It’s hard to imagine anyone involved in managing software projects in the 21st century as never having heard of agility. The project management methodology is widely used. However, if you and wondering why it is so commonly used, here are the main reasons why: The benefits of using agile project management methodology.

Better quality of product

In the agile methodology, product testing is an integral part of the process. This natural leads to a better quality of the end product. Also, the client could also be a part of the development process from start to end, getting to see the progress in the product after each sprint. This helps them provide frequent feedback which could in turn help developers improve the quality of the product during the development phase.

High customer satisfaction

Agility is one project management model in which the customer is encouraged to be a part of the decision-making process about how the project should actually be executed. In fact, even when the project execution has begun, the customers have the freedom to provide feedback on the latest developments. As mentioned in the previous section, such feedback could help developers better the product even more.

Since this helps customers get just the right kind of product that they require, the level of customer satisfaction is also bound to be high.

Fast product delivery

One of the biggest benefits of following the agile methodology is the fact the go-to-market time that it affords. In many cases, this would help the product owner get the first-mover advantage in the market. From the development firm’s perspective, if the customer is provided with their product fast, they are bound to return to you for their subsequent projects. In other words, there is more chance for the relationship with your client to be long-term rather than limited to a single project.

Good control over the project

More often than not, project managers find themselves at a point where they are no more completely sure about how the different moving parts of the project are proceeding at the moment. But owing to certain elements that are integral to the agile methodology, by default, managers are bound to have greater control over how an agile project proceeds. For instance, transparency is a given in agile projects. Aside from the daily meetings that help the entire team stay updated about project progress, a visual depiction of the workflow- like a Kanban board- is ideally updated frequently and is accessible to all concerned. This means chances of losing control over a project due to a lack of awareness about project progress are negligible in agile projects.

Another relevant element is feedback. Feedback is actively sought not just from team members but also from clients at the end of every iteration. This also serves as a stock-taking exercise for the project managers. Also, they could guide the project in the proper direction based on the feedback- something that’s indicative of having good control over the project.

The process of procuring feedback and acting upon it is also linked to the aspect of ensuring the good quality of the product. A high-quality product cannot be produced by accident. It can only come about by having firm control over the product development process. Thankfully, for a manager to wield that kind of control is more than probable in agile projects

Better predictability

One aspect which fumbles many a project manager is forecasting risks and coming up with strategies to counter those risks. But opportunities to identify potential frameworks are higher in the agile methodology. For instance, in scum, you use both sprint backlogs as well as burndown charts. These tools help improve the project’s visibility among all team members as well as the project managers. Managers, in turn, could leverage this visibility to predict any potential bottlenecks that make happen in the course of the project. If the possibility of future problems is identified, the managers could then take pre-emptive actions.

Lesser risks

The agile methodology offers lesser chances of risks compared to many traditional project management systems. One main reason for this is that agile projects incorporate sprints in them. Sprints are short but rather well-defined bursts of product development phases. Each sprint ideally would have a set of features to be added to the product as its objective. A sprint by definition is of short duration. This ensures that new features get updated to the product at frequent intervals. In traditional product development models, usually, the development phase is long, with just about all the intended features developed in one go. So, if any problem pops up during the process, it may curtail the development of the product. Meanwhile, in sprints, even if something goes wrong, the damage will be limited to that sprint alone. You can just resolve the issue in the next sprint and move along.

Higher flexibility

Flexibility is one of the main advantages of agile methodology. By flexibility, what’s largely meant here is the team member's ability to respond quickly to changing requirements. In most traditional project management methods, the objective of project development and the modus operandi is decided before the project begins. Once those elements are decided, no changes are entertained in them. Whereas, in agility, constant feedback is actively encouraged throughout the project development. After a sprint, teams and other stakeholders review the progress, and if there are suggestions for improving the product, even more, they are shared with the Manager, who in turn can enlighten the team members about the same. The team can decide if the suggestions are worthy of being incorporated. If yes, they can do so in the next sprint. This, in fact, is one of the key reasons why agility has become sort of the go-to methodology for software development. The release cycles of new features are typically short in software products. One reason is that it’s important to keep users excited about a product by constantly adding new features. Also, it is common enough with software products to constantly get user feedback. If any feedback is found worth incorporating, it is to the product manufacturer’s advantage to do so at the earliest, possibly before any of their competitors do so. Given such ground realities, higher flexibility in how you can respond to new requirements is a boon for software developers.

Relentless improvements

Agility works on twelve key tenets or principles, which are the foundational aspects of this project management methodology. One of these principles mandates that the team members should continuously reflect upon the quality of the methods and processes that they follow, and whenever possible, try to improve them.

