What is Agile Project Management (PM)
The Agile project management methodology is the process by which projects can be managed and implemented incrementally by breaking the project into small manageable pieces of work. These small pieces of work are presented to stakeholders as functioning products which provide business value, labeled by the term features. Agile teams address a project by breaking it up into small logical increments, referred to as sprints, in order to deliver features incrementally until the entire project is completed. Essentially Agile projects build capabilities one piece or a few pieces at a time, focusing on the most critical pieces to providing business value first.
What Makes Agile Project Management Unique
There are numerous differences that exist between Agile Project Management and traditional project management methodologies such as the Waterfall Project Management Method. One major difference between Agile and other methodologies is that Agile project management doesn’t require all the requirements of the project to be documented prior to beginning the project. In sequential project management processes such as waterfall, the design of the entire solution is traditionally completed and verified prior to development, testing, and implementation. The aforementioned process is not the case for the incrementation based Agile methodology. This does not mean that there isn’t a vision of the end goal. However, an emphasis is placed on delivering the most valuable features in the first few sprints of the project.
What Similarities does Agile PM share with Traditional PM
Like tradition PM, there needs to be a dedicated team with a clear vision of the final goal of the project; Stakeholders understand the deliverables of the project and is communicated with effectively throughout the project lifecycle; The requirements must be fully understood by the team; There is a managed and shared project schedule.
Benefits of Agile Project Management
Unlike sequential project management methodologies, Agile doesn’t require the completion of all design and requirements documentation, along with development, testing, and implementation of the entire project before the product can be delivered to the client. The incremental nature of the methodology allows for a more rapid presentation of deliverables or features to stakeholders, as well as a considerable increase in the flexibility of product requirements adjustments. This has been extremely beneficial for businesses that need to receive product benefits as soon as possible, within budget, and is in favor of adjusting original project speculations due to changing demands.
There are several Agile methodologies. Four of the main Agile methodologies used today are:
- Lean Software Development
- XP (Extreme Programming)
- The Kanban Method
Values of Agile PM as presented in the Agile Manifesto
You can grasp an understanding of the operational culture promoted by the Agile Project Management community. Below are the values presented by the original developers of the Agile principles:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Here are some books you can read about Agile Project Management that may serve as an additional valuable resource: