As the Agile Project Management approach becomes more mainstream, organisations considering its implementation are deluged with questions.
Is agile project management right for us? Does our current structure support this change? How will we measure progress?
Though replacing traditional project management methods may seem like a leap, taking an agile approach can actually increase productivity, improve accountability and speed up delivery across all team members.
But simply designating an Agile Project Manager (PM) is not enough. The entire organisation must support, engage and embrace new methods and metrics in order to reap the benefits.
One of the key strengths of traditional project management practices is that they provide a robust, time-tested toolkit of metrics and reporting techniques that grant immediate visibility into the timelined progress of a project. Each assignment is divided into a series of granular, linear tasks making it easier to track development.
With the agile project management approach however, the emphasis is more focused on the achievement of the mission than a master checklist of tasks. Agile PMs are dedicated to upholding the project vision while empowering team members to fulfil responsibilities through collaboration and self-direction.
Often many staffers are working simultaneously on different aspects of a project to meet a common end goal, which means their accomplishments may not translate easily into traditional charts and checkboxes. However, there are plenty of effective agile tools and metrics to measure and report progress—if your agile PMs are strong enough to mentor teams and clients through the process and your organisation can be flexible and open to new methodologies.
Re-thinking Project Metrics
The agile PM is responsible for understanding the progress the team is making and for reporting the pace and movement to key stakeholders.
The tools utilised are designed to give a range of project tracking depths—from top-level, at-a-glance representations like iteration status and burn-down charts, to more detailed, issue-specific examinations during daily stand-up meetings. In either case, all efforts are extremely concentrated and efficient in order to maintain momentum and remove any barriers or obstacles.
Staunchly traditional organisations may be fearful that agile project management is more chaotic and less detail-oriented. But agile methods can actually free the PM from over-planning and minutia to shift more attention to fulfilling the project vision itself.
Agile PMs are not so much taskmasters and controllers of each and every developmental step in the process as they are the keepers of momentum, motivation and empowerment. With the support of senior management, organisations and clients that adapt to and support agile metrics can receive the same high quality of reporting with perhaps even more satisfying emphasis on the main objectives.
Below, we highlight three main themes in project management and the comparison between traditional and agile approaches.
To learn more about how the Agile approach changes the project management role, take a look at the Agile Project Management courses, including Iterative Delivery with Scrum and Kanban; Lean and Agile Project Management and the Fundamentals of Lean and Agile.
In today’s fast paced business world, budgets are constrained and project requirements change quickly, all while turnaround expectations have increased. Organisations and their people need a methodology that is more fluid and adaptive to these evolving demands. Adopting Agile can lead to tangible business improvements quickly.