Agile Project Management | Methodology, Manifesto & Benefits - Ajackus

Agile Project Management | Methodology, Manifesto & Benefits

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Siddhesh Patankar

Dec 06, 2021·7 mins read

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    Agile, a buzzword in the corporate world, is used along with the same ranking words like synergy, out-of-the-box, and disruptive. Executives around the globe are using it in their day-to-day communication.

    However, now it has become a ‘Who is more agile than whom?’ race. A business can be ‘disruptive’ or ‘innovative’ with out-of-the-box thinking. But to be Agile, knowing what it exactly means is necessary. Agile is not just the word; it’s a methodology, so, don’t misuse it!

    Today, over 70% of organizations and developers use agile methodology, and such projects are 28% more successful than traditional ones. If your business isn’t using this methodology, you might be holding the growth back.

    Here is a brief view of what agile means and how it benefits your business.

    What is agile project management?

    Agile project management is a cyclical method for executing a project over its entire life cycle. It involves multiple iterations or incremental steps toward project completion, commonly employed in software development to enhance adaptability and velocity.

    The key advantage of iteration is the ability to make adjustments during the process rather than adhering to a linear path. An agile approach aims to deliver benefits continuously throughout the project, emphasizing core values such as trust, flexibility, empowerment, and collaboration.

    The Agile Methodology

    When we dig into the agile methodology, we talk about the tested & proven method of project management and software development, which is iterative and incremental. The methodology aims to help teams in an ever-changing environment while remaining focused on delivering business value expediently.

    Scrum, XP, Kanban, and other flavors all adhere to the agile manifesto, emphasizing continuous improvement, flexibility, team input, and high-quality results delivery.

    The Agile Manifesto

    About twenty years ago, in Snowbird, Utah, 17 software developers gathered to propose a new way of developing software: “by doing it and helping others do it.” The signers of this manifesto realized how much these principles would help them in software development due to their work, but they had no idea how quickly their ideas would spread outside of their industry.

    The manifesto’s creators listed the following values as the most important:

    • Individuals and Interactions are more important than Processes and Tools.
    • Values technology-based platform than being dependent on traditional comprehensive documentation
    • Client involvement is needed rather than focusing on contract negotiation.
    • Being flexible for changes and then being stuck with plans.

    Traditional project management vs. Agile project management

    Distinguishing itself from traditional project management, known as waterfall, agile project management exhibits several contrasts. Unlike the rigid, linear approach of waterfall, agile’s emphasis on iterative development allows for adaptability throughout the project.

    Additionally, agile’s sprint methodology diverges from the distinct phases of traditional project management, promoting continuous collaboration with stakeholders and aligning deliverables with end-user needs.

    In contrast to the siloed roles in waterfall, agile project management adopts a cross-functional approach, where team members often assume multiple roles. While agile values documentation, it doesn’t prioritize it as heavily as traditional project management, which tends to assemble detailed documentation in advance.

    Compared to traditional project management, agile offers various project-specific benefits, including swifter solution deployment, minimized resource waste, heightened flexibility, increased success through focused efforts, faster turnaround times, quicker issue detection, optimized development processes, a lighter framework, enhanced project control, and a heightened focus on specific customer needs.

    The increased frequency of collaboration and feedback is also a notable feature of agile project management.

    Benefits of Agile Project Management

    So, let’s explore a few benefits of Agile Project Management:

    Excellent product quality

    The agile development cycle integrates testing. It means that there are regular check-ups to ensure that the product is working during development. This allows the product owner to make changes as needed, while also notifying the team of any issues. Each release is rigorously tested in order to ensure software quality.

    Higher customer satisfaction

    In the agile project management methodology, there is an involvement of the product owner. Here, development progress is highly visible with the flexibility to modify. This implies customer satisfaction and engagement.

    With each release, businesses can bring products to market faster and more frequently. During the product’s life cycle, clients have early access to the product. This all collectively results in higher customer satisfaction.

    Increased project control

    Agile project management allows managers to have better control over the project due to its transparency, feedback integration, and quality control features. Quality is ensured throughout the implementation phase of the project, and all stakeholders are involved in the process with daily progress reports using advanced reporting tools and techniques.

    Reduced Risks

    Such methodologies virtually eliminate the possibility of a project failing. Having a working product from the first sprint onwards ensures that no agile project management fails. Sprint development ensures a short time between project investment and either failing quickly or knowing that a product or approach will work.

    With valuable feedback, you can reduce project failures early in the project. This enables developers to have headroom for amendments.

    Faster ROI

    Because agile development is iterative, features are delivered incrementally, allowing for early benefits to be realized while the product is being developed. The team understands what’s most important to the client’s business and can deliver features in an even more valuable order by allowing the client to determine feature priority.

    In short, this methodology assumes that the user is the most integral part of the development of a product. It means that the work begins with the identification of the target audience and their demands.

    Moreover, companies that would like to start taking the agile path should capture user/customer feedback as it is the only way to learn what their customers really want.

