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Agile Project Management: what it is and how to apply it in your business

The strategy to beat ever-changing scenarios


We live in a time of profound change that has demanded an enormous capacity for flexibility and adaptation. In this context, more dynamic and accelerated rhythms of work have stood out.

Keep reading to understand why agile project management provides numerous advantages over traditional forms of project management.

What is agile project management?

Agile practices can be incorporated into project management, adding numerous benefits. We call this initiative agile project management.

A project is traditionally created as a whole as if it were a single block. By applying agile practices, the project is divided into smaller parts, which are carried out in shorter time frames.

Another powerful feature in agile project management is the commitment of all team members, focusing on searching for dynamic solutions instead of rigid processes.

It’s important not to forget the client’s participation to ensure that the project complies with the requested requirements.

Traditional models vs. agile project management 

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defined traditional project management methods in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide. The guide describes the management areas, scopes, structures, and other characteristics of the projects.

Traditional management has a linear perspective, with a well-defined structure and previously mapped actions. It has a more challenging time dealing with abrupt changes that arise and adapting to those new scenarios constantly.

Due to the flexible structure of projects, changes are carried out more effectively in the agile methodology.

And what is the best methodology to apply to your project?

The answer is simple. It depends on the project.

It is common to see the two methodologies being used in a complementary way, which allows you to benefit from the organization proposed by the PMBOK and the dynamism of agile methods applied to project management.

Characteristics of agile project management

The agile work model has the characteristic of making the management of internal information flow smoother and the execution of tasks. For this, we must first establish precise and flexible control of processes such as time, cost, scope, functionality, and project quality. 

Being agile means prioritizing the customer’s success, learning to collaborate with the customer, adapting to changes frequently, and delivering fast cycles. 

It is better to deliver a partial and functional result than to go on for a very long period without feedback and have a finished product that does not serve the end customer.

With a focus on collaboration, another outstanding feature is the engagement of employees, who play a crucial role in the success of the methodology.

How to optimize projects with the agile methodology?

In traditional management methods, a product will only be helpful and make sense in its final form. In other words, value is only delivered to the customer at the end of production.

In agile management, projects are optimized because a minimum set of steps ensures deliveries throughout the project that continuously generate value for the customer.

If you are looking to optimize processes, you need to keep in mind some of the following actions:

  1. Focus on collaboration: Processes are critical, but team interaction makes the project go round. 
  2. Be functional: functional products and services are more important than detailed project documentation; 
  3. Look for flexibility: contracts are essential for formalizing agreements, but they shouldn’t limit adjustments along the path or collaboration with the client; 
  4. Make room for the unexpected: Planning is essential for organizing production, but accepting changes benefits both the company and the customer.

The main agile tools

As the needs of teams and companies are different, different agile methods, have also emerged. Each one has its quirks, but all can be adapted to each team’s characteristics.

Ideally, choose the method that makes sense for your project. Among the most used are:

Scrum

 Scrum is one of the most popular agile methodologies. By definition, Scrum is a framework designed to manage processes.

In this model, tasks are divided into cycles called sprints, typically two weeks in length. Unlike other models, Scrum predicts deliveries in small fractions.

There are daily meetings, so the entire team knows who’s doing what. In this way, problems are identified in advance, allowing the team to resolve productivity bottlenecks before they get out of hand.

Kanban

Kanban is a visual tool where tasks are divided into columns related to the execution phase of team activities. The main ones are to do, doing, and done. Usually, this is the most used setup. However, teams have the autonomy to define which columns are necessary to represent the team’s task flow.

With Kanban, it is possible to perceive what everyone is doing, which reduces production bottlenecks, especially when combined with the Scrum framework daily. 

The combination of Kanban and Scrum makes communication between the team frequent and transparent. This allows employees to identify things that are hindering their activity.

Lean culture

Lean is not necessarily a methodology. It is a management philosophy that emerged in the 1970s, used in the production of the Toyota System.

This culture addresses a vision of how project management steps should be carried out to reduce waste and ensure maximum productivity. Management must be leaner.

So, the first step to implement Lean is to identify your company’s waste. Then it’s time to reduce it (and even eliminate it, if possible) to increase value-rich activities. These essential activities will remove the hurdles that are decreasing your employees’ productivity.

Why is it important to choose the right type of methodology?

Agile methodologies offer project management powerful tools for managing teams, activities, and actions, among others. 

By adopting them, companies solve challenging problems and enable increased productivity, improved communication, employee engagement, team efficiency, and faster delivery.

This makes companies achieve better and more consistent results, as well as stand out in the market.

Are you interested in implementing Agile project management in your company? Learn more about how we can help you and your team grow.

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