Agile Project Management (APM) is an iterative approach to project management in which you break large project tasks into smaller sections. These tasks are then completed in small iterations or sprints. In this way it becomes more manageable. It helps your team to adapt changes quickly and deliver work fast. It if often misconstrued that Agile Projects don’t require a Project Plan!! They do. Today we share 2 Priceless – Templates for Your Next Agile Project in 2020
What is it really?
As the name suggests, Agile Project Management allows teams to train in such a way that they quickly adapt to changes. Different software houses are aware of the pace in which changes occur in a project development. The Agile Methodology allows teams to re-evaluate their work and mould it according to the needs and demands of customer.
If you’re new to the Agile project management, it might look at first like a complex and difficult-to-manage system. You are already doing many of the things Agile requires. With a few tweaks, you’ll be on your way to shorter development cycles and smaller, more frequent product releases.
The 4 Pillars of Agile Methodology
Basically, Agile methodology is composed of 4 key pillars and 12 principles to organize the projects.
The 4 pillars of agile methodology are as follows:
1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Despite the fact that technology is enhancing, the human element will always serve as an important role in any kind of project management. Relying too heavily on processes and tools results in an inability to adapt to changing circumstances.
2) Working software over comprehensive documentation
Development of software is more crucial then documentation. This value is all about giving the developers exactly what they need to get the job done, without overloading them.
3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Your customers are one of your most powerful assets. Whether internal or external customers, involving them throughout the process can help to ensure that the end product meets their needs more effectively.
4) Responding to change over following a plan
This value is one of the biggest departures from traditional project management. Historically, change was seen as an expense, and one to be avoided. Agile allows for continuous change throughout the life of any given project. Each sprint provides an opportunity for review and course correction.
What are the 12 Agile Principles?
1) Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
The first principle of Agile methodology states that customers should receive project deliverables or iterations across regular intervals throughout the life of your project, rather than just one product delivery at the end.
2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
One of the issues the Manifesto authors found with traditional project management is that it was difficult to accommodate last-minute change requests from the customer. This principle ensures that Agile projects have the ability to adapt to any changes, no matter how late in the game, with minimal delay.
3) Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with preference for the shorter timescale.
Agile projects plan for frequent, short project timelines that allow for a fast turnaround of workable products. Often, Agile projects will be broken into 1 to 4 week-long sprints or project intervals, each one ending in a product delivery.
4) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
This Agile principle states that regular communication with all stakeholders is critical to the project’s success. Commonly, this involves a short daily meeting with both the project team and any other key stakeholders.
5) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
A key concept of the Agile project management methodology is that the right people need to be placed in the right positions and given the autonomy required to do their jobs well. It’s important to design a project team based on capabilities rather than job positions or titles within the company. The focus of the project manager should be on motivating the project team and supporting them, rather than micromanaging them.
6) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
The creators of the Agile Manifesto strongly believe in the importance of co-locating teams and stakeholders whenever possible, as face-to-face communication is more effective than other options, such as email or phone. If your team cannot be co-located, video conferencing is an option that can still capture some of the same value, such as non-verbal cues.
7) Working software is the primary measure of progress.
The emphasis within the Agile methodology is on providing completed, working deliverables. This should always take priority over any supplementary requirements, such as project documentation. Also, other metrics, such as hours spent or time elapsed, are not considered as important as delivering working products.
8) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
According to this principle, Agile projects should have a consistent pace for each iterative cycle or sprint within the project. This breakdown should eliminate the need for overtime or crashing schedules while promoting frequent output of workable products. It should also create a repeatable cycle that the team can continuously follow for as long as necessary.
9) Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
A primary focus of an Agile project should be on improving the end product and achieving advancements consistently over time. In other words, each iteration should always be an improvement over the previous one, and the team should always be looking for new innovations.
10) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
The goal of an Agile project is to get just enough done to successfully complete the requested project and meet the requested specifications. Any additional documentation, steps, processes, or work that does not add value to the customer, or enhance the project outputs, should be avoided or eliminated.
11) The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
Agile is based on the belief that motivated, autonomous, and skilled teams are required in order to deliver the best results and products. Teams should be empowered to organize and structure themselves as needed. They should have the freedom to collaborate and innovate as they see fit, without being hampered by too much oversight.
12) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.
A successful, self-motivated team requires a strong focus on how they can advance their skills and processes to continually grow and improve. The team should have regular reviews on their performance and outcomes, including discussion on how they can improve as they move forward.
Key Roles in any Agile Team
Agile project management was developed as an alternative to regular project management. This methodology is useful because its breakdowns a project into several sub-parts. It becomes easy, more understandable and developed quickly. The two main styles of Agile project management are:
There are few defining characteristics of agile project management.
- Daily stand-up – A daily meeting in which contributors and managers discuss what work was done yesterday, what they’re working on today, and any questions that come up.
- Sprints – Short spans in which products are planned, developed, reviewed, and released. They are projects within the projects.
