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Agile project management

Introduction

Our innovative minds tend to be pushing the envelope where new and disruptive technologies are filling the product development line of both small and large companies. The current business landscape is competitive and fast-paced, and the product life cycles are short. The product development and the launch time tend to be shortening because companies are aggressively developing new services and products to compete. Because of the emphasis on speed, teams are making quick decisions with incomplete information or in environments of uncertainty. As a result, it leads to frequent changes in project direction and requirement. Thus, teams must be agile, and the need for agility is evident in highly innovative businesses that are pushing the current technology and thinking limits (Luis Da Silva et al. 2014). Companies realize that they must continue to remake and change themselves in order to remain competitive and hit their financial targets.

The changes include developing new services and products, creating innovative HR practices, partnerships, marketing messages, reorganizing, and acquisitions so as to keep firms ahead of the competition. Projects are usually the engines that power business transformation and enable organizational flexibility necessary for surviving today’s world (Luis Da Silva et al. 2014). In order to achieve these objectives, companies are recognizing that effective and agile project management is necessary for their survival. A major misconception about the agile process is that there is no need for the agile project management.  However, agile project management is essential for both small and large organization as it is a possible competitive advantage. A good project management can add tremendous value to projects. In this report, we focus on agile project management and why it is the appropriate method for project management.

Agile project management

Agile project management normally focuses on continuous improvement, team input, scope flexibility, and delivery of essential quality products. The reasoning behind agile project management is that business expectations and consumers are increasing. Today, customers expect and want innovative products very fast, cheap, and with better quality than in the past. Similarly, the business tools are improving our capability to be productive, raising work pressure and work expectation. Agile project management is essential in helping deliver customer value with quality, speed, and economy (Wysocki, 2014). The customer value refers to the right product, for the right price, and at the right time. The right product refers to the product with the exact features the customer wants. The right price is the price that customers consider to be the fair deal and the right time is when the customer wants the product.

Project management is vital to the success of most projects. Without management, the project team might pursue the wrong project. The project team normally manages the work of projects and the work involves competing demands for cost, time, scope, quality, and risks. A successful project tends to deliver results in time, scope and cost with quality and after customer satisfaction (Lee & Xia 2010). Agile project management involves the work of empowering, energizing, and enabling the project team to reliably and rapidly deliver customer value through engaging customers and continuously adapting and learning to customers changing needs. Agile project management normally focuses on project throughput, leadership, and teamwork (Luis Da Silva et al. 2014).

There tend to be conceptions regarding agile project management. Some of the misconceptions are that agile methods are thinly disguised hacking, agile practitioners do not plan, and doing agile projects is quicker and requires fewer resources without a project manager. Something that people need to understand is that agile approaches are good for innovative, experimental and the never-been-done projects. People with misconceptions that agile team do not plan, cannot estimate, and so the not document can be an impediment to any agile migration. A major requirement in agile, movement is the need for highly skilled developers (Lee & Xia 2010). The agile team is usually small, self-regulated, and self-governing; thus, there are high expectations in regards to the personal attributes of the team members.

The Agile project management is an iterative method for planning and guiding the project processes. The completion of an agile project is normally in small sections known as iterations. The project team normally reviews each iteration and critiques it which may include representatives of the client business and also employees. The insights acquired from the critique of the iteration are usually useful in determining what the next step will be in the project. APM comprises established and proven components that offer a holistic approach to the governance and management of the projects (Wysocki, 2014). The method normally has an overarching philosophy and also a guiding principle and also a lifecycle and set of deliverables that must be created and maintained as the project progress. APM usually provides defined roles with specific responsibilities designed to bringing together all the stakeholders involved in the project.

Agile project management practices

Some of the practices in agile project management include a guiding vision, organic teams, open information, agile vigilance, light touch, and simple rules. The purpose of a guiding vision in PM is to create a shared vision for driving behavior on the agile project and to continuously reinforcing it through actions and words. It normally recognizes and nurtures a shared vision as an internal model for translating it into a powerful influence on the team’s behavior (Augustine, 2005). The guiding vision is normally an aggregate of three visions including project vision, product vision, and team vision. The key implication is to evolve team vision to drive the team behavior, facilitate product vision to drive project evolution, and create project vision to drive project behavior.

