There are different approaches to project management. One of the strategies is called agile project management. As one may conclude, agile methodology concentrates on improvement which is achieved via short cycles of development. Agile methodology is realized through 12 steps which form the core of the approach.
12 Principles of Agile Methodology – How to Stay Agile?
- Regular breaks after each cycle help teams to be more effective;
- Change of surrounding is relevant for a customer and is regarded as a competitive advantage;
- Teams that are given the privilege of self-organization create better designs and architectures;
- The main priority of any business is the satisfaction of a customer, and this requires continuous development;
- Products and services should be delivered rapidly and with higher frequency;
- Working product developed by a team is the main criterion of success;
- Keeping things simple is highly advisable;
- Developers cooperate with shareholders;
- Shareholders and members of a team are motivated and strive to accomplish the desired result. Teams have everything necessary to do this. They are responsible for big project goals;
- Agile project management process implies sustainable development. It can be achieved when shareholders and developers keep permanent pace;
- Staying agile requires concentration on good design and technical precision;
- Face-to-face meetings are held on a daily basis as they enhance efficiency.
What is agile?
Agile is an approach when teams, shareholders, sponsors, managers, and leaders provide services to customers in the so-called “sprints.” Both developers and customers benefits from this type of project management. Here is the list of the main advantages:
- Quick solutions development;
- Frequent cooperation with a customer;
- Less waste due to the use of less resources;
- Customers’ needs are the core of the team’s work;
- Efficient control of the project;
- Flexibility and adjustability;
- Time of turnaround is quicker;
- Companies are more successful due to greater efforts of the team;
- Issues are dealt with quicker;
- All processes are optimized.
However, agile project management also has some disadvantages. It should not be applied aimlessly to any project whatsoever. Every situation requires thorough analysis and understanding of the most suitable method. There certain cases when agile can fail. Here is the list of probable reasons:
- Clients are not well aware of the goals;
- Developer team does not have sufficient experience;
- Developers cannot work in the conditions of lack of time;
- End user’s experience is often neglected within the framework of agile methodology;
- Traditional organizations need more time to get used to working in shorter cycles;
- Customers who are rigid and do not favor change may find getting used to agile quite difficult.
Let us have a closer look at the obstacles one may face when implementing agile project management scheme. To do this, let us first address the question of what is project management. Project management is an approach taken to create a unique service of the product. This identifies the main goal of agile project management – to obtain an end product. On the way to reaching it, companies have to deal with a number of hurdles.
- An organization does not really support agile. Very often it is not about the team – its members are ready, but top managers and executives cannot be efficient;
- Failing to understand overall business objectives. It is another hurdle that can cause agile to fail no matter if the developers have all necessary project management skills. It is very common when there is lack of vision when it comes to sustainable development;
- It is difficult for a team to accept “sprints” and testing cycles are rushed. When the only thing one focuses on is speed, quality suffers. Members of the team can neglect some vital aspects even if they have all required project management tools. Deficiencies can go unnoticed under the circumstances.
- Scope of agile project management skills is too narrow. Though agile is constantly developing, there is still a lack of talent.
What makes a good project manager?
To answer this question, let us have a look at some real-life examples of successful agile project management implementation. One of the best success stories is the “create your own meal” trend. How does it work? You come to a restaurant or a café, and as a client, you become a co-creator and a participant of your meal’s preparation. A waiter or a waitress will ask you some questions – would you like more cheese? Any pepper? How about salt? The end result will definitely impress you – it is much more difficult to dislike something you helped create. This meal is the result of cooperation. A good project manager will lead you through the process smoothly.
Another good example is the Apple genius bar. How does it help illustrate agile project management? When something has gone wrong and you come to fix your IPhone or IPad, you are not offered to fill out any application forms. Instead, a project manager will make notes for you. Isn’t it great? It is all about interaction. In the digital era we all live in, it is hardly possible to underestimate the importance of human interaction.
What does the future of agile look like?
The competition is tough, and things will only get tougher. At the same time, the marketplace is constantly shrinking. Agile methodology has some drawbacks. However, its advantages outweigh it. Organizations try to build their presence in the digital world. This makes them vulnerable in a way – they depend on speed, rely on flexibility. It will make agile as popular as never before.
Agile project management can be applied in various industries and niches. It will bring about enhanced productivity and efficiency. It will become an indispensable element of the digital working place. So, if you are still considering the necessity of implementing agile, stop hesitating. Just give it a try. Sure, its success does depend on the industry you work in. But if you are an IT specialist, you should most certainly take a shot with an agile methodology.