Today, businesses must adapt to thrive in the digital age. Organizations are constantly pivoting to meet customer demands and stay ahead of the curve. This can be challenging for companies operating within specific industries or with limited resources. It’s especially true for project management teams that operate within highly regulated industries like healthcare, insurance, and finance.
This article will discuss why you should use agile project management, what it entails, and how it can positively impact your business processes by reducing red tape, increasing collaboration between team members, and improving efficiency across your organization as a whole.
What is Agile Project Management?
Agile project management is a software development methodology that focuses on speed, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. Compared to traditional project management methodologies, agile practices are heavily focused on the team’s ability to react quickly to change and deliver results faster. This is one of the main reasons that agile has become so popular in industries like software development, where the nature of the work is highly unpredictable.
Agile project management was developed by a group of software engineers in the early 2000s who were frustrated by the rigid, waterfall model of project management. The agile methodology takes into account the widely held belief that software projects have an element of uncertainty in them and therefore cannot be planned definitively. In contrast, waterfall project management assumes that the project objectives are known and unchanging and that the project can be broken down into a series of steps that can be followed in sequence and completed within a set period of time.
Why Is Agile Project Management So Important?
Companies that use traditional project management methodologies often struggle to keep up with changes in technology, evolving business goals, and customer needs. This is because project plans are often created without input from the team members closest to the work. Once the plan is approved, it’s difficult for individuals to change the direction of their work without running into major scheduling issues. As a result, team members spend their time completing tasks that no longer make sense in the context of the business objectives. This can create a backlog of work that negatively impacts employee productivity and the company’s bottom line. Agile project management can help to alleviate these issues by promoting the use of short project plans that can be easily adjusted based on feedback from team members.
These plans are designed to promote teamwork, transparency, and give stakeholders insight into the work being done on their behalf. Additionally, because agile project managers have less control over their team members’ daily activities, they rely heavily on collaboration to complete their projects successfully.
Benefits of Implementing Agile Practices
When properly implemented, agile practices can help to eliminate a number of issues that plague businesses throughout the world. Agile practices help teams to:
– Adopt a more sustainable pace of work
– When companies are newly formed or growing at a rapid pace, it can be difficult to maintain a sustainable work pace. This can often lead to team members burning out or feeling overwhelmed by their workload.
– Learn from past mistakes
– One of the key benefits of agile project management is that it encourages team members to reflect on their past work and use those lessons to inform their future decisions.
– Improve communication
– Collaboration is one of the central tenants of agile project management, which means that team members are spending more time communicating with one another.
– Deliver projects with reduced risk
– By encouraging continuous reflection on a project’s objectives and making changes as necessary, project managers can decrease the risk of the team delivering a product or service that doesn’t meet customer expectations.
4 Ways Agile Practices Can Benefit Your Business
As we’ve seen above, there are a number of ways that agile practices can benefit your business. However, there are a few specific ways in which agile practices can positively impact your business in particular. Those include:
– Improved project visibility
– Several of the key practices within the agile methodology are designed to improve the visibility of projects.
– Better customer satisfaction
– The more involved stakeholders are in the development process, the more likely it is that they’ll be satisfied with the product or service that’s delivered.
– Reduced project risk
– By improving the visibility of projects, you can also reduce the risk of unplanned changes that might throw a project off track.
– Increased productivity
– When team members know what their responsibilities are and how their work impacts others, they’re more likely to be focused and effective in their work.
3 Problems with Current Agile Practices in Businesses
While agile project management has proven to be successful in many organizations, there are a few nuances that have proven to be problematic. If you aren’t already familiar with these issues, it’s important that you understand them so that you can ensure the implementation of agile practices is successful. These problems include:
– Stakeholder frustration
– In the early days of agile project management, team members were effectively empowered to make decisions without consulting the stakeholders who requested the work. Today, stakeholders are more likely to be involved in the project, but they may experience frustration if they feel they aren’t being listened to or have limited insight into what their team members are working on.
– Lack of project visibility
– With limited insight into the work being done on their behalf, stakeholders may feel as though they have limited control over the project and lack any accountability for the outcome.
– Lack of resources
– In an effort to respond to change quickly and efficiently, many companies are adopting agile practices but aren’t fully training their employees in the process. This can lead to a lack of consistency and may prevent your team members from operating at full capacity.
How to Incorporate Lean Practices in an Agile Environment?
If you’ve identified problems with your existing agile approach, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to address them. One way to do so is by incorporating lean practices into your agile environment. Lean project management has some similarities to agile, but it also has some key differences. It’s important that you understand those differences so that you can make the necessary adjustments to ensure your business is maximizing the benefits of agile.
The first step to integrating lean practices into an agile environment is to select an agile methodology to follow. While there are numerous agile methodologies out there, some have proven to be more successful in large organizations than others. This is largely due to the amount of change they require. For example, Scrumbut is a methodology that’s built on the principles of Scrum but also calls for some additional changes. Other methodologies, like the Risk-Value-Driven (RVD) methodology, require even less change in order to be implemented effectively.
What is Included in an Agile PM Process?
The exact process that your agile project management team follows will depend on the methodology they’ve chosen to follow. Generally speaking, though, most agile projects follow a similar process. The important thing to remember is that this process is often very different from the process that your team uses in their day-to-day work. Once you’ve selected an agile methodology, it’s important that you include the following steps in the process:
– Understand the business problem
– To ensure that the project is adding value to the business, project managers must understand the problem that they’re solving before they begin to brainstorm potential solutions.
– Create a team
– While it might seem obvious, it’s important to note that team composition makes a significant impact on project success. A project team that is well-rounded and balances many different skill sets is more likely to succeed than a project team that consists of individuals who all have the same skill set.
– Plan the project
– The team will use the problem statement and the composition of their team to determine the best course of action for solving the problem. Once they’ve decided on a solution, they’ll create a project plan that outlines the work that needs to be done, the resources that will be required to do the work, and the timeline they expect the work to take.
– Break down the work
Many of these fields have strict compliance standards and often require lengthy documentation processes. In order to streamline business operations while still meeting regulatory requirements, many companies are embracing agile project management strategies.