How to Adopt An Agile Management Mindset

Feb 14, 2019 | Project Management

You have likely heard the term agile before.

Agile is much more than a buzz word; it’s a project management philosophy that has changed the world.

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ACP agile management, also commonly referred to as agile project management, or APM is an iterative approach to planning and managing projects, and delivering successful outcomes. APM is typically made up of smaller iterative or development cycles known as sprints.

Many new businesses, products, and innovations have been the result of agile project management.

For example, Blue Bottle Coffee, which originated in San Francisco, California, designed and developed their online store, which sparked the opening of several additional locations across the country, as a result of a sprint.

However, Blue Bottle Coffee isn’t the only organization that has benefitted from a sprint or APM. In fact, according to the 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report published by the PMI, 75 percent more organizations that adopt agile methodologies complete more of their projects successfully than their competitors.

As a result, many organizations have adopted the ACP agile management or APM philosophy to help project teams solve complex problems. APM involves increased collaboration, productivity, and continuous feedback and improvement.

But there’s just one problem…

The number of professionals with APM experience doesn’t quite match up to the ever-increasing number of organizations that have a need to adopt the APM philosophy.

In this article, we will talk about not only the importance of agile project management, but how to adopt the APM mindset. Adopting this mindset, and transforming it into real-world experience can help to shape your project management career.

Agile Project Management is a Mindset

Yes, of course, it is helpful to have some experience to become an ACP agile management professional, but it isn’t necessary to have as much experience as say Yoda…

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Bit it could hurt.

One of the primary benefits of a project management career is that you don’t necessarily need a formal background or education to become a project manager or earn your ACP agile management certification.

For example, you could have a trade in auto body or a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and still become a project manager.

Agile project management commonly involves running and managing sprints, which requires a design thinking mindset and mentality. This is because the goal around agile project management is solving problems, such as the following:

  • Software, app, or website development projects
  • Finding customer-centric solutions
  • Achieving organizational goals or KPIs through a series of projects
  • New product development or improvements

Depending on the challenge, problem, or project at hand, you can run a sprint for two weeks, 30 days, or even one solid 40-hour work week. Sprints can involve the project team, stakeholders, experts, cross-functional departments and any other crucial team members that are impacted by the project; their involvement, participation, and insights are crucial to solving a problem.

How to Run a Sprint (Even If You Have Never Done it Before…)

Again, APM or running a sprint doesn’t really require many tools; it just requires a different design or “prototype” mindset and management approach.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to talk through what is needed to run a sprint over the course of a solid work week.

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NO… you wont actual have to run all week.

But, prior to planning and running the sprint, you will need to:

  • Assemble the project team (again, taking note of any key representations from cross-functional departments, experts, and core team members)
  • Find a common meeting space (preferably one conference or meeting room where the entire team can sit together to collaborate and deliberate)
  • Use at least two whiteboards to record notes, ideas, and mind maps
  • Assign a Decider or Facilitator to take notes and help make decisions and run the sprint

Mapping Out Your Sprint Goals and Schedule

Here is what the goals and schedule look like for this sprint:

Monday: Discuss the key challenges, and choose a target to focus on for the sprint. Map out the problem, brainstorm ideas, and organize thoughts. By the end of the day on Monday, the entire team should agree on an initial target.

Tuesday: Find inspiration, review existing ideas to improve, draw sketches, find useful components, deliberate and come up with possible solutions. You can also consider any ideas that were once started but never finished. Finally, take those derivative ideas and solutions and convert them into new ideas.

Wednesday: After a full day of brainstorming and sketching on Tuesday, Wednesday is about choosing one solution to map out. Remember: The solution you and your team choose should be the closest to helping you achieve your long-term goal. Once you and your team decide on a solution, build your sketches into a storyboard, or a step-by-step plan.

Thursday: Now that you have a storyboard or plan, it’s time to build that plan into a realistic prototype.

Friday: After a long, hard, and productive week, you and your team now have built a prototype. The next step is to test it amongst customers and/or stakeholders. This process is really about learning while observing others interact with your prototype. At the end of the day on Friday, you and your team will know exactly what you have to do to move forward.

As we mentioned briefly above, running a sprint, or becoming an agile project manager is more about mindset rather than solely education or experience.

In the case of the sprint we outlined above, the facilitator or agile project manager guides the team by adopting the prototype mindset. This mindset helps you to believe that you can prototype anything, no ideas are bad ideas, the ideas must appear real, and to build just enough to learn.

What is the ACP Agile Management Certification?

Of course, not every sprint will be related to building a new product, improving an existing product, or coming up with a brand new solution. Depending on the type of project and industry, some sprints may be more complex than others. However, by adopting the right mindset for your project, you can build just about anything.

After reading this article, we hope that running and managing a sprint, and becoming an agile project manager seems more possible for you. So, what’s next?

No, you don’t need any experience to run a sprint per se, but if you want to learn more about APM or accelerate your career as an agile project manager, then earning your ACP Agile Management certification is your next step.

The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® is designed to help both aspiring and experienced project managers to learn about agile principles, key knowledge areas, and techniques, which include the following:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Lean
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Test-driven Development (TDD)

In fact, because there is a huge demand for certified agile project managers, the PMI-ACP® has become a highly sought-after program.

What Does the ACP Agile Management Course Involve?

In addition to offering various resources and exam prep courses for the PMP Certification exam, Project Vanguards also offers an ACP Agile Management exam preparation course. This course covers all the key knowledge areas and techniques that will be on the ACP certification exam.

Unlike other programs that only cover “the basics” of the exam in a textbook-style format, this particular course covers the various agile approaches and micro-methodologies, and also teaches you how to apply them in real-world projects.

So, regardless of whether you have decades of project management experience or no experience at all, you will get something out of this course.

Earning Your Official ACP Certification Starts Here

Earning your ACP Certification just might be the best thing you do for your project management career. It is also an opportunity to give you a fresh start in a new, rewarding, and fulfilling career.

Not only will you learn something new that you can apply to your every-day projects, but you will also gain a competitive edge over your peers and other candidates and increase your earning potential. Yes… that means payday baby!

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All in all, APM isn’t going away anytime soon. Organizations and companies throughout every industry have seen the organizational as well as financial benefits of adopting and implementing the agile project management philosophy.

So, if you are thinking about a career in project management, or how to accelerate your current project management career, earning your official ACP certification is a great place to start and secure your project management career.

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