What’s Agile Project Management Exactly?

Digital Project Management

Agile is one of the largest buzzwords of the IT improvement industry. Agile project management is really a value-driven approach that enables Project Managers to provide high-priority, top-quality work and look like rock stars to their stakeholders. It is nothing like the plodding, pricey and error-prone method of project management that has shipped sporadic results for years. An agile project is finished in small sections known as iterations. An iteration is usually scheduled to be completed within 2-4 weeks. 

Basic Concepts of Agile

Use these concepts to apply agile methods inside your projects: 

  1. Deliver working software frequently, from a few days to a few several weeks, having a preference towards the shorter timescale.
  2. Business owners and designers must interact daily through the project. Focus is on team work!
  3. Build projects around motivated people. Provide them with a good working atmosphere and support they need. Have confidence in them to complete the job.
  4. The best and efficient approach to offering information to and inside a team of developers is face-to-face conversation. 
  5. Working software or completing work items is the main way of measuring progress. 
  6. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, designers, and customers should have the ability to conserve a constant pace indefinitely.‍
  7. Don't be afraid of change. Embrace changing requirements, both from stakeholders and clients.
Ways of Working

Ways of Working that are Often Used in Agile

You will find various methods which are collectively recognized as agile, as they endorse the values the agile manifesto plus they're consistent with the above concepts. Typically the most popular ones are as follows: 

DSDM - Dynamic Systems Development Method

DSDM is most likely the initial agile development method. DSDM was around prior to the term ‘agile’ being invented, but is completely based on all of the concepts we have come to know as agile. DSDM appears to be more more popular in the United Kingdom than in other places. It can work well with other methods such as PRINCE2.

Scrum

Scrum is also an agile method, which concentrates particularly on how to manage tasks inside a team-based atmosphere. Scrum is easily the most popular and broadly adopted agile method - This is due to it being very simple to apply while it also addresses most of the management problems that have affected IT development teams for many years. 

XP - Extreme Programming

XP is really a more radical agile methodology, focusing more on the program engineering process plus addressing development as well as test phases along with novel approaches which make a considerable impact on quality as it involves pair programming and extensive code reviews. Thus its intended focus is to improve software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements.

Agile Project Management Terms

Agile includes a number of different terms. Terms can be used in many different contexts, some projects will use them and some won't. The most used terms are: 

  • ScrumMaster - The ScrumMaster is a facilitator for the team and product owner. Rather than manage the team, the ScrumMaster works to assist both the team and product owner.
  • Product Owner - A single person that must have final authority representing the customer's interest in backlog prioritization and requirements questions.
  • Team Member - A team member is defined as anyone working on sprint tasks toward the sprint goal.
  • Release planning (Milestone) - The transition of an increment of potentially shippable product from the development team into routine use by customers. Releases typically happen when one or more sprints has resulted in the product having enough value to outweigh the cost to deploy it.
  • Sprint - An iteration of work during which an increment of product functionality is implemented. Typically 2-4 weeks.
  • Sprint planning - The Sprint planning meeting is a negotiation between the team and the product owner about what the team will do during the next sprint.
  • Daily scrum - A fifteen-minute daily meeting where each team member briefly explains what they did yesterday, what they'll work on today and if anything is preventing the team member from performing optimally.
  • Sprint retrospective - The sprint retrospective meeting is held at the end of every sprint after the sprint review meeting. The team and ScrumMaster meet to discuss what went well and what to improve in the next sprint.
  • Impediments - Anything that prevents a team member from performing work as efficiently as possible is an impediment.
  • Backlog - The product backlog (or "backlog") is the requirements for a system, expressed as a prioritized list of product backlog Items. These included both functional and non-functional customer requirements, as well as technical team-generated requirements.
  • Product Backlog Item - A product backlog item ("PBI", "backlog item", "item", "story", or "user story") is a unit of work small enough to be completed by a team in one Sprint iteration. Backlog items are decomposed into one or more tasks.
  • Task - A task (or sprint task) is a unit of work generally between four and sixteen hours. Team members volunteer for tasks. They update the estimated number of hours remaining on a daily basis, influencing the sprint burndown chart. Tasks are contained by backlog items. It's encouraged to split a task into several if the estimate exceeds twelve hours.

Benefits of Agile

  • The major benefit of agile project management is being able to react to issues as they become apparent. New things will constantly arise throughout any project and working on the right things is evermore important today than it has ever been.
  • Switching to a more important task at the right time can help save assets and, ultimately, help deliver an effective project promptly and within budget. 
  • Agile Project Management reduces complexity by breaking the whole project into short iterations instead of lengthy and comprehensive needs for the entire project to be planned up-front.
  • Agile project management constantly evaluates cost and time as primary constraints. Quick feedback, continuous adjustment and QA guidelines are built-in, so teams can be committed, making it certain that top-quality outputs are produced. 
  • By getting greater visibility plus continuous feedback, the agile PMs and PMOs can respond very rapidly to change direction and remove bottlenecks within the process, delivering superior software, faster. 

Finally Agile Project Management is a very exciting and invigorating approach, even though some projects suit agile better than others. The collaboration and visibility agile offers can show a significantly more rewarding experience for teams to output their best work faster. For many agile is also a more enjoyable way of working compared to the more traditional waterfall approach, which requires much more documentation and it is less flexible by its nature.

Dennis Kayser

My name is Dennis Kayser and I’m CEO and co-founder in Forecast. I enjoy helping our customers succeed by building great and innovative software that supports teams in their daily work.

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