In the world of work management, you will find plenty of different methodologies that managers and executives use in their companies. However, there’s one contemporary methodology that’s simply unavoidable in the modern work environment — agile.
Saying that there’s quite a lot of buzz around the agile project management principles would be an understatement; but what does this approach actually entail? We’ll explore the basic principles of the agile approach right here!
What is agile?
Most teams that use agile project management work in software development. Basically, the main point of agile software development is to provide an iterative approach to software; allowing for team members to act on feedback swiftly and that every stage of your product cycle or sprint is filled with responsive changes.
The main point of agile, as the name might suggest, is effectiveness. Using agile, your team has better chances of achieving success on a particular project within a specific timeframe or budget. And seeing as agile has been in use for ages now — there are plenty of different versions of this management style. However, all of them utilize some of the basic core values.
The origin of agile
As we’ve mentioned above, most agile management methods are used in the world of software development. And the reason for that is pretty clear once you take the history of agile into consideration; after all, this industry is where agile methodologies first developed. Though, they’re also used to facilitate digital transformations in many other analog industries these days.
The history of agile goes back to the 1990s when teams of software developers began handling projects of increasing complexity — where more traditional methodologies such as Waterfall just weren’t good enough.
These old management styles viewed change as something costly and something to be avoided; seeing as they were geared towards manufacturing processes where any sort of change meant incredible costs. However, software development functioned differently. Instead of fearing change and looking at it like something that’s supposed to be constantly stable — software development needs constant change in order to succeed.
And this is something that the agile approach to project management recognizes and encourages. What if testing shows that something is not going to work out and needs immediate patching — or the design team makes a sudden pivot?
Agile management allows teams to constantly consider changes and come up with the best possible product in the end. This is why agile makes use of short development cycles titled “sprints” — the process is far more iterative, with constant testing and mutual feedback between developers.
Agile project management definitions
While agile project management arose from minds working on software development projects, you should know that this isn’t the only type of project that agile management can be useful in. Indeed, the principles and values behind this kind of management can be useful for marketing teams as well, and other kinds of product teams.
Due to the many different approaches to agile project management, it can be difficult to surmise a single definition. However, saying that agile project management represents an iterative and collaborative approach to project management would be the most accurate — and one that also must include adaptability to change and constant testing.
The core values of Agile
We’ve already talked about how agile project management is pretty heterogeneous. However, most approaches to management that are considered agile do share a set of core principles; mostly reliant on the credo outlined by the Agile Manifesto all the way back in 2001 by a team of software engineers.
Still, this approach contains plenty of interesting and useful takeaways that are perfectly applicable to other processes and campaigns, such as:
- Valuing interactions and individuals over tools and processes
- Valuing comprehensive documentation less than working software
- Valuing collaboration with customers more than contract negotiations
The fourth one is the most important tenet of agile product management, and thus deserves its own spot:
Valuing great responses to change more than sticking to a plan
There are plenty of other, more industry-specific principles derived from these core values. However, those four can be found guiding any kind of agile-powered project out there.
What are the team roles in the Agile approach?
Before we give you the rundown, we should point out that the company may not need to utilize each of these roles to implement the Agile approach. With that said, the most common roles in this field are:
- Scrum Master
- Product owner
- Team member
The scrum masters make sure that none of the sprints lose their track. They tackle any issues that come up during the process. The product owners set the goal for sprints, while also handling the team backlog. Team members do the work for each of the sprints, while stakeholders are kept up to date on the ongoing activities.
The 6 steps of Agile
Another point worthy of your attention is the rundown of the six steps of this methodology. Once again, this is a flexible approach and nothing is set in stone, but the key steps are usually as follows.
- Project planning
- Creating product roadmap
- Release planning
- Sprint planning
- Daily stand-ups
- Sprint review
We hope that this brief guide was of use to you and that you’ve managed to learn something new on the agile approach to project execution.