Business Efficiency: Agile Project Management Overview
Agile is now an effective approach you can adopt for business efficiency projects in most any industry. Originally Agile was developed to address the pitfalls of traditional project management when applied to software development projects. Instead of putting the majority of effort into one long-range plan, Agile operates on a succession of tiny “sprints” with significant measuring and re-evaluation between (and during) each sprint.
Agile in a nutshell
The key differentiations of Agile Project Management include:
Short delivery times: The faster, the better! Milestones are rarely more than a few weeks out.
Focusing on customer needs: The desires of the customer take front and center in determining the order of projects, product releases, new features, and related decisions.
Customer involvement: Instead of just involving customers at the start and end of a project, Agile teams communicate with them throughout the entire creation process.
Minimal documentation: If the document does not directly enable the creation of results, an Agile environment usually foregoes it.
The Agile manifesto
The Agile movement actually has its own manifesto, which is as follows:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Even though the manifesto specifically references software development, there’s no reason you cannot replace the term with your own industry or product.
Agile is best for technology companies, smaller teams, companies that are (or can become) comfortable with a rapid pace, and companies with products that constantly change, as opposed to a relatively standard product line that is constantly reproduced.