Everything You Need To Know About Agile Project Management

Everything you need to know about agile project management

» What is agile project management?

Agile project management is mainly an iterative approach to deliver a project. The agile project management definition implies a short and iterative approach throughout the lifecycle than doing the whole program in one go. The entire project is completed by several sprints or short cycles that last from one week to two months. Agile project management is proven to build customer trust, productivity, adjustability, and serves as a new-age solution for several industries.

» What is the history of Agile?

The history of agile project management is comparatively new. The IT firms first opted for this method, later automobiles, the marketing industry, military, and even some Universities are using it.

When did agile start? Though the idea of a constant improvement method was proposed in the late 1990s when the IT industry faced stagnation and was taking too long for a project, it was implemented commercially in 2001. The history of agile methodology started with the creation of the "Manifesto of Agile Software Development" signed by representatives of the experts of SCRVM, Dynamic software development method (DSDM), Kanban, Adaptive software development (ADM), Pragmatic programming, feature-driven development (FDD), Crystal, SRVM and other domains.

» What are the core values of agile?

There were 4 values of the agile manifesto stated in 2001. To date, the same four core values of the agile methodology applied to the industries. The extreme adaptability and productivity of these are an asset of this technique. Here are the 4 agile values explained:

Attention to the liberty of the individuals and establishing a strong interaction among them, extreme dependency on the project management tools and software. That brings out the human side of a project.

Having a working software and focusing on its development rather than having a pre-planned document that states every boundary to be maintained. Thus this method is more suitable to adapt to the changing economy and customer interest.

Emphasizing customer collaboration over contract negotiation with them. Involving the customers more into the process leads to clarity and customer satisfaction.

Review the progress from time to time and adapt to a different method when needed rather than having a pre-planned structure throughout the process. These feedback loops give the chance to rectify and modify the project accordingly.

» What are the basic principles of agile project management?

The agile project management system bases on several principles that let the project keep on track and boost velocity and productivity. These agile project management principles are in use whenever planning the entire project or a small sprint. These are helpful for this flexible and thus ambiguous method to bring us a fulfilling end product.

Here are the 12 key principles of agile project management:

Involve the customers into the process and satisfy them with the continuous small steps to retain their trust and attention.

Changing the requirements of the project as the target audience and economic situation changes to give the customers what will be the most needed for them.

Changing the focus to a shorter timeline and deliver some changes in the product instead of implementing them at the same time.

Strengthening teamwork by co-ordinating the members well with regular meetings and equal division of work.

Motivate and support individuals to give out their best and valuing their contribution and opinions into the process.

Having proper face-to-face interaction for increased clarity instead of sending out a mail.

Continuous progress of the project by maintaining the same speed all the time.

Developing a sustainable project that can have significant changes continuously and maintain a rhythm of the work throughout the timeline.

Focusing on technical excellence and building a proper environment to encourage it.

Maintaining simplicity throughout the project at all the sprints, missions, and work distribution that leads to productivity.

Self-organization of the project- it implies greater adaptability and sustainability even for an unstable market.

Regular reflection on the outcome and effect of the work that helps to make the product more market-ready and user-friendly.

» Who uses Agile project management?

In this era of the internet, the world is more fast-changing than ever, and agile project management has been necessary to evolve and stay in the competitive market. Starting from IT firms, the method is now opted by several industries, militaries, and even in some Universities.
Here is a list of the kind of teams or companies who uses agile project management system.

Teams with the projects on fast-changing deliverables like the technological product, which are to bring new models in the market every few months and upgrade themselves from time to time.

Teams with a dynamic project, where the outcome is not static and can vary as time progress. These companies generally do not have any clear scope of work and evolve, so making shorter goals and iterations are necessary.

Teams that need to maintain a close relationship with the customers, stakeholders, or other external parties, include them in the process, and inform them about all the development stages of the work.

Teams that have to emphasize in the process and work on the gradual but small improvements. In these cases, taking a small step can be more beneficial in the long run than taking a giant leap.

Companies that have several independent tasks. They have to be careful while distributing the task, and all the team members must closely and frequently communicate with each other for the completion of the work.

Companies that need to build a prototype and work on perfecting it before making the actual products and send them to the market. Automobile industries lie in this category.

