In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s critical for businesses to streamline their processes as much as possible. Moreover, companies — especially those that develop software — need to be responsive and quickly adapt their products to their customers’ needs.
In this pressure-filled environment, traditional project management methodologies don’t offer sufficient speed and flexibility. That’s why many forward-thinking businesses use agile methodologies that allow them to react quickly and effectively to internal and external pressures. In this guide to agile project management, we’ll discuss some useful tips for applying this practical approach.
What Is Agile?
Agile is a methodology that focuses on team input, flexibility, and continuous improvement to deliver top quality products for the end user. To achieve this, it utilizes several practices:
- Lean — a practice that originated in manufacturing — helps teams minimize waste.
- Scrum involves iterative work phases based on frequent reassessment of plans and constant communication between teams.
- Kanban emphasizes communication and transparency while providing a visual representation of the work.
- Extreme Programming — or XP — is a framework that’s deployed to enable a better way of working and deliver higher quality software.
Because teams can select which practices to apply to their projects, there are numerous ways to implement agile management. Nevertheless, because the software life cycle is shorter than with traditional project management and produces frequent small improvements rather than one single large upgrade, the resulting product is better aligned with the business’s needs. In addition, it can be more easily and quickly adjusted when necessary.
Agile and DevOps often go hand-in-hand, since both involve fostering a culture of continuous improvement. However, DevOps goes a step further by using automation to accelerate the deployment of improvements.
Best Practices When Implementing Agile Project Management
When working on a project, project managers can benefit from using the following agile best practices:
- Determine what the short-term deliverables are. Traditional project management involves setting a long-term goal and working toward it. In contrast, agile is iterative, so teams work in short cycles to achieve smaller goals that combine to make a finished or improved product.
- Minimize waste. Too many tools or too much information can make a project unnecessarily complicated. In addition, adding too many attributes to a product can make it more complex and detract from its value.
- Hold short, effective meetings. Only hold meetings when necessary, and keep them small, short, and to the point. Too many invitees or too many items on the agenda can make a meeting lengthy and even ineffective.
- Manage risk. Perform risk analysis and response planning before beginning the execution of the project.
- Build on existing processes. While you should encourage people to be creative in their approach, it’s best to start with existing processes if they deliver the desired result.
With these effective agile project management tips in mind, you can begin adopting a more responsive, efficient way of working. And in the long run, that can benefit your project, your team, and your entire company.