- Regular reviews and retrospectives – An Agile team manages itself, but there are built-in measures to make sure work is being delivered at a consistent quality. Peer review and reviews by managers occur before tasks get completed and after the sprint is over.
A Scrum team is small, lean, and results-driven. The ideal Scrum team is 5-6 people. An Agile team working in Scrum has four roles:
1) SCRUM MASTER
The Scrum Master ensures that every iteration or sprint is going in a flow. He helps to resolve any issue or challenges. They are the team’s advocate.
2) PROJECT OWNER
Project owner defines the goals of each sprint, manage and prioritize the team backlog, and be the voice of the customer or internal stakeholder.
3) TEAM MEMBERS
There are 3 to 7 team members who execute the work in each phase or sprint. Each team member is specialized in some technical area.
This is an informational role only. The stakeholders should be kept up-to-date on the product and sprint goals, have the opportunity to review and approve work during a sprint, and provide feedback during the sprint retrospective.
Skills an Agile Team should have
Every Agile Methodology has such team members who are able to perform specific tasks. There are few universal characteristics that most Agile teams should have.
A good agile team member has wide range of knowledge about his subject but also deep knowledge and experience of one or more other specific area.
If they have a diverse skill set, they know how to use it. No matter the environment, their output remains consistent.
They are always curious to learn new technology and knowledge area. Part of optimizing and becoming more efficient is asking the right questions and challenging the way things have always been when it’s appropriate.
Agile team member is one that doesn’t wait to be told what to do. They’re ready to fill in and develop campaigns where they see a need.
They work as a team. Success of one team member is considered as a success of whole team. Members prioritize the success of team over individual success.
7) Committed to Work Efficiently:
One of the key benefits of Agile projects is delivering quality work, faster. Team members who are committed to excellence don’t settle for average. They’re not hung up on perfection, but they’re dedicated to always producing their best work.
COMPARISON OF AGILE METHODOLOGY WITH OTHER METHODOLIGIES
AGILE VS. SCRUM
- Agile is a continuous iteration of development and testing in the software development process whereas Scrum is an Agile process to focus on delivering the business value in the shortest time.
- Agile methodology delivers the software on a regular basis for feedback while Scrum delivers the software after each sprint.
- In the Agile process, leadership plays a vital role; on the other hand, Scrum fosters a self-organizing, cross-functional team.
- Agile involves collaborations and face-to-face interactions between the members of various cross-functional teams whereas Scrum collaboration is achieved in daily stand up meetings.
- In Agile process design and execution should be kept simple whereas in Scrum process design and execution can be innovative and experimental.
AGILE VS. WATERFALL
- Agile is a continuous iteration of development and testing in the software development process whereas Waterfall is a Liner Sequential Life Cycle Model.
- Agile methodology is known for its flexibility whereas Waterfall is a structured software development methodology.
- Agile follows an incremental approach whereas the Waterfall methodology is a sequential design process.
- Agile performs testing concurrently with software development whereas in Waterfall methodology testing comes after the “Build” phase.
- Agile allows changes in project development requirement whereas Waterfall has no scope of changing the requirements once the project development starts.
AGILE VS. KANBAN
- Agile methodology is a practice which promotes continuous iteration of development and testing throughout SDLC life-cycle whereas Kanban is a Board, which is called Kanban Board.
- The goal of the Agile method is to satisfy the customer by offering continuous delivery of software whereas Kanban process visualizes the workflow which is easy to learn and understand.
- In the agile method, breaking the entire project into smaller segments helps the scrum team to focus on high-quality development, testing, and collaboration. On the other hand, In Kanban method, shorter cycle times can deliver features faster. On the other hand,
- In Agile methodologies, Sprint planning can consume the team for an entire day whereas Kanban scrum needs very less organization set-up changes to get started.
BENEFITS OF AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
There are several benefits of Agile Project Management such as
- Any project that advances after some time or doesn’t have clear scope and requirements toward the start.
- Organizations that work in a quick evolving condition, for example, innovation.
- Organizations that need to work intimately with their clients and other outer gatherings for the duration of the life of the project.
- Organizations that emphasizes procedure and product improvement and are continually hoping to advance.
- Projects that have a ton of associated tasks, where the team needs to work intently together and every now and again communicate to guarantee achievement.
- Organizations that need to make a model before building the last project result.
- Projects that require fast input from stakeholders about every item cycle before proceeding onward to the following adaptation or draft.
Agile delivery is the reason why Agile has proven to be more successful than traditional process models. Since traditional models used to set a rather rigid and concrete target before delivering the solution, the solution was easily categorized as a failure not being able to meet the expectations. On contrary, Agile treats the client feedback as a learning opportunity and reiterates to make the product better. Therefore, failure is not as easy to achieve in Agile delivery as in plan-based models. As long as you are progressing and improving, you have an ace up your sleeve.