt
- Leadership as a shared responsibility (Shared Leadership)
- Continually improving