Agile is considered the gold standard when it comes to project management, and it’s no surprise why. It’s a model designed for the delivery of business value through rapid incremental cycles.
Agile project management teams conduct periodic reviews of each increment of development and the product in its entirety. What makes this method effective is that it catches issues early so the team can address it right away.
In the project management world, agile is known for focusing on technical excellence, transparency, and team collaboration. Agile is rooted in the best practices aimed at cooperative environments where teams can constantly produce, learn, grow, and improve.
Let’s take a closer look at the 12 principles of agile project management.
Principle #1: Customer Satisfaction is King
“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
Software development involves using someone else’s money and time to help people in certain ways. Waiting too long to deliver a product may lead to unsatisfied customers who expect quick delivery. Each delivery should add value to the customer.
For instance, the customer may not care about your progress in refactoring the login page. What they do care about is if it could allow them to log in using their Google account.
Principle #2: Open to Changes
“Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”
Change is constant. The entire market, businesses, and people adapt to changes and evolve. Rather than trying to stop or slow down this process, teams should embrace it and use it to improve their work.
Principle #3: Frequent Delivery
“Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”
This principle is something that has turned into something more radical as years went by. Gone are the days when agile teams adhered to a release cycle of “a few months.” The industry is now following weekly or daily releases.
Principle #4: Continuous Collaboration
“Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”
Closely working together on a daily basis is still important even though we live in a world of distributed teams. Misunderstandings should be caught early. Regular feedback from each other is also key to creating successful results.
Principle #5: Build, Support, and Trust
“Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”
Agile teams require a certain level of trust among its members and from other stakeholders. If people are not motivated due to a lack of support or trust, the project won’t succeed.
Principle #6: Discuss Face-to-Face
“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”
Over the years, a lot has changed when it comes to how teams work. Organizations from different parts of the world have resorted to remote work. Technologies that are bridging the physical gap between team members have started to emerge these past few years. Nowadays, Slack, Skype, Hangouts, and other platforms allow teams to have remote face-to-face meetings.
Although this will never replace real-life interactions, it’s considered effective enough by many companies. Teams around the world are proving they can still achieve success even without meeting in person.
Principle #7: Measure Progress
“Working software is the primary measure of progress.”
Visually appealing mock-ups, complete models, and finished analyses won’t matter if they are not transformed into fully-functioning software. It’s worth noting that those items are necessary for teams. But if you have not used a small part of that to create a working product, then you have not created any value for your client.
Principle #8: Sustainability
“Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.”
Agile project management strives to keep a consistent level of activity, which can be translated to continuous velocity. An essential result of that is an improved ability to forecast changes.
Principle #9: Constant Focus
“Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.”
A team that fails to focus on an excellent technical design will end up having a slow pace and time-to-market. Their skill when it comes to changing a product in response to an evolving market will be gone. They will lose their agility, which is something no development team wants.
Principle #10: Keep Things Simple
“Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential.”
It’s possible to maximize the amount of work not accomplished in various areas. Teams can automate manual tasks, utilize existing libraries instead of writing new ones, and remove unnecessary procedures.
Principle #11: Self-organization
“The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.”
Teams must know how to self-organize all facets of software development. They need to communicate better with businesses, write high-quality software, organize their tasks, and so on. This results in a better outcome because developers will begin to own the work they’re doing.
Principle #12: Reflect to Increase Productivity
“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”
Self-organizing teams should take time to look at how they work at regular intervals and adjust as needed. There’s no such thing as a perfect team. But, a mature agile team can spot issues immediately and take proper action to improve the development process.
Agile Project Management: Final Thoughts
In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are always looking for a flexible approach that can deliver projects quickly. Agile project management has been proven as one of the best ways to do just that. But for organizations where traditional processes continue to exist, agile is still perceived as risky and challenging.
Despite being a complex approach, agile project management is a path taken by many due to its benefits. When done right, agile is a sure way to create killer products while ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction.