Agile project management started life as a methodology for software development. It put forth the idea that interacting with staff and clients is more important than processes and tools. Agile project management also prioritizes collaboration over contract negotiation; and being adaptive is better than blindly following a plan.
Which just makes sense. And you can see why this approach has been taken from the world of software development and implemented across a variety of fields.
In a world where being able to adapt to change has become the norm, companies who are able to adopt agile project management are far more likely to be consistently successful.
Especially when it comes to working in environments where new data and insights can be obtained easily. Ignoring new information because of a plan made 2 or 3 weeks ago is not good for long-term success.
Previously, change was ignored because it was deemed expensive, these days with the right team members and software, it’s easy to incorporate it into any project.
The ability to adapt to what’s in front of you right now, can ensure a project is completed on time, to budget, and to maximum effect.
As a philosophy, agile is all about empowering people, how they interact with others, and the constant delivery of value.
It empowers employees, encourages diverse ideas, and creates accountability. Agile also encourages continuous improvement and the benefits being released early. It makes feedback loops possible, so that decisions can be tested and assessed early.
The feedback loop and other benefits may not be possible in traditional project management scenarios, where the project is managed in a strict linear fashion.
There are 4 core values present in agile project management. These core values can be implemented by following 12 guiding principles.
Agile project management’s 4 core values:
No matter how sophisticated technology becomes, humans will also be a vital part of project management. A company which relies too much on tools and processes may find themselves unable to adapt when situations and circumstances change.
Documentation is necessary, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Having team management software that allows everyone to do their job, and makes it easy to change and keep everyone in the loop, is far more beneficial to the overall outcome.
Too many businesses forget how important customers are. Indeed, they can be quite an important asset. By involving them during the project where necessary can help to make sure the end product is exactly what they are looking for.
This core value is the biggest difference. Traditional project management is all about sticking to the plan. In the traditional model, the need for change was seen as bad planning, and expensive. So, it was avoided as much as possible.
By adapting to an agile approach, it makes change as necessary as possible. With a project being broken into small sections for review and change in course if required.
The whole basis of agile project management is that it can be altered and modified to suit each team and project. What that said, there are 12 general principles that should act as the cornerstone of all agile project management decisions.
The 12 guiding principles are:
This needs to be the biggest priority. Customer satisfaction throughout the process of your project should be a main focus to ensure you meet their expectations and deliver on-time and to specifications.
A customer’s needs may change, even late into the project. By adapting the agile philosophy and processes, you can help improve the competitive advantage of the customer.
Delivering projects consistently—either weekly or monthly—is ideal. The shorter the timescale the better.
Team members need to be able to collaborate and coordinate together each day when working on a project.
When putting client projects together, you want the most motivated team members. You need to provide them with the support, and the work environment, they require to get the job done. Part of this means finding team members you trust enough to get the job done properly.
The most effective and efficient way of communication is face-to-face meetings. Especially, between different teams. If it’s not possible to do this in-person, then video conference calling is the obvious alternative.
Sounds kind of obvious, right? But the final product truly is the final measure of progress.
You’ll know if you’re following the agile philosophy because there will be sustainable development. Using this process, everyone should be capable of sustaining a consistent pace, for as long as this process is being followed.
Consistent attention to detail—to good design and technical excellence—increases agility.
The simplest solution is often the best. Reducing the amount of unnecessary work, and fine-tuning processes is essential.
You will find that teams that can organize themselves, and collaborate, will often produce the best quality of work.
Teams need to regularly reflect on what they are doing and if there is a more efficient way to do the work. Then they need to refine what they are doing accordingly.
Agile project management requires constant communication, easy-to-track milestones, and the ability to constantly assess, refine and adapt to new information.
All of which can be difficult when some—or all—of your team is working remotely. With team management software, communication is made easy.
As most of these software programs have their own internal messaging service. Keeping an open line of communication between everyone working on a project allows even those working remotely to stay in the loop and keep up to date with the project.
Not to mention the ability to comment on tasks in real time for those working on that task to see. This allows for team members working remotely to stay on track, and to make changes as necessary. Team managers can also set tasks so only certain team members can see them.
The advantage of this is it keeps others from being distracted, and allows each team member to focus on what they need to do.
Milestones ensure that certain parts of a project are completed before the team moves on. The advantage of this being important steps in a project’s completion aren’t missed.
With team management software you can set up projects so that tasks must be completed in a certain order. Of course, if it becomes necessary, this can be changed to suit new information.
With constant communication and easy-to-track milestones it makes assessing, refining and adapting simple.
Short face-to-face daily meetings allow everyone to stay up-to-date with what’s going on. Depending on the size of the team, you may want to give each member a minute or two to apprise the rest of the team what they’re working on and where they are.
Which helps to ensure everyone is on the right track and that the project is being completed correctly.
These brief meetings will also allow team managers to assess what’s going on. If necessary, they may refine what people are doing, or what tasks need to be worked on next to make sure everything is going according to plan.
Not that the team manager needs to do this during the meeting. The idea of the meeting is to be short, get an update, and then allow everyone to go back to work. Once the meeting is over, a team manager can use team management software to refine certain people’s tasks to keep the project on track.
Additionally, if a team manager receives new information from the client, it is easy for them to open up the team management software and comment on tasks, change tasks, and update people all at the same time.
In today’s business climate, being able to smoothly and effortlessly adapt to change is vital to success. And with team management software change doesn’t have to be expensive.
Working closely with clients and team members allows for a project to be completed on time, and to the client’s exact specifications.
To successfully implement agile project management in your business, finding the right team management software can make all the difference.