Agile Project Management - A Simple Guide

1 Sep, 2022 | Read in 7 minutes

This article provides an overview of the Agile methodology and how it differs from other project management methods.


As a Project Manager (PM), entrepreneur, or business owner, you may spend your day trying to achieve many different moving goals. Stakeholders want one thing on Wednesday and another on Friday. The rapid emergence of new technology also forces you to make adjustments. That's why you need a project management method to make it simpler and neater.

Some time ago, we discussed Scrum and Kanban. In this article, we will discuss one of the popular project management methods, Agile.

Based on a survey from Capterra, Agile helps improve the quality of work and deliver value swiftly; unfortunately, only 17% of PMs use it.

One word that represents the Agile methodology is versatility. This method takes a customer-centred approach. All team members immediately know of any changes, so miscommunication is significantly reduced.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project Management is a way of managing projects that emphasise customer satisfaction, flexibility, team collaboration, and iterative development (i.e. a process of breaking a project into phases). It involves constantly collaborating with stakeholders to improve results at every stage.

The main advantage of using Agile is the ability to respond to problems that arise during the project. Making an essential change to a project at the perfect time can save resources and help to deliver a successful project on time and within budget. This is why this method represents adaptability and responsiveness to change.

Agile vs Scrum

It's easy to see why Agile and Scrum are often considered the same. They both rely on an iterative process, breaking down phases into smaller and continuous interactions.

The critical difference between Agile and Scrum is that Agile is a project management philosophy that works with principles and values. In contrast, Scrum is a specific Agile methodology for facilitating projects. Simply, Agile is a philosophy, and Scrum is a method for implementing it.

Remember that Scrum is an Agile approach, but Agile does not necessarily mean Scrum.

The Life Cycle

The Agile development life cycle has a structured series of stages. This methodology has six phases.

1. Requirements or concept

The process of determining the project's scope, such as requirements and budget. The team will prioritise the most critical projects if there are multiple projects.

2. Plan or inception

When the concept has been outlined, it's time to build a team and make a plan. The PM will check their colleagues' availability and pick the best people for the project while providing them with the necessary tools and resources. They can start designing and making mock-ups in this phase.

3. Develop or iteration

It bears to be the most prolonged phase. Let's call it the foundation of Agile, allowing developers to create products that work and make improvements to satisfy the user.

4. Test and release

The Quality Assurance (QA) team must perform tests to ensure the software fully functions. When there is a bug, the developer will fix it and re-enter the iteration phase.

5. Deploy and Maintenance

The fifth phase is the deployment and maintenance process. The product is fully functional for consumers, but during this phase, the team will support keeping the system running smoothly.

6. Retirement

There are two reasons why the product will enter the retirement phase; either it is replaced with a new product/system (update), or the system is outdated and incompatible. First, the team will notify the user to migrate to the new system. Then they will remove support for the existing product.

Some teams adopt the life cycle to the needs of the project. But in general, it is almost the same.

Agile Manifesto

As you learn about Agile principles, you will be familiar with the Agile Manifesto, or a document that focuses on the four values ​​and 12 principles for developing products.

4 Pillars of Agile

There are four main pillars of Agile Project Management. Let’s cover the list below.

1. Individuals over processes and tools
In Agile, people are considered the most valuable, as they are the ones who basically determine the project's destiny. Empowering the right people will lead to success.

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
The team believes that getting work done is more important than getting stuck in endless planning and documentation.

3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
The team believes that it is better to work with customers to get feedback than to protect itself with a contract and risk losing the project.

4. Responding to change by following a plan
We all know that changes in the development process are bound to happen. Agile allows teams to be flexible, quickly switching strategies when things change.

12 Agile Principles

This framework also has 12 principles. If Agile is a house, the four values ​​are the support pillars, while the 12 principles are the rooms you can design in the place.

  1. Satisfy customers through early, continuous improvement and delivery.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in the project.
  3. Deliver value frequently.
  4. Break the silos of your projects.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals.
  6. The most effective way to communicate is face-to-face.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Maintain a sustainable working pace.
  9. Continuous excellence enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential.
  11. Self-organising teams generate the most value.
  12. Regularly reflect and adjust your way of work to boost effectiveness.

What becomes clear from the four pillars and 12 principles of Agile is, above all, collaborative and people-driven. This applies not only to work processes but also to products. That means having a target to create something that is functional and provides value to consumers.

The Benefits

Agile project management seems like a modern methodology, but it's proven to be more than just a flash in the pan. Teams become more flexible and adapt quickly to the principles and values ​​in this framework. Here are the benefits of using this method.

1. More freedom and happiness

Project management allows teams to work on models that match their strengths. This freedom will create new ideas and innovation in problem-solving. The team will see that their idiom can make a difference and actual results to the project.

In addition, the emphasis on collaboration and communication help foster more transparent, creative, and happier teams.

2. Reduce project cost

Agile encourages teams to self-regulate to gain insight into what features are necessary and unnecessary in the product. This process allows the team to better understand the product and avoid wasting money and time which goes into unwanted features.

3. Collaborative teamwork

One of the principles of Agile says that the most effective way to communicate with a team is face-to-face. Through this principle, you can motivate the team to connect more with each other. Communication will result in collaborative teamwork.

4. Teams become adaptable

The main benefit of this framework is its super fast adaptability. When there is a revision in the project, the team will respond and switch the strategy without disrupting the project flow.

5. Greater customer satisfaction

You might remember that there is one verse about collaboration with consumers in the four Agile values. Well, one of the benefits of collaborating with consumers is increased satisfaction.

Agile drives teams to hook up with consumers and stakeholders to ensure that teams create products that actually solve their problems.

When do we use Agile Project Management?

Stop thinking that Agile is fit for all types of projects. Although this method is about responding to change, not every project requires the same level of evolution. So when is the right time to use it?

1. When the project is uncertain and too complex

If a project has a lot of things that are not clear, this is a perfect time to use Agile. This methodology will help deal with the uncertainty and change as they come up.

2. Projects with high customer-engagement

Since this methodology emphasises the collaboration process and customer feedback, it is ideal for projects with high customer engagement.

3. Projects with tight deadlines

A suitable method for project management with tight deadlines is Agile. This framework helps to eliminate unneeded features and move the essential part to priority.

Getting started with Agile Project Management

In the traditional product development process, consumers are only involved in the planning phase. So that when the product is almost finished, many errors and features are not suitable for consumers.

You can combine Agile with several types of implementation methods, such as Scrum. In addition to being more focused, Scrum will facilitate the tracking process of the project because there are Sprints every week. However, you can also combine it with Kanban.

The critical point is that no matter what type of Agile methodology you run, your team needs tools to maximise their productivity and time. Using a cutting-edge tool like VirtualSpace is the best recommendation to give your teams the tool they need. Teams can manage Scrum or create Kanban boards without leaving flexibility and collaboration behind. Try it right now!

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