In a highly digitized environment, organizations necessities to unveil and accomplish their goals in less time. The thought of attaining goals is a major motivating factor for any organization and needs various processes, strategies, and technologies. Such a process is known as Agile Project Management. During the process, the organization would come across differences and restrictions with relating to the approach.
Let’s get started by understanding the basics of Agile Project Management.
What is Agile Project Management?
Agile Project Management is a well-known iterative and incremental approach to project management methodology. It mainly focuses on breaking the vast and complex project into more manageable chunks, which could be completed in smaller iterations. Agile is a collaborative approach incorporated to complete the work efficiently, adapt to changing needs, and optimize the workflow.
Agile project management concentrates on continuous improvement and thereby increasing the project value. According to the Agile manifesto created by 13 top industry leaders in 2001, four core values and 12 principles lead to Agile methodology.
Why use Agile Project Management?
Current days, organizations are looking out for a more iterative and flexible approach for software development. Here are a few important reasons why to use Agile project management:
- Gradual reduction in project failure risks
- Quick lead times
- Reduced conflicts in the coming future
- Minimized administrative procedure
- Improved relationship between the people involved in team and enterprise entities working together to attain success
- Measuring projects progress is much more comfortable with relating to deliverables
Benefits of Agile Project Management
Here are some of the benefits of Agile project management and why organizations adopt it for managing their projects:
Improved customer satisfaction
The agile process includes the customers in the loop and changes are made adhering to their feedback. Doing so provides value to the customer. The product backlog needs to be updated to respond to the changes quickly. Demonstrating the working features and functionalities to the customer at every sprint will make them come back to you more often.
Improved performance visibility
Every team member can know about the progress of the project at any stage. Conducting daily scrum meetings, progress charts, and sprint reviews will help to check the performance.
Improved team morale
The members of the Agile project team are self-managing and self-organized. Scrum master removes any sort of hindrances to the team from external interferences. On the other hand, cross-functional nature allows the team to learn skills and rise in their career.
Improved project predictability
Improved project visibility leads to easy mitigation plans and risk predictability. Agile provides various ways to predict risks and strategies for efficient project completion. Task boards, scrum meetings, and burndown charts help to predict the project’s performance.
None of the Agile projects fail with having a working product from the initial sprint. Providing regular feedback, regular communication with the development team, product release, sprint review, and retrospective meeting ensures that the end user can look at the new features and ask for changes required. This process leads to reduced risks in the process.
Improved product quality
Agile is an iterative process, and the team keeps themselves updated with the latest skills and continuous improvement. Testing is an integral part of the execution phase; thus, overall product quality is greater. Client can get involved in the development process and can demand for changes based on their requirement.
Added relevant metrics
Agile process emphasizes producing desired results and optimizing performance. A few of the metrics used in Agile are cycle time and lead time used for estimating cost and time, it helps to keep track of the team’s performance more accurately, identify the issues and take necessary decisions to overcome the hindrances.
Now that you are aware of Agile Project management’s benefits, let’s understand who are all the people involved in the process.
Roles Involved in Agile Project Management
Here are a few common roles involved in an Agile team:
Scrum Masters are the guardian of the entire project, provides regular feedback and guides the team in the right direction ensuring the work stays on track with timely completion. They are often called the team’s advocate.
The significant role of the product owner is to have a goal for each sprint. They have a vision for a product and how it fits into organizational goals. They manage and prioritize the task in the backlog and acts as a voice for the stakeholder.
Team members are responsible for creating the entire product. They are responsible for executing the task in every sprint. The team members varied skills and strengths, which would help to get the work done efficiently. The team can be of people with the same job roles or different roles
The stakeholders of the project should be kept updated about the project proceedings. They must be involved during the sprint retrospective meeting to review the work and provide feedback for the changes to be made.
Components of Agile Project Management
Here are a few components of Agile Project Management:
User story encompasses information about the entire project, which would help the team raise a reasonable estimate to attain desired project goals. The user story is mainly written from the user’s perspective.
Sprints are nothing but short iterations, which usually take 1-3 weeks to accomplish the meeting’s determined task. The tasks should be equally segregated amongst the team members to complete the task during each sprint successfully. Sprints should be continuously repeated until all the essential features of the product are ready. On completion of the sprint, you can review what is working and what not in your product and make necessary adjustments accordingly before moving on to the next.
The main purpose of using the Agile board is to track the progress of the project. Some of the examples for Agile board include sticky notes, project management software, or just a Kanban board.
The sprint planning process involves the stories in the backlog to be moved to the sprint before the completion of each iteration. Thus, handling product backlog is essential for project managers.
Stand-up meeting or daily scrum meeting is a way to know that every team member stays on track. The meeting is usually held for about 10-15 minutes and to the point.
Steps Involved in Agile Project Management
Agile project management’s main goal is to come up with shorter development cycles and more product releases. Having a shorter time frame enables the team to react efficiently to the client requirements’ changes.
As said before, there are various Agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, Xtreme Programming, lean, and still more. Each of the methodologies has a certain basic process to follow. The process includes the following steps:
Before starting with the project, the entire should be thorough with the project objective, scope of the project, and goal to be achieved. The main purpose of this phase is to address the changes and make necessary additions to the project.
