Four Keys to Managing an Agile Project Successfully
Agile projects are touted as reducing costs and risks, providing more functionality sooner, and increasing the quality of the functionality delivered. The management techniques for agile projects, however, are foreign to many of us who grew up in the waterfall project management world. How does one successfully manage an agile project?
#1 Openness to New Framework
Many managers find it challenging to adhere to a framework that is at odds with what we have learned as basic project management techniques. In agile project management, documentation is not king, interactions with individuals are more important than processes, and plans need to be flexible. The topsy-turvy world of agile projects requires a willingness to think differently about projects and how to make them successful.
#2: Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Agile project management is a team effort. Agile project teams must have:
- Product Owner: the person who sets project goals, balances the scope versus the schedule, and prioritizes product functionality
- Scrum Master: the day-to-day manager of team tasks and priorities, who removes obstacles and guides the team towards the short-term due date
- Team Members: the individuals responsible for completing their task assignments, reporting progress, and controlling quality
#3: Focus on Functionality Over All Else
Agile project management focuses on delivering value to the client on a regular, short-term basis, rather than waiting months or even potentially years to deliver functionality. Agile project management seeks to limit risk by increasing responsiveness to change and shortening the development horizon.
Agile project management requires specific training. The Project Management Institute, in fact, has established a certification for agile project managers, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.
Meeting these challenges promises faster-to-market, higher quality systems that can adapt more quickly to changing requirements.