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What is Agile Project Management?

by Manoj Chogule

August 01, 2018
Category Agile and Scrum


what is Agile Project Management?

Hello everyone. Good day and a very Good Morning. Yes, I said Good Morning because the topic that I am going to discuss today will definitely wake you up no matter what time it is in your clock. I am very excited and thank full to StarAgile to give me an opportunity to speak about such an important topic. This can be a game changer for most of them.

Before we jump into Agile Project Management let me take you through very basic of “What is a Project” and what is Project management? So that when I start discussing about Agile Project Management, you yourself will get to know

a) What is Agile Project Management

b) What is the difference between Agile Project Management and Rest of the other traditional project management out there in the market today.

What is a Project?

A project can be anything that an individual / organization or a group of individuals / organizations participate with a planned activity in order to achieve a particular goal or an aim.

Eg:Most famous project that got accomplished successfully in India would be “Bandra-Worli Sea Link Project” or developing a new Banking Software is also a project.

Well that is the very basic definition of a project. I will not go very in depth of what a project is as I want to primarily focus on the hot topic for today i.e. “Agile Project Management”.

Now since there is a basic understanding of what a Project is, it helps me to introduce to you on the next topic:

“Let’s discuss a bit about Project Management”

So as per Association of Project Management, project management can be defined as:

“Project Management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives.”

                                                               

Now as we go ahead, it is important to understand a subtle yet crucial difference between Project Management and Management.

Project Management will have a definite final deliverable and a fixed timeline. However, management is an ongoing process. And hence project management professionals require variety of skill sets ranging from technical to managerial.

Let’s talk about

“The Project Management Life Cycle”:

The Project Management life cycle consist of 5 phases

1) Initiating

2) Planning

3) Executing

4) Monitoring and Controlling

5) Closing

So, the above points can be read as: “Client initiate a project to solve some kind of business problem. After initiation stakeholders do plan the activities that are required to carry out successfully within the specified time frame for a project to be called as a success. Based on the plans, there is a special squad or a team responsible to execute the specified plans. And there is a leader too who monitors and controls the progress. And when the release date arrives the leader take charge of the closure activities and then based on the testing results he gives either a green or a red signal to go ahead and deliver the project on the said release date after a yearlong of hard work”

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The So Called “Release Date”

If you go through the last line of the project life cycle you will get to know the so called “Release Date” or “the go live date”. Believe me on live projects there is so much stress or emphasis on the release date or the go live date. It might win you name and fame if things go well or this particular date might you’re your career too, if things don’t go so well. So, when the project achieves success then it’s like a party environment on the floor. So much of appreciations, awards and recognition takes place that you feel like you are working in heaven.

Agile Project Management to ruin your party:

Now if you guys love to party then Agile Project Management is not your cup of tea. Please stick to the old traditional project management skillsets. Because Agile Project Management will stop your party mood as there is no such big fat RELEASE DATE.

And that was the major drawback in traditional project management practices that adopted water fall model or validation and verification model for software delivery.

In the traditional project management methodologies client will never get to see the live product as a whole until the so-called release date. And hence the feedback comes mostly, post implementation. So now imagine if there were certain functionalities that client did not liked or wanted a change in them or there was a mistake from developer who misjudged the requirement and implemented something else. Then the entire project management life cycle has to be repeated for these changes and it was time consuming.

So, in IT industry when something is failing then either you have to fix the problem immediately or something else will rise up and challenge you. And that’s where Agile methodologies and Agile Project Management practices came into limelight and became the reason for the downfall of the traditional project management practices.

Before we start with Agile Project Management, I want you to understand:

What the heck is AGILE?

As per standard definition of Agile it can be defined as any project or team that has the ability to move quickly and easily at any given point of time.

To achieve these agility movement due to ever changing customer requirements there are several frameworks that are specifically designed as a part of Agile project management learnings. One of the most famous framework that almost 90% of the organizations adopt in Agile Project Management is the Scrum Framework. You can get the know how about Scrum at the following link of star agile:

Let’s deep dive into Agile Project Management by kicking off with

Agile Project Management Life Cycle:

So, as we discussed earlier about Project Management life cycle, let me explain you a bit about agile project management life cycle

There are 7 stages to Agile Project Management life cycle:

1) Products Vision

2) The Path

3) High Level Release Planning

4) Sprint Planning

5) Daily Scrum

6) Sprint Review

7) Sprint Retrospective

1) Product Vision:

So, the product owner comes with the vision for the product that specifies how the product should be. And post implementing what would be the benefits that an organization will get. Also, it will clearly explain how his vision for the product is in line with the organizations overall strategy. And finally, he will define the right customers for this product and how much value can his or her organization will bring in, post implementation of this particular product.

2) The Path:

A famous quote goes like this: “Planning without action is a failure”. Similarly, “Product Vision without the path to achieve is an incomplete vision”. So, a product owner has a rough idea about the requirement that this particular product is catering to. Also, he is aware about the timelines that stakeholders are expecting for this product to get delivered. And based on the know how that product owner is having, he ensures that he gets the right resources to achieve his vision.

3) High Level Release Plan:

So, based on what all information that product owner is having regarding the time lines, product and products scope, product owner creates a release plan and a product backlog having a list of features listed down that needs to be implemented in the system. And the product owner ensures that he creates a product backlog based on the priority. So, the most important features of the product are delivered first with the product itself as the final delivery. Now, these backlogs are tested during sprints that run from 15 days to max 30 days.

4) Sprint Planning:

So, based on the scope that the agile dev team (i.e. Product owner, Scrum Master, Development team members and QA team members) has decided they will take the most priority items and try to deliver them in a particular sprint. And the remaining features in the next subsequent sprints. This sprint planning happens at the start of each new sprint.

5) Daily Scrum:

During each sprint there is a daily scrum meets also called as stand up’s. Where the primary focus is on three questions: What you did Yesterday? What you are going to do today? And Was there any bottleneck for you? But this is a timebox event that last for 15minutes only.

6) Sprint Review:

So, at the very end of every sprint team demonstrate the working product that they achieved to create during the sprint. In Sprint Review all the stakeholders related to that particular product attend the demo and if they have any queries or concerns or any feedbacks, then that is being taken care during the sprint review. So that this feedback loop mechanism helps the dev team to assure that what they created was what the stakeholders expected. And if any changes required than that requirement goes back to the product backlog and then team will decide when to accommodate this change based on its priority.

7) Sprint Retrospective:

This is the meeting were team discusses how well the sprint went and what were the lessons learnt. Thus, noting the scope for improvement and ensuring that this learning is implemented from the next sprints. So, sprint retrospective event will be the last event.

Conclusion:

Hope you got the very minute details of Agile Project Management and the very nuances of other kind of project management aspects too. Thus, you can differentiate yourself the working style and expectations from both kind of management skills.

For more understanding about Agile Project Management then register yourself for StarAgile Scrum Certification training that helps you to learn all you need to know about Agile Project Management skills sets and industry practices.