What is Agile Project Management?
Agile Project Management is an iterative approach to project management which lets you break a major project down into minor tasks managed in short sprints or iterations. This work approach is used in software development often to promote the work pace and adaptability, as agile project management enables your team to adapt to changes quickly and deliver the work effectively.
While this gives you an easy definition of agile project management, understanding the basics helps you put together an Agile methodology that works for you and your team. The Agile methodology is based on 4 core values and 12 guiding principles.
The 4 Core Values of Agile are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Though technology plays a crucial role in today’s work culture, the human element always serves as an important role in any kind of project management. Agile says, relying heavily on technical processes and tools results in an inability to adapt to changing circumstances.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
Working software is as important as the documentation is. This helps the developers to get the job done, without overloading them.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Involving customers throughout the process helps to ensure that the end product meets their needs in an effective effectively.
- Responding to change over following a plan
Agile allows continuous changed throughout the lifecycle of a given project. Each sprint plan provides an opportunity for review and corrections.
Looking into the 12 guiding principles of Agile Project Management:
- The top-most priority is to satisfy the customer with early and continuous deliverables.
- Welcome the changing requirements that occur during the on-going projects. Agile processes tackle change for customer’s competitive edge.
- Deliver the projects often with a regular frequency with a preference for the shorter timelines.
- The team members should work together regularly for the entire project.
- Plan the projects around driven individuals. Provide them with the opportunity and support to get the project done in time.
- Agile says that face-to-face conversation is the most systematic and efficient method of communication within the team and with the other teams.
- The final outcome is the central measure of progress.
- Agile promotes sustainable development. All stakeholders should be able to maintain a persistent pace.
- Regular checks with technical and design aspects enhance and assure agility.
- Simplicity- Develop the project to get the job done for now.
- Self-organized teams tend to build great architectures, requirements and designs.
- Self-check for methods of being more effective at regular intervals helps team members work more efficiently.
Agile Team Roles:
- Scrum Master: The Scrum Master ensures to track each iteration and helps to resolve challenges that come across the way.
- Project Owner: The project owner defines the goals of each iteration(sprint), manage and prioritize the backlogs, and be the voice of the customer.
- Team Members: The people on a team are the individuals who execute the project work in every sprint. These individuals are composed of different strengths or also teams of people with the same job roles.
- Stakeholders: This is an informational role. They should be given a regular update on the product and the iterative goals. They have the opportunity to review and approve the work, and to provide feedback during the plan retrospect.
The 6 Steps In Agile Methodology
- Project Planning: The team should understand the goal of the sprint, the value to the organization and how it will be achieved. You develop a scope that is capable of addressing the changes and additions to the project easily.
- Project Roadmap Creation: A roadmap is an easier understanding to reach the end product. It is one of the important segments of Agile, as your team will build features based on each iteration.
- Release Planning: In Agile, projects use development cycles i.e., sprints, with extended features released at the end of each cycle. Release plan includes the details about the feature releases.
- Sprint Planning: Before an iteration begins, the stakeholders need to conduct a sprint planning meeting to determine each individual’s responsibilities to accomplish certain tasks and how to do it. It is also important to share the workload evenly among the team members so they achieve their tasks during the sprint.
You also need to visually document your workflow for better understanding within the team.
- Daily Stand-ups: For a better understanding of the work process on a daily basis, holding short daily stand-up meetings would help out. During these meetings, each team member talks about what they accomplished the day before and what they will be working on that day. This helps in gaining a clear idea about the current status of the project and if the plan needs any changes. These meeting should be only 15 minutes long. These aren’t supposed to be extended or general news discussion meetings.
- Sprint Review and Retrospect: After the end of each sprint plan, you should hold two meetings. Firstly, a sprint review meeting with the project stakeholders to present them the finished product. This part of the project is majorly important as this enhances communication with the stakeholders and leads a seamless path of discussing product issues that arise.
Secondly, you have a sprint retrospective meeting with your stakeholders to discuss each detail about how the sprint went for your team members and what could have been better; about the workload for each member and what has been achieved during the sprint.
These are important parts of Agile project management. As you transition your team to an Agile methodology, these principles and roles will help you change your mindset accordingly. Teams who use the Agile methodologies correctly has a higher probability of experiencing huge benefits with streamlined work processes and rapid innovation.
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