A product roadmap includes all the essential features of a product. The team will be accountable for developing features at each sprint. Having a product backlog is essential as it includes all the essentials and deliverables that make up the final product. Going forward, when you plan for sprints, the product backlog will be much helpful.
Agile project management uses a shorter development cycle called sprints. At the end of each sprint, product features and functionalities are released. A high-level plan has to be created for the product release. At the beginning of every sprint, a release plan will be devised for that particular stage.
It is essential to hold a sprint planning meeting before starting each sprint. The reason behind conducting sprint meeting is to determine each team member’s task and how they plan to achieve it. For efficient workflow, the task should be equally shared amongst all the team members.
Daily stand-up meeting
Conducting regular meetings will help the team assess issues and changes to be made to the prevailing work-in-progress. The meeting has to be short (say about 10-15 minutes) and shouldn’t be considered, unlike any other meetings. The team members should emphasize their to-do list for the day and tasks done on the previous day.
Sprint review meeting
Sprint review meeting involves the stakeholders being present to give them a final view of the product. This allows to develop a good rapport with the stakeholders and overcome obstacles that might arise.
Sprint Retrospective meeting
The main agenda of this meeting is to assess the entire sprint process. The focus will be on what went well during the process and whatnot, whether the task load was equally distributed amongst the team and the outcome of each sprint.
Agile is a roadmap for enterprises to gain an edge in the current competitive market. Implement Agility to your organization irrespective of your organization size and domain to reap high-end benefits.
Demo on Trello – Explore the power of visual perspective
Trello is a collaboration tool that enables users to organize projects into boards. The tool details what’s being worked on, who is working, and the progress of a particular project stage.
Advantages of Trello
- Simple to set-up
- It follows the Kanban system
- Higher productivity levels
- All project-related items can be seen on one page
- Adding news members and assigning them tasks are very easy
- It keeps you connected to all the team members
- Infinitely flexible
Let’s understand how Trello works with an example. It has a lot of co-features associated with it.
First, sign up with Trello
Let’s understand what are “Boards” in Trello?
Trello boards are nothing but a series of lists and cards attached to them. It represents an overview of the project and its progress.
You can invite people to join your board. Search them through their e-mail id or name and invite them to join the team. Once you click on the” Invite to team “option, an invitation link will be sent to the respective person.
Create a new board
Make the project visible to the team. You can also mark it private (visible only to the board members) or public (everyone on the internet can see it).
Now, let’s understand how to get started with the Trello board:
Each board comprises lists, which indicate the processes in a project. Here we have four stages/lists indicating the processes of the project. You can create as many lists as you want to present the information.
1) Project planning
A project manager needs to create proper planning to initiate a project. It increases transparency amongst the team.
A well-defined project planning develops a good rapport with the stakeholders by visually keeping them informed about the project goal. This stage explains all the essential features included to accomplish the desired goal.
The cards within each list hold information on a specific task. It can be moved from one stage to another as the project progresses.
a) Product description
When you click on a particular card, you will get a pop-up screen as below. Give a small description of your project in the description box as shown below.
b) Team members
You can add all the team members or invite specific employees to the card. Thus, collaboration in Trello is a seamless and straightforward approach.
Labels help you to categorize and sort cards based on priority. You can use any number of labels on each card.
Give a name and assign a color for each label. The color will be displayed on the front of the card.
Check-lists allow you to create subtasks within a card. The subtasks can be added, edited, and deleted. You can also assign a team member to a specific task along with the due date for completion. It ensures timely completion of tasks and makes it much easier to break down complex tasks into manageable steps.
Due dates on Trello help you keep track of the deadline. Whenever you give a due date, you will get a reminder message 24 hours ahead of time to complete your tasks on time.
Due dates are highly effective as they tell you the most important task you have to accomplish and which tasks can wait for later. They appear as a tiny badge on the card, which changes its color as you move towards the due date.
- Grey- You have more than 24 hours to finish
- Yellow- You have 24 hours to finish
- Red- Task is due
- Light pink- Task is past due
- Green- Task complete
Attachments allow you to keep all the essential resources in one place, and the team can access it. No matter whether you are pulling the files from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive, or any other location, it gets stored inside the card where you attach.
g) Cover Image
A cover image can be added to beautify the card’s look. This step is optional, not a mandate.
To officially mark the beginning of the project, let’s put the first card to the “In-progress” stage. As the task goes through each process, you can move the cards by dragging and dropping them to subsequent stages.
The project has already started; requirement gathering, design, and implementation steps are completed.
Further, team members can discuss project happenings in the “Activity” section.
If a team member is not able to complete the task due to varied reasons, the card is put to the “on-hold” stage.
Queries regarding the delay in the task completion can be enquired and resolved in the “Activity” section.
Once the issue has been resolved, the card can be put back to the “In-progress” stage.
Eventually, all the tasks are completed. Here you have two options – Hide completed items and delete tasks upon completion. It is optional to use it.
After all the tasks are finished, put the card in the “completed” stage. Here is the final view of the finished board.
By this we come to an end of this blog on what is Agile Project Management. If you want to become a certified Agile Project Manager checkout the PRINCE2 Agile Certification training. This course is accredited by AXELOS and provides live online training by certified & experienced Project Managers.
You can also go for AgilePM certification training which is inline with AgilePM foundation & practitioner certification exam by APMG.