Agile Project Management For Dummies – Best Practices and Tips!
We have recently published a post about the introduction to project management process to help you understand how your idea turns into an actual product. It was mentioned there that we like to use the agile methodology while managing our projects. So, what is agile methodology and what agile project management is about? First, let’s start with defining what is agile.
Agile project management for dummies.
What is Agile?
Agile is a project management methodology. Although the concept was somehow known earlier, it was in 2001 when the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published. 17 developers sat down and established the values, on which the methodology is based. We will dive into these values later on. The most important thing about agile is that is strongly focuses on delivering excellent software as quickly as possible while still maintaining flexibility and adaptability. That’s why we prefer to use this method. Using it is what enables us to fully adjust to your needs and expectations and, therefore, ensures your satisfaction with the product as well as the creation process.
What makes the agile project management method so great are the values and principles behind it. As the authors of the manifesto state:
“We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.”
The four items on the right are the foundation of the 12 principles (steps) of agile. What are they and how using them can benefit you and your project? Want to be scrum master?
The 12 Principles of Agile
The 12 principles of agile can be treated as a guide or a framework on how to create software, how to approach unexpected changes and problems and how to deal with customer relationships. They also map out how the collaboration between team members of a software development team should look and how should tasks be distributed and completed. Let’s break down all 12 of them:
1. Customer satisfaction comes first
While using agile project management, the most important thing to remember is that customer satisfaction comes first. And the best way to satisfy the customer it through continuous delivery of quality software. Such approach makes not only for great software but also for good, friendly relationships with customers. Product vision must be clear for the team and the client! Clear questions could help the manager build the best product.
2. Value and adapt to change
Agile Manifesto states that change should be welcome at any stage of the development. Change, therefore, is not viewed as an obstacle or a problem. It is a valuable component of the customer’s success and makes for even better software products. The adaptability to change, that comes from using agile project management methodology, is a crucial element of creating excellent software.
3. Quick and constant delivery
Agilist believe in delivering working software frequently. It can be every two weeks or every two months. While focusing on frequent delivery it is also crucial to remember that the quicker the better. The third principle is not only about the frequency but also the speed of delivery. It is not so much a requirement but more a preference of a shorter timeframe. Pressure to develop is ok. Quality and risk, time and cost, develop and implement, mobile and web – don’t forget about that!
4. Teamwork – project team!
The fourth principle states that “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project”. This means that the agile method values teamwork and the need to include all the people involved in the project. A project managed using agile is like a machine that has many separate parts – but when they are put together, everything works perfectly! Print review (or add them to your notes!) – listen to the team! Personal stories are very importatnt for good atmosphere -> let your team feel good with you! You have a lot of common with them! For sure!
5. Trust and believe in your team
This methodology focuses on creating great teams of motivated, professional and experienced individuals. This is why you need to trust them and believe in them. The authors of the manifesto point out that you need to support your team with all the resources they need and trust them when it comes to getting the work done. It is important that the customer believes in the team they’ve chosen, but agile methodology is also about all team members supporting each other. When a team works this way they do their jobs better – plain and simple! It will help your company a lot!
6. Face-to-face conversations
Agilist believe that face-to-face conversations are the most efficient and effective method of communication. And this regards both you communicating with your team and the communication within the team itself. Better communication = better community. Conveying information this way provides for successful projects and excellent products?
7. Working software as a measure of progress
While working on any project there has to be some kind of a measure of progress. Agile project management methodology treats working software as this measure. As simple as that. If a team delivers a working piece of software, whether it’s a single functionality or a complete product, it means they achieved success and are making progress. Find and set a short goal. It will be easier to control your topics lists.
8. Sustainable development
Another crucial thing for agile methodology is sustainable development. All the people involved in the project – developers, sponsors or users – should be able to “[…]maintain a constant pace indefinitely”. This provides for the continuity of the process and makes it smoother in general.
9. Technical excellence and good design
This project management strongly focuses on excellent development and design. Why? Because it’s simpler to adjust to changes when the thing you’re adjusting (a software product) is made not only correctly, but almost perfectly. As the authors of the Agile Manifesto state: “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility”. And we believe it’s true!
Simplicity doesn’t regard the software – it can be as complicated as you need. But if something can be done better with less work – that’s how it should be done. It’s about maximizing the amount of the work not done. Complete and implement. Be sure about accurate development and product backlog. Agile leadership is about implementing agile in your everyday routine.
11. Self-organizing teams
Agile methodology is also about self-organizing teams. Agilists believe that such teams are where best ideas, designs and requirements come from. It increases the amount of commitment required from each team member and makes the work more engaging. Because everyone works not only on their tasks but they have to take care of the work structure and make sure everyone on the team is in perfect sync.
12. Constant improvement
Last, but not least – there is always room for improvement. Managing project or service using the agile method requires that there are regular sessions, during which the team reflects on their work. They try to figure out how to be more effective, more efficient and overall better. After they know how improvements can be made, they adopt the necessary changes. That’s why teams that use agile methodology are great developers, designers and so on… You can start today! We hope that you are ready for a lot of feedback from your team. Remember that adding this type of methodology could help your careers in a historical way! Apply agile principles and evolve rapidly. Implement software projects
The Main Advantages of Agile Project Management
While reading the 12 principles of agile software development, you probably already noticed that this methodology has great advantages. But just to have a better picture, let’s list the most important ones.
- Increased flexibility
- Increased productivity
- Increased transparency
- Higher quality deliverables
- Retrospective explore
As you can see agile project management can greatly benefit you as well as your software development team. That’s why here, at INVO, we like to use agile methodology while working on your project. It is a big job! The series of your successful projects just started! Don’t forget to learn and read a lot of new things (maybe online?). The knowledge is close to you. Just sign to some free online courses. Type your name and email and start iteration! Applied practices won’t gone fast! Sometimes reading just a chapter for a day is such a great work! Return to your books often. Power of knowledge is not changing 😉
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