Guide to Agile Project Management

By
Frankie Wallace avatar
on April 11#best-practices
Projects

Top-quality products are usually the result of excellent project management. From ideation to the final product and beyond, when a project is managed carefully and intentionally at each stage, there’s a better chance of the end product exceeding expectations. 

However, not all project management methodologies are created equal. Nor is there one right answer for which to adopt to get the best out of your team and deliver the best products to your customers. Still, you must choose wisely. 

Agile project management, in particular, is incredibly productive for teams that value flexibility, adaptability, and change. Additionally, this methodology encourages open communication, honest collaboration, and meaningful engagement throughout the life of a project. 

That said, adopting agile project management so that it’s most effective on your team requires quite a bit of strategy, commitment, and patience. But if done right, it can help you churn out high-quality, customer-centric products that align with company goals. 

Before offering guidance on how to get your team to adopt agile project management, here’s a general overview of agile project management, its benefits, and how it helps create a better final product. 

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management is defined as “an incremental and evolving approach to software development that adapts well to the changes that occur throughout the life of the project. Agile is a communicative approach that welcomes feedback from end-users and encourages changing requirements as needed.”

The agile project methodology helps teams take their large projects and break them down into manageable tasks. Then, as those tasks are completed, the result is an end product that simultaneously honors customer needs and company goals. 

In other project management frameworks, teams don’t make frequent changes throughout the process. Also, teams aren’t usually equipped to collaborate effectively across departments to work on various product versions until the final one is complete. But with agile project management, making changes throughout the life of a project is a massive part of its foundation. 

The core of the agile project methodology is the Agile Manifesto. It’s guided by the Agile Manifesto’s four core values and 12 principles. The four core values are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation 

  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 

  4. Responding to change over following a plan 

The Agile Manifesto’s 12 principles are essentially: 

  1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of valuable software is top priority.

  2. Change is encouraged, even late in development. 

  3. Frequent project delivery on a quicker timetable.

  4. Teams across departments and roles must collaborate effectively every day throughout the project.

  5. Motivate, trust, and support all team members adequately to see projects to fruition.

  6. Face-to-face conversation is the most effective communication method among teams.

  7. The final product indicates how well a project progressed.

  8. Agile processes are rooted in sustainable development and consistent pace.

  9. Technical excellence and solid design make for better agility.

  10. Simplicity is fundamental.

  11. Self-organizing teams are the key to a seamless workflow and high-quality end product.

  12. Reflect regularly and adjust team behaviors for maximum efficiency.

Also, although teams may add or take away some depending on their structure, there are usually six phases of the agile project management framework: 

  1. Analyze project requirements 

  2. Plan project execution 

  3. Design software 

  4. Develop final iteration and conduct quality assurance testing 

  5. Continue testing, troubleshooting, and adjusting in the production process

  6. Deliver final product to customers and execute end-of-project tasks 

With an understanding of agile project management, let's look at some of its benefits for teams. 

What Are the Benefits of Agile Project Management for Teams?

When multiple teams are working on one project, it’s easy for data silos to become more apparent. Also, in a high-pressure gig like software development, developers often see failed projects as a ding to their reputation and a hindrance to their future success. 

As a result, things like fear of failure in the decision-making process creep up on them, and they get in the habit of presenting results and data as always improving or positive. But not being honest about how a project is going only hurts the analysis, development, and design processes. 

Fortunately, agile project methodology allows for more consistent collaboration between all parties involved in a project, like developers, designers, stakeholders, and customers. This means better communication throughout the life of a project and increased productivity. 

Furthermore, it often creates a better final product when agile project management is done right. Instead of working on one version of a product until it’s final, you’re able to work on many different iterations of a product. These continuous updates are powered by the use of sprints. Sprints are short, time-boxed periods a development team works within to complete a particular set of tasks. You can make adjustments after each sprint to ensure you’re in alignment with company goals and customer needs. 

Agile project management is all about pivoting a project at any time to take it in a more successful direction, based on the feedback you collect from your internal teams and stakeholders, and your customers. 

Sourcing data from customer reviews fuels agile project management. When developers use online reviews and other forms of customer feedback, they learn what’s missing from the user experience and create products that perform better. 

Think agile project management is a good fit for your team? Read on for guidance on how to adopt this project management style effectively. 

Conclusion: Implement Agile Project Management in Your Team 

Agile project management isn’t for every team. But it’s worth trying out if your team is struggling to work together and produce top-notch products in a quick turnaround time. You can put together an agile methodology that fits your unique team by first understanding the basics discussed in this article. 

Next, there are many project management tools out there that allow a team to create a seamless workflow, manage all details of a project with ease, and give you insight into your teams’ productivity. Be sure you do ample research before choosing which tools are most suitable for your team.

Then, establish transition steps. This means establishing how your team will transition from your current project management methodology to this one. Once you’ve fully transitioned to agile project management, monitor your team’s productivity and document how the methodology evolves on your team. 

Starting with these steps will help you determine if agile project management is right for your team and ease the complexities that come with adopting it. 

This article is a guest blog written by Frankie Wallace.

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