Agile Project Management — Best Agile Practices for Teams
Lately, the agile methodology is being increasingly adopted across numerous industries.
Agile methodology is a philosophy that traditionally worked for software development processes and is now being used by the project management community. It consists of small development cycles aka “sprints” that help to keep the focus on bringing continuous improvement in the work process or the product. Each development cycle or sprint is basically a predetermined time frame in which a particular task/project needs to be completed, followed by teams reviewing their performance and gathering ideas to improve what is achieved.
“Almost three-quarters (71%) of organizations nowadays have reported using agile project management approaches sometimes, often, or always. Source — Project Management Institute (pulse-of-the-profession report)”
Since it’s beyond question that agile has become a methodology every project manager and the team should have in place, here are some of the best agile practices that you need to be familiar with. Just go over these practices and check how many of them are actually being performed by your team.
Break down bigger projects into smaller tasks. With this agile practice, teams can be clear about new features and functionalities that need to be included in the project/product before the final delivery.
Everyone in the business world vouches for the fact that team meetings are the key to successful projects. Now, agile implementation insists on keeping team meetings regular and short. This practice allows teams to keep an eye on their performance by explicitly stating what’s done and what needs to be done. Furthermore, this gives them a quick heads up on any obstacle that may come in the way, thereby allowing them to eliminate them ASAP.
As mentioned earlier, one of the agile principles includes carefully breaking down complex projects into smaller tasks/subtasks. Working on achieving smaller-scale goals, in the long run, will contribute to the product’s overall completion.
Using project management tools
Putting a project management tool or software in place for agile implementation allows teams to better structure their work process and improve communication. From file management to project progress tracking, a professional project management software solution can help to streamline all the efforts it takes to manage a project successfully.
Setting communication guidelines
The success or failure of a team in a project is decided by the type of communication they have. Having a seamless communication can really come in handy for teams that include people from different countries or continents. It not only makes goals transparent but speeds up the process.
Visualizing workflows is an essential part of the agile development cycle because visualizing workflows on Kanban boards or whiteboards makes it easier for teams to keep track of tasks and determine the progress status of the overall project. In addition, this practice also points out the hurdles in the work process in a more accurate manner.
Limiting work in progress
Under agile methodology, there are fixed constraints for the work in progress and each task is expected to be completed within a stipulated timeframe. This practice limits the total number of tasks/subtasks in progress, thereby limiting the amount of unfinished work and eliminating the need for re-prioritizing tasks in the to-do list.
With respect to project management, reducing waste in agile methodology refers to the elimination of tasks, files, or events that hold least or no value to the overall project management process. Eliminating waste gives teams a clear direction for how they can add actual value to the process and achieve the desired result within time.
Continuous and constructive feedback
Continuous and constructive feedback sharing is quite important in agile methodology. Practicing the habit of continuous feedback between team members helps everyone understand how things are going along within the process and what needs improvement.
To successfully implement agile project management, there is a need to constantly bring improvements throughout the process. This one practice helps a team to achieve a product/result that exactly matches the requirements and guidelines provided to the team with minimal waste.
Before the final delivery, agile implementation suggests teams to run tests in order to check the functionality and usability of every individual aspect of the project. This practice helps team members to identify situations where things might not work as planned and allows them to make improvements in time.
Keeping the principle of iterations in mind, agile methodology focuses on making small releases throughout the lifecycle of project management. This practice gives teams a clear view of how the final product/outcome is coming along, identify glitches during the project management cycle, and finally, fix everything once and for all.
Focusing on flow
Keeping a close eye on the flow of the work provides teams a better way to move along the process. It facilitates them to maintain speed and smoothness throughout the project. With this agile practice, project management becomes more steady and predictable, allowing teams to deliver projects on the desired due date.
Use burndown charts for sprints
Using burnout charts to monitor project progress is a great way to keep everything and everyone on track. These charts provide a graphical representation of the work that has been done and the total work pending against time. It brings clarity to the project scope and eliminates scope creep by identifying potential risks that might occur with undelivered tasks/subtasks.
Bonus tip: Agile is a popular methodology which is widely used by teams who need constant insight into the progress of the work at each stage of the project management cycle. But agile project management demands agile support, that means every team that emphasis on agile methodology must arm themselves with the best PM tools and software solutions.
If you are looking for team support, reach out for a free discovery call.