In regards to the organic teams, the objective is structuring and building self-organizing agile teams based on the organic complex adaptive systems (CAS) model (Augustine, 2005). It involves empowering team members and integrating them effectively into the larger enterprise through facilitating teamwork and collaboration through community and relationships. The main implication of APM is viewing agile teams as being organic CAS, recognizing the difference between informal and formal team structures, and structuring agile teams accordingly. The aim of the organic teams is encouraging diversified roles through defining rules holistically in order for team members to develop into generalizing specialties. The generalizing specialty refers to someone with one or more specialties and actively seeks to gain new skills in the existing specialties.

Another APM practice is a light touch that is an intelligent control of teams that require a delicate mixture of imposed and emergent order. The purpose of this practice is applying just enough control so as to foster emergent order. The practice normally helps in managing agile teams with a style that allow team flexibility and autonomy and focus on customer value without sacrificing control. The implications of the light touch are establishing decentralized control that defers the decision-making for frequent occurring and less critical events to the team. It also manages the flow of customer value from one stage to another, focus on strengths rather than weakness and recognize the team members as being whole persons and treat them accordingly. When using this agile practice, every person is unique and possesses unique strengths and weaknesses (Augustine, 2005). Therefore, great managers normally recognize that trying to standardize the human behavior is pointless, and they do not waste time in trying to change people.

The APM practice of simple rules aims at implementing a set of simple and adaptable methodology rules allowing agile teams to deliver business value reliably and rapidly. It also establishes and supports the set of guiding behavior and practices of the team. The implication of the simple rules is assessing the environment to determine its characteristics, identify, and implement the set of rules that are congruent with the environment. The practice of open information aims at providing access to information for creating an open flow of information and information exchange among the project team members and the associated external groups. In agile project management, open information normally allows the teams top react and adapt to the changing conditions in the environment (Fernandez J & Fernandez J 2009). Its implication is to reorganize the team facilities and to set so as to institute agile information sharing.

 It also analyzes the time taken in exchanging information with the external groups in identifying and reducing the information cycle, time, and structure the conversation on the project team. In project management, the practice of agile vigilance which is adaptive leadership aims at tracking and monitoring the project for relevant and timely feedback and institute systemic procedures for learning. Adaptation is necessary for helping the agile manager maintain leadership presence that animates the team. The main implications are tracking and monitoring agile project management practices in order to ensure proper applications and desired outcomes (Fernandez J & Fernandez J 2009). It also ensures that it embodies leadership that energizes and inspires the team.

Benefits of Agile project management

Most of the organizations seeking to adopt agile project management have a concern about some of the myths and messages of Agile. It is usually difficult to separate a rumor from fact. For instance, some agile approaches suggest that project management is unnecessary, which is a very worrying message for organizations that are relying on their project managers. Because of this perception, it tends to cause some people to have an incorrect perception that Agile is only applicable to simple and small pieces of work (Stare, 2013). Thus, the organization should choose either agile or formal project management. Such a perception is incorrect, and organizations should know the benefits they will acquire when they use agile project management. Agile project management normally provides numerous benefits to organizations, products, and the project team.

Agile management normally helps in accelerating the delivery of the business value and through the process of continuous planning and feedback; it is possible to ensure that continuous maximization of value. Because of the iterative planning and the feedback loop, the project team is usually able to align the project continuously with the desired business needs, and easily adapt to the changing requirements.

The main benefit for APM is its ability to respond to issues as they arise all through the course of the project. Making any necessary change to a project at the right time help in saving resources and help in delivering a successful project on time and within the budget. Since agile management usually relies on ability, to make decisions quickly, the method tends not to be suitable for those organizations that deliberate over issues for a prolonged time or those that take decisions to a  committee. Agile project management is beneficial in that it results in the better quality product (Fernandez J & Fernandez J 2009). The agile methods normally have an excellent safeguard in ensuring high quality through taking proactive approaches to quality in order to prevent product problems. With the aim of ensuring high-quality product, APM tends to embrace technological excellence, sustainable development, and good design.

Another benefit of APM is it offers higher customer satisfaction. Most clients usually have no or little understanding of what it takes to develop a product. Because of this, it can lead to many problems and arguments on the project. I am because the client makes demands that they imagine to be easy for the team and question where time and effort are going and why the project is taking long. However, agile projects normally include customers in the most important activities. Thus, in agile project management, the client is normally considered as a member of the agile team. The agile project teams usually satisfy the customer through keeping them engaged ad involved all through the project (Stare, 2013). The team also makes sure that the product backlog is up-to-date and priorities so as to respond quickly to changes and demonstrate working functionality to clients every sprint review. In order to ensure customer satisfaction, APM normally ensures that the customer is present when the team is generating their rough estimates so as to answer questions regarding each requirement if necessary. When the project team is working with the customer, it has a beneficial effect in keeping the expectations of the customer reasonable (Luis Da Silva et al. 2014). Due to the high visibility of the team’s work, the customer quickly comes to appreciate the work of the team and respect them as professionals.

