Agile project management: definition and methodology

To carry out a project effectively, the project team must choose the methods to adopt. The most used is the Agile method. The latter is suitable for all types of projects and can bring a lot, both to the team and to the client. Project management methodologies are derived from the Agile method. It is up to the members of the project team to see which is the most suitable for their company.

What is the Agile method? 

The Agile method is based on proceeding step by step to plan a project. This process allows the whole project to be divided into several iterations or sub-parts. The objective is to focus on a single iteration before starting another in an organized way. 

It is an approach that allows for changes and adjustments in project implementation. It is designed to be able to manage and analyze tasks. Each main line of the project can be planned and carried out over time thanks to the Agile method.

Why use the Agile method? 

The Agile approach favors the relationship between the work team and the client. Communication is the basis of this method. As the project team cannot foresee everything, the Agile process leaves room for contingencies during planning. It also makes it possible to predict blockages and problems in the implementation of the project. 

The Agile method is used for its ability to adapt to contingencies throughout the implementation. It requires involvement, organization and responsiveness from the project team to meet the client’s needs. The Agile method aims to optimally manage all sub-parts of the project.

How does the Agile method work? 

Unlike the traditional “Waterfall” methodology, the Agile method is more flexible and adaptable. She readjusts the project according to the reality and the opinions of the client. It makes it possible to optimize the execution of the steps at the level of each iteration. This approach recommends taking sub-parts on a case-by-case basis. However, it is not a question of planning a project down to the smallest detail. Rather, it consists of setting short-term goals on each sub-game. 

It adopts the stand-up meeting to advance and facilitate the realization of the project. This informal meeting is above all essential for the team and the client in order to discuss the progress of the project, the needs of the ordering party, and the difficulties encountered.

The Agile method aims to satisfy the customer with frequent and regular deliveries. The agile team thus favors shorter deadlines. This method makes it possible to change essential points of the work without hindering its viability. It is based on a daily exchange between the stakeholders while organizing the costs. It also reduces the amount of work, which promotes continuous project improvement. 

Types of agile method

There are several types of Agile methods that derive from the Agile Manifesto. It is important to choose the appropriate methodology because each approach has its own specificities. Among these methods, four of them are the most used and recommended. 

The Scrum method

The Scrum method is the best known. It is characterized by sprints which are in fact iterations. These sprints are often carried out between 1 to 4 weeks. Roles are assigned in the team. Among other things, we find the Scrum Master who is the project manager and the product owner. To carry out the project, daily meetings, retrospections and planning are organised. At the beginning of each sprint, the team meets to establish the list of the different tasks to be carried out. This is the sprint backlog. The Scrum method empowers each team member, which helps them be more productive.

eXtreme Programming (XP)

The eXtreme Programming approach consists of working in pairs. It is implemented at the same time as the Scrum method. The main missions are testing, translating expectations into metaphor, systematic code review, continuous refactoring. It is oriented towards the realization of applications, without neglecting other aspects of the project. The bases of this method are found in simplicity, feedback, and communication. XP aims to reduce the budget option following the changes. 

The Kanban method

The Kanban method is used to correct defects and errors on a product. It solves problems to avoid tense flows in the production chain. She aims for the real-time and the visual while using charts and post-it labels for all tasks. In addition, it is distinguished by indicators, visual management, a cumulative flow chart and a kanban board. Among the advantages of this method is the speed with which missions are deployed, without having to change the process.

The SAFe method

This SAFe method makes it possible to develop Agility in the company. It aligns with the strategy that the latter puts in place. It is used when there are personnel or team changes in a company. Thus, its goal is to set up a fluid communication with a language accessible to all; especially for teams working on the same project. In addition, official certifications must be approved by specialized institutes for companies wishing to set up this process. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Agile methodology?

Agile project management is one of the most widely used methods. It offers advantages in carrying out a project, but it also has its limits. 

The advantages of the Agile methodology

Already mentioned before, the strong point of the Agile approach is its flexibility. By taking the outline of a project on a case-by-case basis, the whole is not impacted. In addition, team members can react to every change and unforeseen event. This method effectively meets the expectations of customers who need their project to be completed quickly. 

The other advantage of the process lies in cost control. Each stage of the project is assigned a well-defined budget. This method thus facilitates the control of funds. It allows you to adjust details and optimize work planning.

Another asset lies in the relationship of trust with the client. This is particularly about constant communication between employees and customers. Thanks to continuous monitoring, the client’s involvement allows him to have an overview of the project and its progress. It therefore becomes easier to manage. Risks are reduced through feedback and exchanges. 

The disadvantages of the Agile approach

The Agile method leaves little time for documentation because communication takes over. This is a major problem in case there is a change of a member of the team or the whole. From a cost perspective, the customer must be prepared to assume flexibility. Indeed, given that we reason in terms of sub-sections, the initial budget planned for the entire project may experience a significant increase.  

The Agile approach also requires the client to be present during the planning and development of his project. In short, this method requires its involvement throughout the implementation. The client must validate each time a sub-part is completed. This approach thus complicates the task of the project manager insofar as he must constantly balance the outcome of the overall project on the one hand, and the evolution of the client’s needs on the other.

Finally, some large companies do not use the Agile method. Indeed, the latter can become disabling since it is difficult to anticipate all the parameters at the start of a complex project.

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