A starter’s guide to agile project management

by Moira Alexander
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Agile Methodology in Project Management

 

If you’re new to project management or just want to know about the Agile definition of Agile, its history starting with Agile Manifesto, and its principles, the answers to these and other frequently asked questions you’re in the right place. We’ll cover all the details you need to know in this guide to Agile project management. Sometimes called the Agile method, Agile project management methodology, or Agile development, here’s an easy-to-understand guide about what you need to know, including all about Agile Manifesto, its principles, Agile frameworks, Agile vs waterfall method, and Agile Benefits.

If you’re new to project management and the agile methodology, the answers to these ten questions will arm you with the information you need to get started. And if you’re a project management veteran, these frequently asked agile questions are a good refresher.

What is agile?

If you’re new to managing projects, you may want to learn about Agile methodology.  This methodology uses short development cycles called sprints to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service.

 

About Agile Manifesto, its history and principles?

Although Incremental software development methods go as far back as 1957. It all started with Agile Manifesto. Agile was first discussed in depth in the 1970s by William Royce, who published a paper on the development of large software systems.

Later, in 2001, the Agile Manifesto, a “formal proclamation of four key values and 12 principles to guide an iterative and people-centric approach to software development,” was published by 17 software developers. These developers gathered together to discuss lightweight development methods based on their combined experience. These are the 12 key agile methodology principles that still guide agile development today.

1. Customer satisfaction is always the highest priority, achieved through rapid and continuous delivery.

2. Changing environments are embraced at any stage of the process to provide the customer with a competitive advantage.

3. A product or service is delivered with a higher frequency.

4. Stakeholders and developers closely collaborate on a daily basis.

5. All stakeholders and team members remain motivated for optimal project outcomes, while teams are provided with all the necessary tools and support and trusted to accomplish project goals.

6. Face-to-face meetings are deemed the most efficient and effective format for project success.

7. A final working product is the ultimate measure of success.

8. Sustainable development is accomplished through agile processes whereby development teams and stakeholders are able to maintain a constant and ongoing pace.

9. Agility is enhanced through a continuous focus on technical excellence and proper design.

10. Simplicity is an essential element.

11. Self-organizing teams are most likely to develop the best architectures, designs and meet requirements.

12. Regular intervals are used by teams to improve efficiency through fining tuning behaviors.

Who uses Agile methodology?

Although designed originally for the software industry, many industries have now adopted the use of agile in their development of products and services because of the highly collaborative and more efficient nature of the methodology. Agile is also used in industries like marketing and advertising, construction, education, and finance.

Why use Agile methodology?

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Agile was originally developed for the software industry to streamline and improve the development process in order to more rapidly identify and adjust for issues and defects. As an alternative to the traditional waterfall approach, agile provided a way for developers and teams to ultimately deliver a better product faster through short iterative and interactive sessions/sprints. With customer expectations on the rise, keeping ahead of the competition requires finding project leaders who can use the best approach methods for project execution.

Why Agile methodology in project management?

The more traditional cumbersome methodologies like waterfall typically require entire project groups to meet and discuss full project goals throughout each phase. Agile, however, uses smaller, more focused groups that meet more frequently to discuss very specific goals, making it easier to make rapid changes as required. 

This allows teams to be more agile, more effective and increases the chances of meeting customer goals successfully, especially as a customer’s needs might also change. Agile arms teams with a mechanism to rapidly repeat a contained process, isolate problems and achieve specific goals quickly, rather than waiting until the end of a lengthy project phase to find out customer requirements and goals have been missed.

What are the agile methodology benefits?

Agile has become extremely popular, widely adopted, and a highly effective project methodology that offers project teams, sponsors, project leaders, and customers many benefits, including the following:

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1. Agile allows for more rapid deployment of solutions.

2. Reduced waste through minimization of resources.

3. Increased flexibility and adaptability to change.

4. Increased success through more focused efforts.

5. Faster turnaround times.

6. Faster detection of issues and defects.

7. An optimized development process.

8. A lighter-weight framework.

9. Optimal project control.

10. Increased focus on specific customer needs.

11. Increased frequency of collaboration and feedback.

What are the disadvantages of agile?

As with any other methodology, agile is not well-suited for every project, sufficient due diligence is always recommended to identify the best methodology for each unique situation.

1. Throughout the development process, agile favors the developers, project teams, and customer goals but not necessarily the end user’s experience.

2. Due to its less formal and more flexible processes, agile may not always be easily absorbed within larger, more traditional organizations.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Agile project management as well as the advantages and disadvantages, let’s look at a comparison of three of the primary agile project management frameworks.

FAQ’s

What are the primary agile project management frameworks?

Three of the primary agile project management frameworks are Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. Each framework has its own unique approach and benefits, and the best choice depends on the project’s specific needs and requirements.

Agile vs traditional project management methodologies?

Traditional project management methodologies, such as Waterfall, typically require entire project groups to meet and discuss full project goals throughout each phase. Agile, however, uses smaller, more focused groups that meet more frequently to discuss very specific goals, making it easier to make rapid changes as required. Agile emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and customer satisfaction, while traditional methodologies may be more rigid and less adaptable to change.

What are sprints in agile project management?

Sprints in agile project management are short development cycles that typically last between one and four weeks. They are designed to focus on delivering a high-quality product or service that meets the customer’s needs.

What are the primary agile project management frameworks?

The three primary agile project management frameworks are Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. These frameworks differ in their approach to project management, with Scrum focusing on sprints, Kanban on visualizing workflow and Lean on continuous improvement and waste reduction. Each framework has its own unique set of practices and tools that are tailored to specific project needs.

Agile frameworks how they differ from each other?

Scrum emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and iterative progress. Kanban emphasizes visualizing work, limiting work in progress, and maximizing efficiency. Lean emphasizes eliminating waste, optimizing the whole process, and delivering value to the customer. While there are some similarities between the frameworks, they have different focuses and different ways of achieving project success.

 

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