Agile Project Management

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management is an iterative, dynamic approach to software development that works around several values and principles. Many different frameworks draw inspiration from agile methods, so it can be thought of as a philosophy from which you can pick suitable ideas rather than a rigid structure.

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How Does Agile Project Management Work?

Agile project management can work in many ways, depending on the framework you choose. The original Agile manifesto outlines four key values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change instead of following a plan

Another defining characteristic of the agile method is its ceremonies or rituals. These are opportunities for the team to reflect and plan for the next iteration to ensure:

  • Expectations are aligned
  • The correct tasks are prioritized
  • The team is motivated, and
  • Results are being seen

Examples of Popular Agile Frameworks

There are several frameworks that fall under the agile methodology. Here are some of the most common examples:

Scrum

Monday Scrum Boards
An example of a scrum board – Monday.com

 

Scrum is the most commonly used agile framework. This method involves three key roles:

  1. The scrum master
  2. Product owner
  3. Scrum teams

Scrum works in short bursts called ‘sprints‘. Generally, sprints are less than 30 days long, and all sprints are book-ended by a planning session and a review session.

Throughout the sprint, there will be daily stand-up meetings which give team members the opportunity to update each other on their progress, as well as any potential blockers.

Kanban

Monday Kanban Boards
An example of Kanban boards – Monday.com

 

Another example of an agile framework is Kanban boards. This is a popular method of visually communicating team capacity and keeping the status of deliverables in a constant flow to drive results.

Items are displayed across ‘boards’, each indicating a different stage in the lifecycle of a particular project.

Agile Project Management Principles Explained

There are 12 agile principles. Here’s an outline of each one:

  1. Satisfy Customers — A key focus of agile is working with the customer’s wishes in mind at all times, and working to meet their expectations through prompt delivery of results.
  2. Embrace Change — Agile teams should welcome changing requirements and see them as opportunities to move toward the best possible outcome.
  3. Frequently Deliver Results — Agile software development methods prioritize delivering a working product version at the end of each sprint.
  4. Close Collaboration — Often, teams experience miscommunication between account managers and developers, for example. Agile aims to bring together both sides of the team.
  5. Cultivate a Productive Environment — Agile upholds the understanding that if your team is happy, motivated, and supported, this will enable them to do their best work.
  6. Prioritize In-Person Communication — Speaking face-to-face or over video calls is a faster way to communicate, leaving less room for miscommunication.
  7.  Measure Progress by Output — The success of agile projects is primarily measured by whether the product works. Teams should avoid adding bells and whistles before achieving a functional base product.
  8. Promote Work-Life Balance — To prevent team members from burnout, a sustainable pace should be maintained throughout sprints.
  9. Measure Technical Excellence — Agile software development promotes frequent testing throughout the entire length of a project to ensure if any technical glitches occur, they can be handled before the final delivery.
  10. Keep it Simple — Simplicity within an agile project means focusing on functionality before adding extras and minimizing work that doesn’t add value.
  11. Prioritize Autonomous Teams — When your team feels that you trust them and recognize their talent, they will feel more ownership over the project and be more motivated to do their best work.
  12. Regularly Evaluate Your Workflow — The essence of agile is its iterative nature, so following the completion of each phase of the project, there should be constant reevaluation of the workflow.

The Bottom Line

Agile project management is a philosophy that can be applied to project management, typically software development. It champions values such as:

  • Flexibility
  • Welcoming change and innovation
  • Collaboration between the team, and
  • Frequent delivery of functional results.

If your team is struggling to meet deadlines, make measurable progress, or communicate between technical and client-facing teams, to name a few examples, a scalable-agile approach can help overcome these issues and foster a more productive, motivated team.

While it may sound a little abstract, there are many tangible ways that you can implement an agile approach, such as adopting the Scrum team structure or using Kanban boards for tracking progress using project management software.

FAQs

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References

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Alice Martin
Senior Writer

Alice Martin has five years experience as a writer before joining Techopedia in 2024. After completing an interdisciplinary degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, she began writing in the arts and music industries. Driven by a love of research and analysis, Alice turned her attention towards all things software and technology. She now offers expert advice in these fields to help readers make informed decisions.