From Our Blog
gile has become an increasingly popular approach to project management in recent years. According to the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession 2015: Capturing the Value of Project Management, more than one-third of organizations are using agile to manage their projects. Furthermore, the same report indicates that agile organizations generate 30% higher profits and grow their revenue 37% faster than their non-agile counterparts.
As defined in the Agile Manifesto, agile embraces rapid response through the use of iterative, incremental work and feedback from team members. While there are numerous ways to approach agile project management, they all center around methodology, mindset and metrics.
The first M in agile project management is methodology. Contrary to what some project managers believe, agile itself isn’t necessarily a methodology but rather an approach. When applying agile to project management, a separate methodology must be used. Some of the most common methodologies used in agile project management include scrum, waterfall and Kanban.
Next is mindset, which is equally as important as methodology. No matter how hard a project manager tries to prevent it, problems will arise and demands will change. Agile, however, embraces rapid response to resolve these conflicts through incremental work/releases, feedback, testing and more. Project managers and other team members must develop this mindset for their project to succeed.
Here’s a breakdown of some essential characteristics of the agile mindset in project management:
Treating failures as a learning experience
Desires to work closely with team members to achieve a common, shared goal
Strong thirst and desire for knowledge
Positive and optimistic attitude
Encourages feedback and input
Finally, metrics is a defining element of successful agile project management. Regardless of which methodology a project manager uses, he or she must monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPI); otherwise, the project manager is essentially driving in the dark. Metrics allow project managers to resolve problems that arise and adapt to changes.
Of course, different projects will use different metrics. For software development using a scrum-based methodology, for instance, may look at planned story points (PSP) to gauge the level of effort needed to complete a product. Other metrics are more universal and can be applied to all projects. Actual cost (AC) is a metric for the total to-day expenditure of a project. Cost performance index (CPI) is a metric of how much money a project has earned at a specific milestone.
The success of an agile approach in project management relies heavily on whether the three Ms work together. Project managers must use the right methodology, mindset and metrics to tackle the project. With an agile approach, however, project managers and teams will have an easier time meeting deadlines and completing objectives.