How To Incorporate & Apply Agile Project Management

Agile project management teams are becoming gold mines of productivity and better project outcomes.

However, many project managers may not understand how to incorporate or apply agile project management processes. Fortunately, the process can be broken down into five key steps.

1. Get Rid of Rigid Processes to Incorporate Agile Project Management

Rigid processes, such as processes based on incremental delivery of a project, tend to follow traditional project management methodologies. Yet, agile project management requires the ability to adjust to changes and alter plans as necessary.

As a result, project managers should strive to avoid rigid structures in processes. However, standard processes should be followed. In other words, project managers must follow standard processes while maintaining flexibility.

2. Define What Changes Are Reasonable and Likely

Since changes are a common part of agile project management processes, project managers need to define what changes are and are not acceptable. Obviously, extensive increases to a project’s scope can undermine the success of a project, but some changes are going to occur as the project develops naturally.

The key to making this step work lies in accepting changes, but you must be willing to refuse to accommodate changes that dramatically affect budget or time constraints. 

3. Focus on Small Things First

Agile project management also focuses on small tasks and activities first, similar to traditional project management. However, agile processes revolve around multiple small activities and tasks occurring simultaneously. In addition, completing small tasks first helps your team isolate and solve problems early in the process.

4. Define Key Persons for Leading the Agile Charge

Every agile project management team needs to define three key leading groups, which include the owners, the project teams and the project manager. The role of the owners is to provide instruction on a project’s goals as it progresses.

Meanwhile, the project manager works to obtain reports and details from owners and teams. Individual teams are responsible for overseeing their own processes and activities.

5. Use Self-Management Tactics Across All Teams

Allowing teams to self-manage their processes is the final step in incorporating and applying agile project management processes. Teams should not be coming to the project manager with every development or problem. Instead, teams should work to solve issues as they occur and work independently whenever possible.

Making the decision to move away from traditional project management methods toward agile project management processes represents an evolution in your ability to deliver projects successfully.

Agile teams can avoid many of the pitfalls of traditional project processes, such as only maintaining a reactive risk management team. In other words, agile teams are more skilled at the overall completion of a project, and you need to incorporate and apply agile project management processes to succeed in the future.

Key Things to Remember

  • Get rid of or avoid rigid project management processes.
  • Identify what changes are acceptable, and prepare to change the project’s scope to some degree.
  • Break up the project into smaller, achievable parts.
  • Define the key personnel in leading agile project management processes.
  • Use self-management tactics to reduce the burden of managing the project.