Another benefit of the APM is the high team morale. The positive relationship between the customer and the working in self-directed teams is a reason to increase high team morale. The planning of the agile projects is not by the customer, project team, or anyone else. However, the team usually plans their work and later works their plan. When one is part of a self-managing team, it allows people, to be innovative, creative, and acknowledged for their expertise. When working cross-functionally, it allows the development team members to learn new skills and also to grow through teaching others. Research indicates that a self-managing team usually provides a good environment for any knowledge-work. The collaborative nature of agile projects team means that each member of the team is learning from their peers continuously. The specialists get to learn about each other’s specialty. Thus, APM usually produces a value that goes beyond the customer’s product.

A benefit of APM is that it results to on time and budget project delivery. Agile methods usually make the assumption that the project timeline is inviolable. They also assume that the key driver of the budget is the people’s time; thus, the project time-box normally implies a fixed budget. Excellent project management practices normally tell us that we must have a variable to manage so as to have a successful project (Stare, 2013). In the case of APM, the variable is product scope and requirements. A project team in APM always delivers on budget and on time. The main issue of concern is what they will deliver. Because of this, APM ensures close participation of the client in the project. The role of the client is to make sure that the project meets their needs to the greatest possible extent within the project’s constraints.

An important aspect of agile project management is that it improves project predictability. APM normally incorporate several artifacts, practices, and tools for improving predictability. It improves predictability through using individual development team speed that allows the team to predict the timeline and also the budget for releases or any group of requirements. While improving predictability, APM also provides early warning of problems. The agile projects tend to have an advantage as there is a ready-made barometer present in the process that usually provides early warning of any impending doom (Stare, 2013). The iterative development pattern helps in providing this warning. After the project team lays down the project roadmap based on their assumptions, they immediately start producing the working product.

After some weeks, the first iteration is usually complete, and the team delivers the product, in case it is less than anticipated, an early flicker of red starts to show. When the second iteration delivers less than the expected, the red light will be clearly visible. When the same continues for the rest of the iteration, the red light will be flashing, and the siren is loud. Even before going halfway to the project, every person will know that the assumptions are out of line with what is possible. Because APM enables early warning signs, it usually offers plenty of time to readjust plans, renegotiate plans, or even cancel the doomed project before wasting more time and money. The benefits of using APM is that agility does not guarantee success; however, failure is clear much sooner than with other approaches.
Conclusion

Despite the different misconceptions regarding APM, it is important for organizations to consider agile project management. Some of the real benefits of agile project management include profit benefits, defect reduction, satisfied customers, and improved morale. The agile practices including self-managing and sustainable development teams mean happier employees, less company turnover, and improved efficiency. The agile projects usually have high customer satisfaction because the project team tends to produce working products very quickly, and they can respond to change and collaborate with clients as partners. APM is also beneficial in relation to defect reduction because the method considers quality as a major priority. The proactive quality measures, continuous improvement, and continuous testing contribute to high-quality products. Finally, a major benefit of APM is in relation to profit aspect. The agile approach normally allows the project team to deliver products to the market very fast than any other approach. Thus, the agile organizations can be able to realize a higher return on their investment. Hence, in order to remain competitive and hit financial targets organizations should consider using agile project management.


Reference

Augustine, S (2005). Managing Agile Projects Prentice Hall

Fernandez J & Fernandez J (2009). Agile project management Journal of computer Information systems 49 (2)

Lee, G., Xia, W. (2010). Toward agile: an integrated analysis of quantitative and qualitative field data on software development agility MIS Quarterly. 34 (1)

Salum, F Amaral, D Conforto, E & Luis Da Silva, S (2014). Can agile project management be adopted by industries other than software development Project Management Journal 45 (3)

Stare, A. (2013). Agile project management Dynamic Relationships Management Journal 2 (1)

Wysocki, R (2014). Effective project management John Wiley & Son

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in nursing essay writing service services. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from research paper services.

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