Agile Project Management puts the focus on the customer and the speed and accuracy of the end result. This method has allowed IT departments to manage teams and products through its use of sprints and backlogs since 2001. Recently, though, Agile has started making teams in every industry make sticky note stock holders happy. In case you’ve somehow missed the warm-up for this revolution, let’s get you up to speed.
What is Agile?
Agile Project Management has roots in Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing principles, but the focus is customer centered. This method was developed to address defects and changes in a rapid fire manner.
What are the benefits of Agile?
- Agile allows solutions to be deployed faster and with fewer defects.
- With this approach, the development process is improved and project control is optimized.
- Teams find they experience greater collaborations and feedback, all the while being able to reduce waste through a minimized use of resources.
- Customers are happier because of the greater focus on the specifics of their needs and faster turnaround times.
- Because of the nature of the process, teams create increased flexibility/adaptability and focused effort leading to greater success.
Is this a perfect approach?
No, no system is perfect for every situation. If the end product/service needs to be very focused on end user experience, this may not be the perfect fit, but some of that can be mitigated by using SCRUM as a tool in your Agile arsenal. Agile is very weighted toward the teams working on the project.
Also, if you have a very large and very strictly formal organization, Agile with its needs-based approach may not be easily meshed into the culture. This could play out like so many movies from the 1980s if not handled with patience and some proper education. If you work with deeply traditional bunch of folks in suit and tie, org chart rigid, “we only use titles all the time” thinking company, you may come across as the sandal wearing, power-to-the-groundlings, destined to start a sit-in sort of team. Sometimes, that is exactly the sort of freedom that a company needs to get projects rolling, but be prepared for some folks to struggle to adapt or embrace the concept of why this method is the right one.
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