Practical Tips on Agile Project Management

Practical Tips on Agile Project Management

Project teams globally have been keen to adopt agile project management and best practices to deliver more value with less.  The objective is also to do it incrementally and qualitatively instead of quality.

It goes without saying that, the benefits of agile project management have led to teams across industries to make it a part of their core business strategy. Some of which are

  • Greater customer engagement
  • High quality offering (product or service)
  • Many small yet quick wins
  • Ability to work with ambiguity
  • Less hierarchy & reduced administrative hurdles
  • Instant and incremental gratification

Basically, the whole concept of Self-Organizing teams presented by agile methodologies comes as a breather given the way teams have grown over the decades.

It’s like if something fails the impact will be that of like falling of the house of cards.

Hence, organizations want to be nimble and stay away from a waterfall type business scenario.

Why?

Because technology and market conditions change frequently than anticipated.

What looks like a silver bullet today; maybe absolutely worthless a few quarters down the road?

Let us go over some of the practical tips that will help us maximize the benefits of agile project management.

Greater Customer Engagement & Satisfaction

This is by far the most crucial benefit that all businesses can’t have enough.

On the other hand, agile methodology makes customer engagement a key point with established events such as Sprint Review.  Here is how it goes:

  • Incremental business outcome is delivered by means of completed sprints.
  • Customer involvement is made primary by means of a Product Owner (PO).
  • Product Owner is the customer’s voice & in charge to deliver customer’s requirements.
  • Customer’s requirements are maintained as a backlog, owned & prioritized by the PO.
  • Product backlog items are picked up in Sprints for development and release.
  • Sprint Review is done to demo the feature released as part of the sprint.
  • Customer feedback is received and taken as inputs for sprint retrospective and/or backlog as applicable.

Now if you see the above set of events, it all starts with the customer and ends with him too!

Product Backlog is the customer wish list.

Active Sprint is the wish turned into command.

Sprint Review is delivering the wish.

And most importantly, this cycle continues.

So what does this mean for us – more and more customer involvement, engagement and thereby satisfaction.

Pro Tip: The more interactions you have with the customer the more feedback you receive and when customer engagement is high, project success is easier.  

High Quality Offering (Product or Service)

Ensuring your product or service offerings perform with optimum quality is a given. It is non-negotiable.

Adopting the agile best practices for developing and maintaining your products and services help you with quicker go to market, stay nimble and upgrade/revamp your offerings without much overhead.

And this is possible because:

  • You can test the product-market fit with a minimum viable product (MVP).
  • The initial investment in terms of time, resources and $$ is minimal.
  • Major error or omission is caught before too much damage is done.
  • Constant review & feedback leads to timely improvisations.
  • Course correction is easier and less expensive.

Thus you are constantly in a continuous service improvement mode!

The team is motivated to work on latest trends, technologies and products. There is increased participation, ideas and a spur of many little innovations of great impact by the team.

Pro Tip: Quick attempts and tweaks lets the team’s creative juices flow. The associated research and learnings add to the organization’s technology expertise. There is more collaboration & business to technology alignment across the board.

Many small yet quick wins

One of the top most benefit of agile project management is achieving quick wins that are of measurable value.

Every release leads to a step closer to the overall project goal. Conversely, if things go wrong, each release also shows how far off are you.

Either ways you are actually closure to success because:

  • Sprint retrospectives give you food for thought.
  • Team can identify what worked, what did not and why.
  • Identified mistakes & learnings can be quickly implemented.
  • Critical bugs are picked up early in the cycle preventing major setbacks.
  • Teams see immediate value of their contribution to the project.

Stacking these success bricks leads to building a robust offering.  And most importantly, recurring mistakes can totally be avoided.

On the other hand, positive outcomes reinforces the team’s commitment to the project. The many quick wins boosts their confidence & adds to a greater sense of ownership and accountability.

Pro Tip: Sprint retrospective enhances the team’s view of the project, provides greater clarity & motivates them to replicate these wins more often with increasing impact across sprints.

Ability to work with ambiguity

No project is above scope creep because none of them ever have all the requirements finalized.

There is always change of business priorities, lack of clarity at the initial stages, new stakeholders joining the project plus shifting stakeholder requirements.

This is where, the iterative sprint model works best for teams to work with customers with unclear requirements or an undefined scope.

Backlog is the ownership of the product owner. And with an undefined scope, backlog prioritization becomes easy because there are minimal items on it at the moment.

It also presents an opportunity to innovate & improvise an idea closer to the impending business requirements.

And as project progresses, the teams become adept in working with project ambiguity.

In the long run, the scope creep in fact reduces leading to better collaboration between the service provider and customer. Not only that, risks of project failure are greatly minimized.

Pro Tip: Each development is in absolute alignment with the definition of done as defined by the Product Owner/project sponsor. Thus the deliverable is a complete & usable increment of the main product.

Less hierarchy & reduced administrative hurdles

Agile Scrum is all about “self-organizing teams”. All skills required to get the sprint delivered are brought together into a single team.

This reduces scope of inter-department conflicts & bureaucracy to a great extent. The teams know that they have all the ammo & help they may need right next to them.

Additionally, the product owner and scrum master are instrumental in removing distractions for the team. They prevent the team from any impediments that may derail the sprint.

There is greater autonomy for the Scrum team to decide what they want to work on next from the backlog and how many stories or epics or tasks they will deliver by end of the sprint.

Basically, the teams really get their skin in the game and are more eager to get to the end point successfully.

It surely gets the team the adrenaline rush of instant gratification when what they have done is being valued by the customer.

Pro Tip: Sprint reviews by the product owner along with the scrum team allows for unfiltered feedback. The team sees how exactly the customer reacts to their work.

Wrapping Up!

We have seen a lot of practical benefits of agile project management. Though many may seem far-fetched.

Reality says otherwise. The adoption of Kanban, scrum, Kanban or hybrid for that matter are proof of industries globally joining the agile bandwagon. All in their own small or large ways.

The rising popularity of the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles are also testimony to agile adoption.

But that is not the point.

Given today’s business landscape, it isn’t advisable to go for a big bang approach.

It is all about:

  • constant validation of the outcomes
  • the impact of the delivered results
  • measuring progress
  • achieving goals quickly
  • aligning outcomes to the end goals

Whether you are a developer, project manager, product owner, scrum master, business owner & entrepreneur the above 5 points help drive the focus in the right direction.

How far off are you in your agile project management journey?

Haven’t started yet? Awesome!

It isn’t too late. Start Today!

Your recently viewed posts:

One thought on “Practical Tips on Agile Project Management”

Leave A Reply
  1. […] So, if you truly want to build your project management culture around agile, then you should look no further than the masters for help and expert tips. […]

Comments are closed.

Get latest and more exciting information on what’s going on with Orangescrum right into your inbox.