Introduction to Principles of Agile Project Management
Agile Project Management is a method of software development with an iterative approach to planning and guiding project processes that focus on quick roll-outs from an efficient and flexible team. It fragments the project into small sections completed in work sessions and runs the design phase to testing and quality assurance. These sessions are called Sprints, and the sections are called Iterations. In this topic, we are going to learn the principles of Agile Project Management.
In this era, where the business environment changes within a blink of an eye, mid-project changes have become a common sight. Such changes can cause a downfall for on-time and under-budget project delivery. To avoid such a scenario, APM can come to your rescue and provide high flexibility for project managers as well. With the help of APM, the continuous inflow of feedback and the few updates can be solved in shorter phases in the development cycle rather than updating everything. Thus, we can achieve the constant release of a steady and elevated level of quality incremental improvements through APM.
One of the benefits of APM is its ability to respond to issues that arise throughout the course of the project. Making necessary amendments at the right time can save resources and time and ultimately help deliver projects on time and under budget.
12 Basic Principles of Agile Project Management
The 12 basic principles that assist in successfully running Agile Project Management throughout a project are as follows:
Principle 1: Prioritize Customer Satisfaction through Continuous Delivery of Software
It is advisable to deliver smaller software deliverables with 100 percent functionality rather than delivering a single product to the stakeholders that may not serve the actual purpose. During the process of developing software, one should not forget the basic purpose of it, which is to solve a problem.
So, if the distance between the requirement gathering and customer feedback is reduced, then it will give you more opportunities to provide a satisfactory product to the end-user.
Principle 2: Welcoming Change
This is the core of Agile Project Management.
Changes can be implemented every now and then; it doesn’t need to wait. Agile processes harness change for customer’s competitive advantage.
Reduce the time between conceiving and implementing an important change. If the development process is taking the time, don’t panic to make a shift.
Principle 3: Deliver Working Software in a Shorter Time Span
The shorter the time frame between planning and delivery, the better opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the work. This will create more opportunities for end-users to record their input and provide the development team with feedback.
The previous developments were mainly documentation and had a benefit of the doubt of completing the 100 percent requirement. But the end result portrayed nothing at all. So this step was needed where actual changes are done and no documentation for better output.
Principle 4: Business People and Developers must work as Team
This is a crucial step, especially because it takes a lot of effort, and it doesn’t come naturally to people. It’s very easy to have a miscommunication when a project manager is handling a remotely located team. In such cases, communication tools are the best option to keep the project moving.
Principle 5: Build Projects around Motivated Individuals
Agile Project Management not only focuses on ways of development of better end product but also on the ways in which project managers can encourage a productive and effective development environment.
To maintain flexibility, productivity, effectiveness, efficiency, and agility, Agile teams are cross-trained and self-organized without any management restrictions. It is advised to avoid micromanagement as it restricts motivation and the team cannot reach up to its full potential.
Principle 6: Face-to-face Interaction for Efficient and Effective Communication
Communication is the key to great team performance. Emails, messaging, etc., are good forms of communication. However, there is no other substitute for face-to-face communication.
The environment a face-to-face communication can provide, no other mode can do. The clear and concise feedback and appreciation conveyed through face-to-face communication can motivate the entire team.
Principle 7: Working Software – A Measure of Progress
There are many matrixes through which the progress of a project can be measured. This is the primary way to do so. Also, this principle can be used to measure the wrong steps taken.
No matter how much effort was put in developing the software or the amount of documentation and changes that have been done, all will go in vain if the software is not functional.
Principle 8: Agile Processes Promote Sustainable Development
When the duration of a project runs for a longer period of time, then it is quite usual that the team will burn out. To avoid such a situation, work should be done in short productive terms because excessive overtime will lead to poor product quality. The project manager needs to decide the work pace of the team members so that they leave the office tired yet satisfied.
Principle 9: Continuous Attention to Technical Excellence and Good Design Enhance Agility
Polishing the code should be done on a regular basis. At the same time, it does not mean rushing. Developers should remove unwanted or confusing codes time-to-time. It should not be kept as a later task, which ultimately leads to never.
The relationship between the speed of production and the quality of coding is known as technical debt.
Principle 10: Simplicity is the Art of Maximizing
Keep everything simple and minimize the duration between comprehension and completion. Keep track of your team, count the working hours using tools like Dashable, Trello, and InVision. Don’t focus on the things that don’t matter, as it simply uses a lot of mental work and leads to an exhausted and underperforming team.
Principle 11: The Best Architecture, Requirements, and Designs Emerge from Self-Organizing Teams
A self-motivated team molds its own path. They don’t need to be directed on every path, for what needs to be done and what action is to be taken.
Although project managers are an essential component in the Agile process, they only play some role when it comes to architecture and design for a project.
Principle 12: Inspect & Adapt
This is an important principle of Agile Project Management. The team should, on a regular interval should reflect on how to become more productive and adjust its behavior accordingly. If there is a smart way to move the project forward, then the team should implement those adjustments.
When you’re in the middle of an Agile Development Project, keep these principles in mind, and you’ll be able to hold your team and project on the right track. But once you forget a single principle, the project and team will start to slip apart.
This has been a guide to the Principles of Agile Project Management. Here we discussed the basic concept with 12 Basic Principles of Agile Project Management. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –