What is Agile Project Management?

Learn more about the agile management philosophy and how it can help you achieve your project goals on time and on budget.

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Organizational development teams are expected to manage a wide variety of activities and processes throughout the project development lifecycle. Members must continually make reviews and incorporate feedback into their operations to develop and implement a project that meets proposed goals and meets customer demands.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

That said, project management can be very difficult to manage, which is why many teams use agile project management as an iterative technique for project development.

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What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management describes the approach to organizing and executing the delivery of a project throughout its life cycle. The non-linear management system divides projects into more manageable tasks that can be easily executed and adapted as needed throughout the project lifecycle.

In addition to enabling teams to easily complete tasks in smaller segments, the agile project management methodology simplifies the process of applying feedback and reviewing. Being a non-linear system, teams can adapt their operations to meet changes in consumer demand and desired project outcomes.

Another key aspect of agile project management is collaboration. For teams to successfully carry out separate tasks and continue to review their processes to improve project output, team members must be able to communicate through each stage of the project lifecycle. In this way, teams can take an informed approach to managing and adapting each area of ​​their projects.

Advantages of agile project management

Applying an agile methodology to project management can provide various benefits to development teams that support project success.

Faster project completion and delivery

An agile project management system allows development teams to implement work processes that reduce the lead times required to deliver finished projects. By establishing clearly defined tasks and appropriately distributed goals, teams can avoid confusion and wasted time. Splitting projects into smaller tasks also allows teams to perform incremental delivery of multiple projects faster.

Better team work

Teamwork and collaboration are necessary components of agile project management, especially as teams must review their processes to accommodate changes in project scopes. Project managers maintain communication with clients and stakeholders to get feedback which they then share with their teams to implement process reviews. This collaborative aspect of agile project management requires effective communication and can encourage the improvement of teamwork skills.

More flexibility to make changes

Agile project management divides project development processes into smaller tasks that can be performed independently of each other. This makes it easier for teams to make changes to specific parts of a project’s lifecycle as needed. Additionally, the non-linear aspect of the methodology means that the appropriate people can make operational changes that would not require the entire team to stop working on other projects.

Better risk analysis and management

Another essential aspect of agile project management is risk analysis. By running development processes in segments, team members can more easily identify risks within their development lifecycle stages and quickly address any issues. Additionally, the collaborative nature of this management structure gives developers greater visibility into project development, allowing them to quickly detect potential obstacles. This risk management process gives their projects a greater chance of success.

Greater efficiency

Teams using agile project management leverage each member based on their skills and specialties. Therefore, members increase the overall efficiency of the team by applying their efforts and strengths to the activities for which they are best equipped. This project management approach gives project managers greater control over the project development cycle, making it easier to respond to necessary changes and refine their processes for faster project delivery.

Agile vs. Scrum Project Management

Although the agile project management philosophy and Scrum project management methodology each support teams in project development, they are different. While agile is a general approach to project management, Scrum is one of several agile methodologies used to manage project lifecycles.

Scrum describes a specific method used in implementing project management. This subset of the agile methodology represents a more refined project management process, while still following the general principles of agile project management. The Scrum framework divides projects into shorter delivery cycles called smaller sprints and deliverables.

Another unique feature of Scrum is that it identifies specific roles for certain team members, such as the Scrum Master. While on the other hand, agile project management does not require distinctions for particular members and usually assigns tasks based on separate groups of individuals.

Examples of agile project management

Agile project management can be implemented in several ways. Below are some popular examples of agile project management that development teams use to produce and deliver their projects.

Kanban

Kanban is a project management framework that provides real-time collaboration and transparency in every area of ​​the project development lifecycle. Development teams use kanban boards to visually represent and track their workflows, allowing all team members to easily keep abreast of project progress. Through this method, teams can focus on improving workflow, identifying and resolving workflow bottlenecks, and limiting obstacles that could delay project delivery.

Adaptive software development

This development framework relies on constant communication and collaboration with customers and stakeholders to support continuous learning throughout the project lifecycle. Rather than following rigid plans and processes, Adaptive Software Development encourages teams to adapt their strategies to account for rapid adaptation situations that occur during project development. The stages of adaptive software development are mirroring, collaborating and learning. In carrying out these steps, developers improve their understanding of the software.

Feature-based development

Feature-Based Development is a feature-centric, customer-centric project management framework. It is ideal for developing long-lasting projects that are designed and built around the features customers desire most. Development teams using this framework should consider factors such as the time it takes to develop each feature, the technical dependencies between features, and the risks involved in delivering each feature. Additionally, feature-based development relies heavily on keeping development documentation up-to-date for future use.

Extreme programming

Extreme programming methodology focuses on improving software technology and rapidly developing high quality projects with frequent releases and revisions. Teams run multiple short project development cycles to reduce the cost of requirement changes. The framework relies on practices such as code review, code testing, integration testing, and using feedback, which enable developers to quickly detect and resolve errors to deliver high-value software to customers.

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