This means that ideally, each sprint should be better in quality than its predecessor- a state of affairs that’s not necessarily the case in other project management methods. Mistakes that are learned in one sprint become the basis for how to run the next one. Moreover, agile largely functions in a ‘flat hierarchy’ model. Among other things, this means that everyone in the team is encouraged to share their opinions and feedback about the processes they are involved in. Further, they are also encouraged to share their experience working on the project. This helps others in the team learn from their experience, which in turn helps improve the work processes.

Better team morale

As mentioned before, agile teams are constantly encouraged to be self-organized. Their reliance on a manager or a team leader for executing a sprint is minimal. By giving them more responsibilities, you are also making teams more autonomous. Individual team members have more decision-making powers than they have when they are following other project management methodologies. Such autonomy is typically associated with improved work satisfaction and thereby better team morale.

Also, having to self-manage their work means that team members often collaborate with each other, which in turn improves the quality of communication among them. This helps them collaborate better as well. It’s a feedback loop of great beneficence, in other words.

The smaller team sizes which agility insists upon also contributes to team bonding. Typically, team members are able to build a good rapport with each other much easier if they are in a small team than in teams of big size.

Useful metrics

As any project manager could tell you, one of the biggest worrying factors related to running a project is to get the estimate for the team and cost of the product correct. Once these metrics are identified, then, the project’s progress should be rigorously scrutinised periodically to ensure that the project could be delivered on the estimated time, without it going over budget. Unfortunately, such metrics are not always accurate. The waterfall methodology is an example of a project management approach which relies on tracking project progress against the estimated time of delivery- a nerve-wracking experience for many a project manager.

However, in agility, the key metrics that are measured include lead time and cycle time. Such metrics are concerned with measuring the efficacy of sprints rather than the progress of the entire project. This makes the metrics more accurate given how they are reflective of sprints that happen over short time scales than longer times as with a project. This also makes it easier to identify stumbling blocks in the project’s progress and find a suitable solution which could then be quickly applied. You can rely on past metrics like lead time to create data-backed solutions for most problems.

Now that you have seen the numerous advantages of adopting the agile methodology of project development, you may find that your interest in adopting the same has increased even more than before. However, while such benefits are always welcome, it’s not a given that all adoptions of agility are hassle-free or indeed, successful. To ensure successful adoption of agility, there should

be multiple factors in place. Many of these elements may not completely be in your control. For instance, one of the fundamental requirements for a successful project is a skilled and collaborative team. Now, perhaps, you are assigned a team which has been hired before you even joined the organization, and which doesn’t possess all the skillsets you may expect. In such a case, you just need to work with the best you have. However, one element which goes a long way in making an agile project a success, and over which you have control is a good project management platform.

Not every project management platform is made equal. Some are heavy on features while others are more straightforward, designed to help you perform only a specific set of tasks. Some project management platforms offer a more intuitive interface than others. While some are focused more on helping teams collaborate, others are designed to help keep track of tasks more than anything else.

Agility as a project management methodology demands a certain number of features from project management tools. For instance, you need a feature which helps you keep track of how sprints are progressing. Also, you need to be able to assign tasks to different team members depending on the requirements. Given how agility is an inherently collaborative process, the project management tool should have provisions which facilitate smooth communication among team members. And these are just some of the provisions that a project management tool should have for it to ably support agile projects.

As mentioned before, not every project management tool is made equal. This also means that not every project management software would adequately support agile projects.

I’m Productive is one project management tool which is ideal for agile projects. Using it, you could easily assign tasks in a sprint to different users according to the requirements. Also, after a review cycle, if a task is found to be incompletely performed, it could easily be re-assigned to be a part of the newsprint with just a few clicks. The tool comes with an sample number of communication provisions. From commenting on a task to sharing documents that could be accessed by the whole team, to sending messages over private channels to individual users, many are the features that help teams collaborate effectively using this project management tool.

The project management tool also comes with a provision which is rather unique among products of this kind: You could accurately predict the amount of time it would take to deliver the project. In fact, you could do this with just a click on a button, without having to perform any mathematical calculations. For the tool employs a powerful Artificial Intelligence for performing the calculations. Also, it has provisions built-in to accurately capture the metrics which would form the basis of these calculations. For instance, while measuring the time that a team member spends working on a task, factors like the break time they take in that duration are ignored, so that you get the accurate figure.

To learn more about how I’m Productive could help you execute your agile projects without hassles, please visit the website.

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