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Ready to sprint your way to project success?
More than half of all projects fail due to a communication failure. It’s important to approach your project with a clear plan and structure if you want it to pull through.
The agile approach has resulted in 28% more successful projects than traditional project management methods.
When it comes to the techniques of managing a project, here’s a useful guide to Agile project management and the agile methodology steps for an optimized plan.
What Is Agile Project Management?
The Agile project management approach is typically used in software development. When building software there are many unexpected pitfalls and hurdles that can come up. This type of approach allows for flexibility and change to be built into the project.
This is done through incremental stages that are also known as sprints. These sprints are timeframes that are organized to complete a specific portion of the project. The sprints keep the project moving forward because they are finished after a certain time period.
No more work can be done on that particular part of the project. This is regardless of whether or not everyone is in agreement with the results. The next phase of the project must be focused on after that time period is over.
This approach encourages developers to deliver working software frequently and stay motivated. It also serves the client who can see the results of the project and see it coming to fruition. Each of the teams must remain self-motivated and are able to manage themselves.
When a team is able to self manage they tend to create their best work. They are focused on a segment of the project and have clear guidelines to complete it. In agile project management, the team reflects on their work after each sprint to see how they can improve their processes.
Agile Methodology Steps
So how do you start developing the steps towards an agile approach? It’s time to take that major project and start breaking it up into manageable intervals. This is considered a Scrum framework, which is how you will go about implementing an agile approach.
Make sense? Don’t worry, we’ll explain further.
Scrum vs. Agile
If you’re wondering how Agile differs from a Scrum methodology, it’s simple. In fact, the team who created scrum are actually the same group that invented Agile around 20 years earlier.
Think of Scrum more as a methodology whereas Agile is the mindset behind a Scrum approach. The theories and ideas of Agile are used when implementing Scrum.
The Scrum framework will require you to divide the development into phases. The key to these phases is that by the end of them, you will have a ready-to-use product. By the end of the sprint, the product is returned to the client.
Assign Key Players
There are three main positions held in the Scrum framework, which is similar to other Agile approaches. They are the Scrum master who should organize the entire process. Much like a project manager, the Scrum master holds meetings and ensures that the framework is being adhered to.
The product owner is the individual managing the user experience. They are making sure the developers are taking into account how easy the software is to navigate. This is in the best interest of the client.
Finally, the Scrum team is the developers who build the final product.
Create a Product Backlog
A product backlog is an organized list that will tell developers what the software should be able to do by the end of its creation. The backlog lists all of these features so that the developers know what they are aiming to create.
To keep things organized, the backlog will have a user story. The user story outlines each person who will be using the software and what their individual needs are. Each story gets a number as well as a user ID.
On top of an ID, you should also have a column that indicates how long it will take to implement. The importance of the user story. Along with how it will be demonstrated so that the user will be satisfied.
You can add things like who requested the user story as well as bug tracking IDs to organize any issues that arise during development. If you’re still struggling with implementing Agile into your business, visit these experts for more advice!
Define Your Sprints
Next, you will need to determine the timeframe of each sprint in your project. You must figure out how long a sprint will be and how frequently you will be able to deliver a finished product to your client. This could depend on the client’s preferences as well as the time required to develop the software.
The benefits of short sprints are that you will receive customer feedback more frequently and be able to fix bugs as you go. Whereas longer sprints give your developers more time to be thorough. The sweet spot for sprint duration is usually somewhere in between, which is about two to four weeks in length.
Prioritize and organize sprints based on the user stories created. The sprint team will need to meet to go over how they are going to solve each issue. Plus the product owner will determine the importance of each user story. With the sprint team helping to calculate labor costs of each.
Together they are able to lay out a plan for development and completion.
Project Development & Meetings
Once your project has started, it is important to track progress throughout each sprint. This can be done through a task board that shows what stage of the project the team is in and what user story they are working on.
For example, you can have a task board that indicates what user stories are being worked on in one column and then shift them to the testing phase as they are completed. This is a visual way of keeping teams on task and motivated.
There is also Agile software available that will help you organize tasks and keep your team on schedule.
Meetings should be held on a daily basis to reflect on progress. A burndown chart is handed out at the end of every meeting to show what still needs to be accomplished.
Sprinting to the Finish Line
At the end of every sprint, the development team is expected to test and present the results of their work. The Agile management approach involves making changes and improvements throughout the project. That’s why it is important to reflect on completed work frequently.
The team should have the opportunity to discuss what went well and what could be improved for the next sprint. This will help the project become more efficient as it works through each sprint.
Agile Management for Your Projects
Now that you’re familiar with the Agile methodology steps and Scrum framework, you can try out this method for your own projects.
The Agile approach is known to improve project success. Try these steps for your own business!
Want to share some of your thoughts on Agile management? Let us know in the comments below.