With more focus on continuous improvement, agile project management beats the traditional linear way of managing projects as well as developing products and services. Increasingly, many organizations are slowly adopting the agile project management methodology since it uses a series of some shorter product development cycles for great project success. This project management style allows for continuous integration, rapid development, and continuous delivery.
Agile project management lets cross-functional teams work on pieces of projects, solve problems, and move projects forward in shorter phases. This way, teams can iterate more quickly and give more frequent updates.
With the agile methodology, there’s a higher level of quality improvements on an incremental basis rather than waiting to distribute the finished projects. According to a PWC report, agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional methodologies.
Related: Traditional project management vs. Agile: how to choose
What is Agile?
Agile is a project management methodology that breaks down larger projects into smaller, manageable chunks known as iterations. At the end of every iteration (which typically takes place over a consistent time interval), something of value is produced. The product that’s produced during every iteration should be able to be placed into the world to receive feedback from stakeholders or users.
Contrary to Waterfall project management, agile is strictly sequenced: you do not commence design until research is complete and development doesn’t commence until all designs are signed off. With agile, developers, designers, and business people are simultaneously working together.
The Benefits: Why The Agile Methodology Rocks
Agile was initially developed for the software industry in order to improve and streamline the development process in a bid to quickly identify and adjust for defects and issues. It offers a way for teams and developers to deliver a better project, faster, through short, iterative sprints/sessions. And with many companies moving to the digital workplace, agile is an excellent fit for organizations looking to transform the way they manage projects and operate in general. Here’s why the agile methodology is beneficial.
Speed to Market
The agile methodology allows you to get the concept to your users as fast as possible. During every iteration, an agile project produces something valuable. At any instance, you could decide you want to launch what has been delivered in order to start building your user base or test your hypothesis.
The agile methodology is based on accommodating change. Projects, particularly software, regularly change. As products come to life or the market broadens, you must be able to react as well as update the product accordingly. Agile also embraces that great ideas can arise mid-project and locking yourself into a scope won’t let you take advantage of such realizations.
With incremental releases available, a product could be used and tested early in the process by users and stakeholders. This allows you to identify feature deficits and issues early in the production process. Being adaptable to changes also implies that it is not a problem to alter the scope midway through your project, something that is impossible with the waterfall methodology.
Unlike fixed budget projects, agile is incredibly flexible in maters scope. In most instances, clients realize that the features they had initially requested are no longer important, which allows them to launch much sooner and pay less. Agile, however, is not about paying too much with high levels of uncertainty but instead about paying only for what you need. Want to stick to your budget? That shouldn’t be a problem because with agile, you can rearrange the product backlog so that essential new features are implemented at the expense of the less important ones, rather than your budget.
The agile methodology integrates testing through the entire project process. Consistently delivering tested products means there is higher overall quality and minimal time spent quality assuring product as the whole. Incremental releases allow for early and frequent tests on products. Even when the products are not released to the public, it is easier to locate any flaws so that improvements can be made when you still have the actual product to play with versus a series of new designs to work with from scratch.
Related: Why Agility Matters in Software Development
12 Principles and 4 Values of Agile Project Management
The original Agile Manifesto includes a list of 4 values and 12 principles to guide your process.
12 principles which guide agile project management, as mentioned below.
- Satisfy Customers Through Early & Continuous Delivery
- Welcome Changing Requirements Even Late in the Project
- Deliver Value Frequently
- Break the Silos of Your Project
- Build Projects Around Motivated Individuals
- The Most Effective Way of Communication is Face-to-face
- Working Software is the Primary Measure of Progress
- Maintain a Sustainable Working Pace
- Continuous Excellence Enhances Agility
- Simplicity is Essential
- Self-organizing Teams Generate Most Value
- Regularly Reflect and Adjust Your Way of Work to Boost Effectiveness
Read more detail at What Are the 12 Principles of Agile Project Management?
And it’s not just the principles. The Agile Manifesto highlights a few select values that showcase the same philosophy.
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Functioning end product over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
The Agile approach is founded on practical principles and values. It aims to solve the issue of product-market disconnects that plague companies globally.
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