agile project management

Agile Project Management: The Ultimate Guide

Creating and promoting any new product or service and delivering it successfully into the market is not a simple task. For this, first, you need to develop a concept, make the planning, work through execution and monitoring, and then finally move towards the closure phase. In today’s fast-paced business world, things usually don’t happen that easily. Agile project management plays a crucial role in project managing tasks.

If you have planned out everything and anticipate that your project runs smoothly. Still, variations appear, especially through the knowledge work environment, rising changes can occur at each stage of the process. Unless your team or indeed the whole organization is flexible and owns a plan to react effectively, your risk continuously keeps blocking the delivery of your projects and ultimately becomes uncompetitive in the market.

The art of software development is different for every organization, it requires the attention and care of a versatile team who’s ready to work on innovations instantly. This is where Agile project management comes in. For example – Have you ever thought that how do companies like Google and Microsoft update every single one of the products within a week or two while other organizations need years? The quick answer to this is Agile project management.

The agile method is a flexible process. Not like the traditional approach, in which the project workflow is described and envisioned before beginning the project. This versatile and adaptable agile methodology manages a project by dividing it up into different phases. It requires continuous collaboration with stakeholders and constant improvement at every stage. As the work starts, teams cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating.

Continuous collaboration is crucial, both with project stakeholders and team members. Since the agile approach is continuously involved in improving, changes can be done easily even in the middle of the project, if the team agrees on the same. Otherwise, it can become pretty expensive, performing development changes following a conventional method, with a pre-defined project. But, using an agile approach, changes can be made easily as it is flexible.

What is Agile Project Management and Why You Need It?

Agile project management is defined as an iterative approach toward software development projects, assuring feedback that can be worked on instantly and those responsive adjustments can be performed at every stage of a product cycle. This empowers project teams to work expeditiously and collaboratively within the timeframe and budget of a project.

Choosing the Agile approach enables development teams to be the experts and obtain decisions backed by an engaged, trusting, and informed business. It allows you to deliver to consumers what they want. Eventually, it sets you and your organization in control of delivering valuable, high-quality software that addresses customer needs and expectations while earning returns on your investment as early as possible.

There is a cost involved to adopt Agile, it doesn’t come for free. Agile builds value and emphasizes collaboration, and will make you reap rewards. Some of the benefits that you can expect are:

  • Improved visibility on progress
  • The proper delivery of real value
  • Manageable risk
  • Predictability, transparency, and confidence
  • Higher performing teams
  • Security for your investment
  • Enhanced product quality
  • Manageable expectations
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Immediate revenue generation

Taking Your First Step in the Agile Project Management:

Agile teams develop products faster, accomplish their goals more often, and earn more money. So, you should not wait to bring Agile project management to your team and begin with your process now. Mentioned below are some of the first steps toward the Agile ways of working:

  • If your team is used to working with waterfall and other predictive systems, check the Agile resources. There is a toolkit of layered resources to reach you wherever you are.
  • If you work in software development, the resources from the Agile Alliance will support you in getting started.
  • You can download the official Scrum guide, available in more than 30 languages to review whether Scrum would be a suitable fit for you.
  • Analyze the tools you own to check if they support agile ways of operating. A strong project management tool that can synchronize data from Jira, including stories, sprints, and backlog, besides waterfall data points. 

Steps in the Agile Methodology

The purpose of Agile is to build shorter development cycles and more frequent product releases than any other traditional waterfall project management. This more precise time frame empowers project teams to respond more efficiently to changes which the client requires.

1) Concept – Project Planning

Like with any other project, the very first step before beginning an Agile process is to determine the project vision. Your team should understand the value to the client or organization, the end goal, and how that will be achieved. You must remember the main purpose of adopting Agile project management, which is to address developments and enhancements to the project efficiently.

2) Inception – Product Roadmap Creation

Now in the second step, a project roadmap is created, which is the breakdown of the features that create the final product. This is a significant part of the planning stage because your team will create these specific features throughout each sprint. This step is also necessary as it ensures that the methodology will work correctly. Here a product backlog is created which comprises the list of all features and deliverables, later on, the team picks tasks from this backlog.

3) Sprints – Release Planning

This is the third step in the Agile process. It creates a release plan that presents a timeframe for each sprint. Sprints are described as the iterative release of the product or service offered by the team to get consumer feedback. You need to create a high-level plan for feature releases that would indicate how often the iteration is released to customers for feedback. Different stages during this phase are sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, and sprint review & retrospective.

4) Production

Now as the software progresses through all stages without any difficulties, it will undergo a maintenance phase where it will be renewed from time to time to adapt to modifications. The number of hours dedicated to any sprint changes with the size and scope of the project. A sprint can last up to 4 weeks or for any other suitable period, depending on the requirements of the project.

This step provides ongoing support once the software has been released. The team should be able to keep the system running smoothly and train users on proper usage. This stage finishes when the product is planned for retirement or the support is no longer provided.

5) Retirement

The main focus of this Retirement phase is the official removal of a system from production. This is normally performed when a new system is expected to replace the traditional ones, or when the system becomes outdated, irrelevant, or no longer useful to your business model. This is a serious problem encountered by most organizations today; as legacy systems are set down and new systems supersedes them. The deployment of the new release also incorporates some steps to eliminate the prior release.

Conclusion – The Future of Agile Project Management

As businesses today are moving into a remote setup, there’s a growing demand for speed, adaptability, and autonomy. This makes Agile and its hybrid methodologies an ideal choice for any business. With the increasing competition and the shrinking time to market, agile provides various advantages like versatility, enhanced productivity, and more.

Businesses today adopt the Agile approach because it encompasses the different required transformations through the development of technology. Teams can easily split lengthy requirements, design, and test each phase in smaller portions, resulting in quicker and more frequent software delivery. However, successful implementation of the Agile methodology demands a well-trained team with a clear understanding of the model’s basic principles.