How to Quickly Implement Agile Project Management

July 9, 2017

The modern business environment often functions at a hurried pace that is constantly changing and innovating, with new products and services hitting the market every day. In this climate, the old business models are deemed too slow and methodical to keep up with the constant demand for new ideas, gadgets and targeted services. In the wake of this accelerated speed mode, a new type of agile approach has consequently emerged. Agile project management methodology replaces slower traditional project management.

What Is Agile Project Management?

The agile approach to project management helps companies take a long and complicated process of bringing goods and services to market, and breaks it down into smaller pieces that take less time to complete. After breaking the process down into smaller chunks, employees are able to bypass all the normal hassles that slow down development, including bureaucracy and endless analysis of differing ideas.

Compared with traditional management approaches, agile can offer a number of major benefits, such as:

• It increases team productivity and employee satisfaction.

• It minimizes the waste inherent in redundant meetings, repetitive planning, excessive documentation, quality defects, and low-value product features, as noted by the Harvard Business Review. [1]

Agile innovation makes it easier to work on all parts of development and design at the same time so these parts work in tandem instead of one at a time. This provides a faster completion time for any project, especially in comparison to traditional project management styles.

You can also apply an agile project plan to strategy. This is the phase of traditional project management that has taken the longest to resolve, as companies traveled through a discovery phase, assessed detailed research, planned for possible outcomes and finally decided on a direction. Using agile management tools, your company can replace strategy with vision and innovation to keep up with the demands of new products.

What Is Scrum?

Originally created by the software design industry, Scrum is a new way of handling project management. Highly empowered cross-functional teams do, by definition, need some form of matrix management, but that requires primarily that different disciplines learn how to work together simultaneously rather than separately and sequentially. [1] Scrum takes one or two projects at a time and hands them over to a small team with a Sprint deadline of less than 30 days. Each day, the team holds a brief meeting to see where the project is, what remains to be done and how individuals can help meet those goals. At the end of the Sprint, the product is mostly ready to ship and meet market demands. After the Sprint ends, there is a review of the Sprint to determine any means of improvement. The cycle begins again after selecting a couple more projects.

Roles and Responsibilities in Scrum

Scrum has a few primary roles with specific responsibilities. These include:

1. The Product Owner designs a Product Backlog. This is a wish list of projects and products that the product owner believes need to take priority over others.

2. It is the job of a Scrum Master to keep the team focused on the project and the deadline. The Scrum Master holds a daily meeting of approximately 15 minutes to see where the team is at and assign help to areas of the team that need it most.

3. The Development Team works within the Scrum and takes responsibility for organizing, managing and completing all the necessary work for the project during the Sprint period.

4. A Scrum Team is a product management group that includes the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team.

Visual mediums play a key role. A Burn-down Chart is a chart that shows the progress made by the team and the amount of tasks left to be done compared to the time available.

A Burn-up Chart shows the amount of work completed toward a goal compared to the amount of time that has passed. This allows team members to see what has already been accomplished.

The Daily Scrum is a timed event of more or less 15 minutes held daily to determine the plans for the following day. At this meeting, changes in direction are discussed, personnel are allocated to meet new needs and updates are added to the charts.

Adopting agile project management methodology and Scrum as your own business model can help your company compete in the new business market. As your company practices this business model, it becomes more competitive and innovative than other businesses in your field.