11 Agile Project Management Best Practices
The Agile method of project management focuses on the repetitive development of the product. Each iteration starts with better input. Although initially intended for software development, the Agile methodology is now being adopted rapidly in other industries too.
At the core of the Agile methodology are sprints or cycles, which are small development time frames focusing on the continuous improvement of the development process and/or product. It involves sub-tasks that must be completed within the specified time period.
Since the project management industry is going gaga over the Agile methodology, it is an apt time to learn the Agile methodology. Agile best practices help in further enhancing the effectiveness of the project management technique. Here are 11 of the best ones:
1. Employ Relevant Project Management Software
This goes without saying, using project management tools surely benefit a project no matter what the methodology or methodologies involved are. They can take care of everything ranging from file management and feedback collection to tracking progress and reporting.
What the project manager needs to take care of, however, is to employ tools that are relevant to the PM technique(s) in use, which, in this case, is agile.
Using a fitting agile project management tool, such as JIRA, benefits work process structuring as well as intra-team communication.
2. Focus on the Workflow
To make the project management stable and predictable, it is recommended to focus on the workflow. Focusing on the workflow also helps development teams deliver the project/product successfully on, or even before, the due date.
Another major advantage of focusing on the workflow is that it helps the development team to maintain good speed and keep things smooth throughout the complete project management process.
3. Workflow Visualization
Visualizing the workflow is important for the agile project management methodology. This is so because it eases tracking task progress and the overall progress of the entire project.
Another important benefit that workflow visualization brings to the table is presenting a clear picture of potential obstacles that can be faced during the entire project management. There are several ways of visualizing workflow, including Gantt Charts and Kanban boards.
4. Daily Meetings
Team meetings are an indispensable part of any project development/management, irrespective of the market niche the project belongs to.
Meetings help not only in gauging the development progress but also assessing the performance of individual team members and knowing what requires doing.
The agile way of team stand-ups means doing it on a day-to-day basis while keeping it brief, to the point. Motivating the team members, however, and giving a heads-up on problems that the team can come across is desirable.
5. Ensure Seamless Communication
Clear and continuous communication is particularly important for a project, especially one that is humungous. When team members are familiar with one another, communication isn’t much of an issue.
Problems arise when the team members are different in their own ways such as belonging to different cultures, ethnicities, or nations and coming across different project management processes.
Ensuring seamless communication might pose a challenge in the aforementioned cases. To deal with it, set fitting communication guidelines.
6. Continuous Intra-Team Feedback
It is important to share feedback among the team while following an agile methodology. It helps in bringing everybody to the same page when it comes to the what and how exactly of the project management process.
While sharing feedback is important, it is also important that it must be constructive and not criticizing. This is so because the agile technique requires limited team members with a good level of expertise. Therefore, everybody knows what is expected of them already.
7. Minimizing the Waste
Tasks, events, files, or anything else relating to the project that adds little to no value to the overall project is termed as waste. Eliminating waste completely is simply not possible for a project. It, nonetheless, can be reduced with thorough planning.
For minimizing waste, simply assess the value added by the various project entities, such as tasks and events. Check dependencies too. If they can be safely removed without altering other aspects of the project, do it. Let them be if other project entities dependent on them.
Reducing waste helps in focusing more on those aspects of project development that actually add value to the end result.
8. Reducing Work in Progress
Usually, work in progress is considered as unfinished work. Hence, the more work in progress is there, much is needed to be done. It is essential to limit the work in progress while following the agile technique.
This is so because, in this project management methodology, each task and sub-task is meant to be completed well within a predefined time period. Limiting the work in progress helps in avoiding redoing prioritization, assignment, etc. and thus saves time and effort.
9. Rigorous Testing
The agile methodology follows the concept of continuous testing. At every phase, there is testing to check the quality of the product developed so far. Ensure that the testing performed is exhaustive and not superficial.
While testing the product, be sure about its functionality and usability. Performing continuous, thorough testing will help to identify undesirable scenarios and situations ahead of time. This gives much time to fix and/or improve the final product.
10. Improve Continuously
Following the agile methodology, it is required to make improvements continuously. Continuous improvement of the product helps in developing a product that perfectly matches, or even surpasses, customer expectations and requirements.
Making constant improvements also ensure that the development process results in generating much less waste, and thus save the overall time and effort invested.
11. Generate as Many Small Releases as Possible
Agile methodology necessitates making small releases throughout the entire run of the project management process. This is because the agile technique relies heavily on the concept of iterations. Make as many small releases as possible.
Every iteration of the product under development enhances the clarity of the final product. Additionally, it also helps to identify loopholes in the management process, if any, as well as making immediate fixes.
An agile methodology is a popular option for project managers and teams requiring uninterrupted insights into the project, at every phase. Remember, the project management technique demands the best possible tools and skilled members.
We end this write-up hoping that these agile project management best practices will help you achieve all your PM goals successfully. All the very best!