    Agile work focuses on collaboration. Members collaborate and discuss all moves so everyone is aware of what is happening. Most importantly, agile is a flexible approach that helps you make changes and introduce innovations.

    Enhanced Project Predictability

    Greater project visibility in the Agile framework facilitates the identification and prediction of risks, leading to more effective mitigation plans. Agile project management methodologies, such as Scrum, leverage tools like sprint backlogs and burndown charts to enhance project visibility, enabling managers to predict performance and plan accordingly.

    Heightened Flexibility

    True implementation of agile project management empowers project teams with unparalleled flexibility. Agile’s small, manageable sprints, coupled with constant feedback from the product owner, allow for swift and cost-effective changes.

    This flexibility is a key reason why dynamic organizations prefer Agile, contrasting with other project management methodologies where changes are often time-consuming and costly.

    Continuous Improvement

    Embracing self-reflection and continuous improvement is a core principle of the Agile Manifesto. The iterative nature of Agile methodologies ensures that each sprint builds upon the last, avoiding the repetition of previous mistakes.

    Agile fosters a culture of open idea exchange and collaboration, enabling team members to learn from shared experiences and progress together.

    Enhanced Team Morale

    Agile’s self-organized and self-managing teams experience increased autonomy and decision-making authority, shielded from interference by sponsors and management. The cross-functional nature of Agile teams promotes learning new project management skills and personal growth. Frequent discussions within the close-knit team environment foster collaboration, contributing to flexible team structures.

    Relevant Metrics

    Agile teams utilize metrics for estimating time and cost, measuring project performance with greater accuracy and relevance compared to traditional methodologies. Agile focuses on producing results and optimizing performance, whereas Waterfall metrics primarily track how closely the project adheres to estimated cost and time. Also, Agile provides essential metrics like lead time, cycle time, and throughput, aiding in measuring team performance, identifying bottlenecks, and making data-driven decisions for corrective actions.

    Organizational Hurdles to Adopting Agile Project Management

    Adopting agile project management within organizations may have various common challenges, including:

    • Company structure or culture that does not adequately support agile: Although project teams may be ready for agile development, the rest of the company may not be on board. Sponsors, executives, and functional leaders must also buy into and support Agile for it to be truly effective.
    • Unclear understanding of the impact on the overall business goals: Simply executing projects using agile methodology isn’t enough to reap the desired benefits. Projects can still be executed in ways that don’t provide the entire business with the results that help achieve sustainable growth. Strategic alignment is still critical.
    • Rushed testing cycles: Sprints can create a risk of rushed testing cycles. In the process of trying to get through sprints as quickly as possible, teams can become more focused on the timeline and miss simple aspects of the testing cycle, which can have potentially significant repercussions. Defects can go undetected or are detected too late.
    • Limited agile skill: Although agile project management is rapidly taking root, top agile talent can be hard to find and attract. Limited agile talent means limited benefits for companies wanting to execute projects using this methodology.

    Overcoming these hurdles is key to successful agile adoption, enabling organizations to embrace collaboration, align strategically, and achieve sustained agile project management success.

    Popular agile project management frameworks

    Within agile, popular methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean, with each offering unique approaches to project management and delivery.

    • Scrum: An iterative framework that emphasizes collaboration and flexibility.
    • Kanban: A visual approach focusing on continuous delivery and workflow optimization.
    • Lean (LN): A methodology derived from manufacturing, aiming for efficiency and waste reduction.
    • Dynamic System Development Model (DSDM): An iterative and incremental approach with a focus on user involvement.
    • Extreme Programming (XP): Emphasizes software development practices like pair programming and continuous feedback.
    • Crystal: A family of methodologies with a focus on frequent delivery and team collaboration.
    • Adaptive Software Development (ASD): Emphasizes collaboration and adaptation to changing circumstances.
    • Agile Unified Process (AUP): A simplified version of the Rational Unified Process with an agile mindset.
    • Crystal Clear: A lightweight, adaptable methodology with an emphasis on simplicity and collaboration.
    • Disciplined Agile Delivery: A hybrid framework incorporating various agile practices and strategies.
    • Feature-driven Development (FDD): Focuses on feature-centric development and iterative releases.
    • Scrumban: A combination of Scrum and Kanban, blending their features for flexibility.
    • Rapid Application Development (RAD): Emphasizes quick development and iteration for rapid results.

    At Ajackus, we help you with diverse agile methodologies to enhance project success and adaptability, finding the right approach that aligns with your team’s unique needs and goals.

    Conclusion: The Agile Way

    The Agile framework is a potent tool benefiting managers, team members, and clients alike. Its advantages range from enhancing product quality to fostering the professional development of team members. Agile is instrumental in overcoming excessive costs and scope creep, ensuring efficient project management.

    At Ajackus, we are on a mission to enable businesses to build agile and accountable technology teams that can deliver results in a secure and scalable way.

    Want to build remote teams for agile project management? Let’s talk.

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