There is more and more talk about agile project management. But what is it in fact? In today’s fast-changing economic landscape, many firms have adopted Agile methodology in custom software development. The main reason for that is that building software transparently and quickly has become critical. From this article you will learn:
- What is Agile project management?
- What are the principles of the Agile method?
- The importance of the Agile approach
- How does Agile project management work?
Agile – what is it?
Agile was born in response to the demand for a more flexible approach to project management. Looking for an alternative to the old cascade method, 17 representatives of companies working on software development met at Snowbird and came up with the Agile Manifesto. This meeting took place in 2001 but the ideas and principles developed that day are still relevant today.
The principles of the Agile Manifesto
Jeff Sutherland, the co-author of the manifesto, describes the core principles1 as follows:
- people and individuals are more important than processes and tools,
- software that actually works is more important than comprehensive documentation,
- customer collaboration is more important than contract negotiation,
- responding to change is more important than following a plan.
However, if you prefer Wikipedian definitions more, here are its twelve principles:
- Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even in late development.
- Deliver working software frequently (weeks rather than months).
- Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers.
- Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted.
- Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location).
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
- Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
- Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly.
Many of them were established with software in mind. However, the underlying agile concepts are applicable to a wide range of teams, including marketing or product agile teams.
The importance of the Agile approach
For me, the Agile approach means making sure that the entire process of software development is constantly progressing. The term “agile” comes from the fact that to meet a task, you need to deal with various issues. These could be formalities, technical blockers, or even very mundane arrangements between the team and the client. Regardless of what stands in the way, these issues should be resolved, and problems eliminated. The team should deliver not just new functionality and new code, but also new value to the customer.
About solving problems in project management, you can read my previous article here.
How does Agile Project Management work?
What does it look like on a day-to-day basis with real projects? Of course, every project is different and sometimes it’s hard to meet all the manifesto principles. However, you should always go for it because only in this way will the team be able to get the closest to perfection when it comes to software development.
At Applover, we use Scrum. What’s important, Jeff also took part in the creation of Scrum. It’s a tool that allows you to transfer the values of the Agile Manifesto into your everyday work. In short, we can say that Scrum is a framework for the Agile Manifesto, but exploring it deeply is a topic for a separate article.
Worth mentioning is also that by using the Agile framework in our software development process, it’s not that we don’t use contracts, we don’t have developed scope, or that everywhere is chaos because of no plan. In reality, it looks a little bit different. You need to find the golden mean, a happy balance, that will allow you to ensure the fastest possible development while keeping all aspects in control. It’s like trying to balance on a tightrope.
Do you want to find out more about agile project management?
Applover’s agile project management
Agile software development gives project managers a very flexible way to manage the project. The advantage is that when you implement agile, you can at any point change and iterate your project. Both team members and your clients can work more effectively. If you’re considering which methodology you should choose, you may start by trying some of the principles that will be working best for you. Feel free to get in touch with Applover, whenever you need top tech experts specializing in agile project management.