So, what exactly is this agile project management you hear so much about, and how do you learn it? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more.
What is Agile Project Management?
If the combination of work flexibility and high-quality results sounds enticing to you, your workplace may want to consider learning agile project management. The agile methodology basics are meant to introduce your workplace to a world of adaptability and smoother processes to create content or products that wow your clients.
The agile approach includes breaking down the work process into multiple steps intended to reach bi-weekly team goals. The agile project management style fosters a higher level of collaboration between team members and reduces the number of mistakes made during the creation process.
In short, agile project management is a collaborative and iterative approach to creating and delivering value to stakeholders that relies on flexibility and adaptability to drive results.
Dive into the unique backstory of agile and why so many companies are favoring this methodology over traditional project management styles.
A Look Into Agile History
Let’s take a step back to the 1990s. Companies are beginning to notice a major lag in the development process, falling behind with the advancing technology of the time. The current creation process being widely used lacks a certain flexibility and autonomy that feels necessary to adapt to the changing times. Instead of a proactive approach to the design and development of software, companies are in a responsive state in an attempt to keep up.
The lag in the development process has major repercussions for companies. Customers are not happy with the results. The lack of flexibility and autonomy delay time to market — problems go months, if not years, unsolved, giving rise to new problems.
Fast forward to 2001. After years of re-evaluating the work process to create a more adaptable environment that still produced reliable results, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born. The agile project management structure arose in the workforce and took on the form we know now. We’ll take a closer look at the Manifesto in the next section.
Today, companies across industries have adopted the agile project management style. With this versatile system in place, companies can create consistently high-quality and dependable products that meet and even exceed industry expectations. By establishing a system that revolves around the four main core values, companies can streamline processes and improve team-wide collaboration.
The Agile Manifesto
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is evergreen — so much so that a range of industries are able to adapt their workplace to fit this methodology. So what exactly are these values and principles we should be working toward as we shift to an agile mindset?
According to the Manifesto, the four core values are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
In the Manifesto, the creators highlight the idea that the bolded left side text above takes precedence over the right side text. Though both sides of each phrase are of high value, the agile project management style focuses greatly on the relationships between people emphasized by the bolded left side. When first implementing an agile project management style, keeping these four core values in mind will help in establishing the agile basics.
12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto
In addition to the four core values, there are 12 principles that make up the basics of agile project management. These 12 principles were established in the original Manifesto and find their way into the agile workforce daily. The agile principles are as follows:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout projects.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
While these values and principles can feel a bit overwhelming, many of them will come naturally as you focus on the agile project management basics in your workplace.
Who Can Use Agile?
Though the agile methodology got its start in the software business, its principles and core values can be applied across a variety of industries. Companies in fields from marketing and finance to radio stations like National Public Radio (NPR) have tackled the challenge of shifting to an agile mindset in the workplace to produce high-quality results. These industries and more have seen a change in the way their teams handle day-to-day problems using this more flexible and team-oriented method. The entire agile process, including its project management methodology, provides the wiggle room to accommodate the needs and necessary processes of your organization.
The Benefits of an Agile Environment
Though there are a plethora of benefits to learning the agile methodology, we’ve highlighted a few key ones you can take back to your team when discussing the agile project management style.
Improved Client Satisfaction
Happy clients = happy work life! In the agile methodology, customer collaboration takes on such a high priority that it has made its way right into the four core values. Working closely with your customers improves the level of communication and sets clearer expectations for your team. With a well-established funnel of collaboration, your team can produce quality deliverables and problem solve to increase customer satisfaction.
Increased Employee Morale
By learning agile project management, you’ll likely see employee morale boost. Having the flexibility to take on new projects in a collaborative format gives employees the freedom to work on deliverables that match their skills. This allows them to share ideas and opinions openly and problem solve together within their agile teams. Employees understand their value to the team and are more likely to collaborate freely with other team members efficiently and creatively.
More Flexibility = High Productivity
On top of working with projects that draw employee interest, the increased flexibility typically leads to a higher rate of productivity. Priorities can adjust as needed in this adaptable environment and feedback is available to improve processes and deliverables. Furthermore, learning and implementing agile project management offers a sense of predictability as it decreases the amount of work that an employee is facing by breaking deliverables into smaller time periods.
Start Your Journey with LurnAgile
Now that you’re equipped with the agile project management basics, it’s time to become agile! The first step after you’ve built your dream team of employees is to get certified. Luckily, LurnAgile offers various certification courses to prepare you and your team for this new method of work. We pride ourselves in our experienced team of agile coaches with 10 years or more of experience in the environment. With LurnAgile, your team will have the opportunity to receive fun-filled, interactive training to prepare you for the transition into an agile atmosphere. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how you can bring the agile mindset to your workplace.