Companies that have to depend on customer feedback heavily. They can opt for several iterations in their project execution time than to build the product or service in one go.

» What are the roles of an agile team?

Agile roles and responsibilities generally are of 4 types, and all of those add up to a successful and adaptive project strategy. These 4 agile teams roles are:

› Project owners:

They are the team leader of a project. Project owners define vision before every sprint and divide the tasks equally, to manage the entire process and prioritize what to do. They are also the voice of the team and briefs the stakeholders about the progress from time to time.

› Scrum masters:

The scrum roles in agile is to be compared to that of an advisor. Whenever any problem arises, these scrum asters are to solve them by brainstorming the most suitable solution. They overview the sprint to ensure it stays on track.

› Team members:

These are the people who execute the work and bring results. A team generally has 3-7 members, and they can have a varied set of expertise, or they can be people of the same domain. They need frequent communication to collaborate and work during every sprint.

› Stakeholders:

Their roles are mostly informative. The project team keeps them up to date with the progress of the project and change in the product by holding meetings from time to time.

» What are the steps in Agile methodology?

Agile project management methodology has 6 steps in general. But as an iterative method, some of the steps are repeated in every sprint while some are static and done only once. These 6 steps are:

› Project planning:

This step of the agile process flow is done right after undertaking a project. They discuss the end product or service here. The goal, scope of work, and possibilities of changes are the main focus of this step.

› Clarify roadmaps:

This step is about the planning of the individual feature of each sprint. It is to ensure that the goal of each sprint aligns with the end goal, and the strategy to deal with a product backlog is also determined here.

› Release planning:

This step is about determining the output to be gained after the end of each sprint or shorter development cycle.

› The planning of the sprints:

This is an iterative step to be held before every sprint. This meeting defines the short term goal of the sprint, and the project owner divides the duty among each of the team members.

› The daily stand-up meetings:

It is the only step to be repeated every day. After every working day, a 15-minute meet-up takes place where the daily accomplishments are shared to strengthen the communication. This meeting is only for solving minor problems.

› Sprint review and retrospective:

The last of the agile project management steps are held with the stakeholders at the end of every sprint. It has two parts- The sprint review meeting shows the result of the product. And the sprint retrospective meeting discusses how much work could be accomplished and how much is left to do. Any issues about product backlog and need to change directions are also on the focus of these meetings.

» What are different agile methodologies?

Agile project development works with several different methodologies. Most of them have the same philosophy and even some characteristics, but they differ in terms of practice and tactics to follow. Here is the most used agile methodologies list:

Extreme programming (XP),
Adaptive development method (ADM),
Behavior-driven development (BDD),
Feature-driven development (FDD),
Dynamic software development method (DSDM),
Learn software development,
Agile Scrum methodology,
And ASD.

» What are the benefits of agile project management?

The benefits of the agile methodology are quickly observed and vast. That is why so many industries are opting for this. This method requires a culture shift, and that had to face some resistance at first, but when the company and the stakeholders perceived the results, they decided to stick to this method of agile. Here is the list of benefits of agile scrum:

The primary benefit of agile is, the effects of the project are observed before the end of the process. So the customers do not have to wait till the end product comes out.

The vision can fit the time and budget of the companies.

The business priorities of a company are most valued in this method.

The process includes reflecting, learning, and adjusting that brings a more dynamic approach to the project.

As this method does not follow a linear path, a sudden shift in the market can be tackled timely.

The possibility of a total failure of a product is less for the light feedback loop where a process is being tested and rejected early.

The customers and stakeholders get involved throughout the process, and they can state their opinion and demands directly.

The management considers the views of the team members, and they are bound to listen to their problems.

Short and frequent communication makes total collaboration easy, less time consuming, and more effective.

» Conclusion

The agile process flow is suitable for the ever-changing demand and market of this time. Implementing a change and change in the direction is easy to adapt. The emphasis on the process instead of the results also brings sustainability to the entire project.

No doubt, it is tough to shift the mindset of every employee to adapt to agile methodologies as it is complex and even difficult to manage. But once a company can get used to it and include this agile project management in a proper structure, the early benefits, the client retention and satisfaction, less chance of failure or market rejection are worth the challenge. The diversity and giving importance and empowerment to employees and people associated with the project is bound to bring a continuous evolution in the industries for decades to come.

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