Agile Project Management Methodology
Agile became a popular concept in todays economic environment. Researchers, experts and specialists often discuss why agility is required to succeed in projects. It is clear that challenging and time-sensitive projects require new techniques rather than traditional management approaches. Agile project management methodology involves a set of values and principles to improve the development of a process, product or service. Many companies try to implement agile approaches to improve market position or resource utilization especially in software development projects. It is clear that adopting agile practices provides many benefits such as quickly responding to a market need. In this article we will discuss the key aspects of Agile Project Management Methodology.
Before to start, let’s take a look at the Agile Manifesto.
The Agile Manifesto
Agile was first discussed in detail by an American computer scientist William Royce in the 1970s. In 2001 the Agile Manifesto which includes four values and twelve principles was published by a group of software developers.
Basically, the Agile Manifesto includes 4 key values and 12 principles applicable for software development. The purpose of this manifesto is for developing high-quality and working softwares.
Below are the 4 key values of the Agile Manifesto;
1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
The Agile manifesto has 12 guiding principles that aims to establish a culture for managing changes and satisfying customer.
Below are the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto;
1. Customer satisfaction is always the highest priority and is achieved through rapid and continuous delivery.
2. Changing environments are embraced at any stage of the process to provide the customer with a competitive advantage.
3. A product or service is delivered with higher frequency.
4. Stakeholders and developers collaborate closely on a daily basis.
5. All stakeholders and team members remain motivated for optimal project outcomes, while teams are provided with all the necessary tools and support, and are trusted to accomplish project goals.
6. Face-to-face meetings are deemed the most efficient and effective format for project success.
7. A final working product is the ultimate measure of success.
8. Sustainable development is accomplished through agile processes whereby development teams and stakeholders are able to maintain a constant and ongoing pace.
9. Agility is enhanced through a continuous focus on technical excellence and proper design.
10. Simplicity is an essential element.
11. Self-organizing teams are most likely to develop the best architectures and designs and to meet requirements.
12. Regular intervals are used by teams to improve efficiency through fine-tuning behaviors.
Agile Project Management
Organizations often make investment to develop and improve their project management system. PERT, Earned Value, Critical Path and Critical Chain are some of the most popular techniques used along with project management systems. However, just using these techniques are not enough to bring success considering the todays projects.
It is certain that, if an organization cannot quickly respond to market needs, that need will be fulfilled by another organization. Therefore organizations must understand and appreciate these business requirements and adapt their processes quickly.
Agility can be defined as the the ability to quickly respond to changing business needs. It is associated with driving something forward and having an adaptable character. Unlike traditional project management methodologies, agile deals with continuous change throughout the life cycle of a project.
Note that using agile principles does not mean replacing your current processes completely. Agile is a new approach which provides solutions to the current problems. You modify the traditional project management system to meet the agile needs of the project.
Agile project management includes six principles;
- Close interaction between the customer
- Less time dedicated to planning at beginning of the project
- Smaller teams, more highly skilled team members
- Delayed decision making
- Adaptive leadership
- Elimination of Waste
Benefits of Agile Project Management Methodology
The Agile recommends principles for developers to create high-quality softwares and products in an iterative and faster manner. It improves the software development process rapidly by identifying and eliminating defects.
Below are some benefits of agile.
• Increases litheness
• Increases productivity
• Increases efficiency
• Increases the quality of the product or service
• Increases customer collaboration and satisfaction
Drawbacks of Agile Project Management Methodology
It is important to identify the best methodology considering the nature and the scope of the project. The Agile may not be suitable if the scope is unclear, the project management team is inexperienced and the requirements of the customer is uncertain. It is hard to implement this methodology to traditional organizations because of their high amount of flexibility and rigidity. Therefore adopting agile practices is difficult for this type of organizations.
Traditional project management techniques can still provide solutions to projects with well defined scope and proper estimates (time and cost) like construction projects. However, most of the industry projects involve high degrees of unknowns and uncertainties.
Although the Agile was first introduced and improved by software developers, it is widely used by many industries because of it’s collaborative and efficient nature. The agile provides many benefits including optimized development systems, increased flexibility and reduced waste. Other project management methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Scrumban, Extreme Programming can be used in conjunction with Agile.
Note that todays challenging business environment forces project managers to be agile. Therefore project managers need to be able to plan and execute projects with flexibility and quickly. If you want to build a career in the field of project management, you should recognize the principles of agile.