The Key Components of the Agile Methodology – How They Help Project Managers

Jun 29, 2020 | Project Management

In the past decade, the Agile Methodology has been one of the most used project management techniques around the world. Although the methodology was developed for the software industry, its value-driven approach makes it popular in various other domains, as well.

It focuses on close collaboration between different teams and stakeholders. By relying on close feedback loops, it helps project teams create products resistant to dynamic market changes. In this article, we will discuss how key components of Agile help project managers.

Breaking Down Work into Small Chunks

Agile leverages small development cycles called sprints. Every project is broken down into small subsections that produce a usable product or service in the end. The project team, consisting of all relevant stakeholders, reviews each of these subsections to optimize the project management cycle.

After each sprint or iteration is completed, the team analyzes the iteration and uses insights from this analysis to determine which step they should take next. Dividing tasks into smaller chunks helps software teams gain momentum during sprints.

Every time a story is marked as completed, it shows that the team has achieved a small victory. Recognizing these small victories is an excellent way to keep your energized and motivated. Ultimately, adopting this technique will help project managers to handle tasks more effectively.

Prioritizing Communication

The agile methodology places emphasis on teamwork and communication. Many companies create overly complex procedures lined with approvals and permissions. While managers implement these procedures to make workflows more transparent, they instead cause unnecessary delays and slow down progress.

Besides that, if organizations with multi-layered hierarchies, it creates additional complications in the chain of command, resulting in further delays. This is why the agile methodology encourages peer-to-peer communication.

Instead of relying on a complex system of approvals, Agile encourages individuals and teams to prioritize effective communication over tools and procedures. Sophisticated procedures and tools are indeed helpful, but if you don’t have productive interactions with stakeholders, they won’t benefit you.

Using Customer Collaboration as a Resource

Agile project management promotes customer collaboration over extensive documentation. This is a part of the agile methodology primarily because it is most suited for products that have changing requirements.

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Photographer: Clay Banks | Source: Unsplash

Companies use extensive documentation and contracts to work on projects in a structured manner. Therefore, traditional methodologies have little room for new requirements since they are not part of the initial documentation.

The agile methodology foregoes extensive documentation of progress and instead includes customers through a feedback process. However, for this, the team must focus on comprehensive collaboration with customers.

Communicating with clients routinely helps project teams identify flaws within the product more comprehensively. Through Agile, project teams can understand customer requirements more clearly, enabling them to build a satisfying product.

Being Ready to Adapt

Instead of following strict schedules and plans, Agile encourages teams to embrace change. It is widely believed that people believe that accepting changes to the original requirements increases the cost of the production significantly. This is why many project teams tend to avoid these practices.

Despite that, sticking to documentation like scripture forces teams to focus on unnecessary details in the documentation. At the same time, since many customers are unsure in the beginning, they fail to list down their requirements comprehensively. Therefore, they end up dissatisfied with products, especially if teams didn’t take any feedback from them.

Furthermore, in many industries, change is inevitable. Due to an extremely competitive market, project teams need to be ready to change all the time. Many companies, especially in software services, continue developing new innovative tools to improve the quality of the product.

Products that have these new features or tools have an edge over their competition. Therefore, businesses that fail to adapt are outclassed by their peers. If a project manager is not ready to accept change, they can risk creating a product no one wants to buy anymore. Even if they succeed in handing over the product to the customer, those customers will not be satisfied.

Agile instructs us that change is not something we should worry about. Relying on customer feedback and adapting to changing market dynamics, leads to a more refined project. When your teams address the concerns of your customer comprehensively, it contributes to the success of the product.

Handing Out Deliverable Products

Since the agile methodology has spawned from the domain of software development, it has many key terms emerging from the same field. One example of this is the second tenet of agile methodology. It states that project teams should focus on “working software over extensive documentation.”

This simply means that teams should focus on making working solutions rather than spending time on comprehensive documentation. Like the agile methodology value above, this rule eliminates any chance of unnecessary delays caused by extensive documentation.

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Photographer: Campaign Creators | Source: Unsplash

Agile streamlines documentation in a way that gives the team enough information to start working on the project. While a portion of the team is making a usable function for the project, the rest of the team plans on which step would be required to optimize the process even more.

Logically, a customer would prefer a working software or any product or service instead of an extremely detailed document which they don’t have the time to read. Even if the customers opt for a change, the agile team can make continuous improvements to resolve them.

Final Words

Agile project management is an excellent way to create high-quality products, deliver results, and survive in a highly competitive market. All core concepts of Agile are linked to each other. For instance, a project team cannot adapt to changing market dynamics if they don’t use customer collaboration as a tool.

These values allow agile teams to work swiftly and optimize the project workflow. You should always remember the ultimate goal of the project and address hindrances as they come. Educating your team members about the tenets of agile project management can help you build a robust team and increase productivity.

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