IT projects are notorious for being difficult to manage. Meeting deadlines and customer goals are the most significant challenges faced by project managers and their teams. Agile project management is a philosophy and technique that has proven results. Read on to find out how Agile might be the solution that you are looking for to manage your IT projects.
Things You Need to Know About Agile Project Management
Agile project management has been around for several decades, but it has recently been revisited as a way to improve productivity in the IT industry. The technique uses short development cycles that are referred to as ‘sprints’ to achieve continuous improvements in productivity. Here are a few points that you need to know about Agile project management.
In 2019, the Harvard Business Review found that the average IT project overran its budget by as much as 27 percent. At least one in six projects overran their budget by 200 percent and became known as a ‘black swan’. The top three reasons for these project failures were poorly trained managers, taking on too many projects at once, and a lack of proper funding.
Larger projects, over €1 million, were more likely to fail than those under €311,000. These failed projects represent lost revenues and unhappy customers, both of which are a project manager’s worst nightmare. Nearly 17 percent of failed projects end so badly that they are a risk to the future existence of the firm. There is a lot at stake and no room for error in today’s competitive IT environment. Several key elements of Agile project management can be used as benchmarks to measure improvement to reach goals and achieve greater success.
One of the fundamental principles of Agile project management is that customer satisfaction is always at the top of the list. The software industry first developed Agile project management to streamline the development process. One of the fundamental principles of Agile is that it depends on clear goals for both teams and customers. If the customer is not sure about what they want the project to achieve, the first task of the project manager will be to help the customer define their goals.
Focusing on simplicity and technical excellence is a critical driving force in improving productivity. In Agile project management, productivity means meeting short sprint goals so that the final project will be on target for the customer. Agile builds the customer into the production process, and regular customer feedback is used to determine future productivity goals. Each short sprint is a chance to improve the next time.
Agile project management focuses on the customer and the end result. However, it also focuses on sustainability; this means making sure that teams maintain a high level of job satisfaction. The successful use of Agile techniques requires teams to remain motivated and be able to use good judgement when meeting stressful deadlines. The key to managing a successful Agile team is to set clear work priorities and to communicate often.
Software and Project Success
It is possible to run an Agile project without software, but you will spend many hours compiling reports that could be better spent building your team. File sharing, email integration, Gantt charts and time tracking are the most common Agile tools used by project managers. Nearly 77 percent of high-performance projects use specialised project management software.
The goal of Agile project management is to deliver projects on time and within budget while providing maximum value for the customer and meeting their goals. The key is keeping your finger on the pulse of the project throughout the entire project cycle. Waiting and hoping will not get the job done; applying proper Agile techniques will allow you to hit the target every time.
Companies and stakeholders carry considerable risk, so it is worth the effort and money to get trained in Agile techniques and to invest in the software needed to manage it.