Agile is no longer a foreign term when it comes to project management. This is one of the most crucial aspects when handling a project. Even for starters, it is important to look into and understand this term well in order to be implemented into your project.
Before we dive more into the tips to starting agile project management, let’s touch briefly on what agile entails. Agile was initially introduced as one of the steps to help ease the task of software engineers. However, as time passes, this term has been expanding and widely used in various fields. It is a type of methodology which emphasises on improving the development of a product or service by using short development cycles known as sprints. In simpler words, agile methodology is implemented to improve the agility of your business. It is where a large-scale project is segregated into smaller tasks which will boost the efficiency of the flow, known as sprints.
This article will look into some tips for starting agile methodology. This may be very helpful for business starters or those who are about to implement agile in their business. Let’s look at the tips below:
1. Learn The Functions And Uses Of Agile
The first tip in implementing A new methodology into your business is to learn comprehensively the functions of it. Starters must be able to distinguish what agile are capable of and what they can’t do to your business. Learning this will prevent unachieved expectations towards this newly applied methodology to your business, not only for the owners but also for the staffs working under the organization. You may look into the information by seeking help from experts, those who have used agile before, or from any written guides that are available and accessible.
Agile is used to expedite and optimise development processes to ensure immediate identification of flaws and bugs. This allows quicker time to resolve the flaws. Agile will aid developers to hasten the development processes of a good project which are iterated into smaller tasks known as sprints.
There are various ways to implement agile in your project but almost all share the same principles. Agile revolves more around people and interactions rather than processes and tools. In agile, working software trumps thorough documentation. Collaboration with customers is also prioritized over contract negotiations. Agile includes room for errors, fixes, interactions hence it focuses more on flexibility rather than completely following the plan developed. Besides, agility is improved by constantly focusing on excellence and appropriate design.
2. Be Made Clear Of The Agile Framework
Every methodology in any project must be comprised of a clear framework. As for agile methodology, there are five common components that should be addressed. The first one is methodology, which refers to the evolution of processes planned to be implemented in the future for the business. Clear auditing and analysis of the existing processes should be made to come up with the newly planned processes. The gap that exists within the teams should be bridged to achieve this.
The next component is architecture. Architecture refers to the applications or software components which will be utilized on easing the agile process. Every team member is encouraged to be equipped with suitable tools for every task that will be performed in the project.
After the tools or applications have been set up, another thing that must be considered is automation. A good software should have the automaticity features as this would further ease and quickens the tasks of team members, relieving them from the need to manually perform several tasks. The last component that should be addressed when laying out the framework is the infrastructure and technology. When implementing agile, it is fundamental to ensure that the hardware and software are able to ensure flexibility and adaptability.
3. Be Clear Of The Various Types Of Agile Methodologies
The concepts of agile may be the same generally but it is important to be aware that the implementation varies depending on the business areas as well as the organizations in question. Those who plan to start implementing agile in their project management but perform thorough research on the agile methodologies that may work best in the project management that is planned for the organization or company. Be specific in the research. Try to look up previous case studies revolving around the implementation of agile.
Aside from doing research independently, it is highly recommended to seek consultation and help from those who are experienced in agile methodologies. These seniors may be able to provide insightful tips and tricks on how to tackle agile project management especially when you are completely a beginner in this.
4. Plan For Implementation On a Project
After studying and researching about agile theoretically, it is best to try experimenting and initiate agile to a particular project. Browse through your upcoming projects and analyse the best project that could be experimented on. It is suggested to pick a project that has higher chances of success with the least criticality compared to other projects. If things take turn for the worse, it won’t damage the project so much as well as affecting the company in terms of big loss too. Be analytical in selecting the project.
5. Establish Your Objectives For The Project
After the project has been selected to be implemented with agile, set the vision along with the planning. Discuss on what the goal that you wish to achieve from that project. When planning, be reminded to list out the target user, statement of the need, the benefits of the products, and so forth.
6. Build Your Team
When initiating a new project, it is fundamental to be surrounded by flexible and open-minded people. This is also applicable when starting to implement agile in your project management, especially when you are completely new to this. Having fussy team members will hinder your workflow and might even give huge damage to your morale as well as the outcome itself.
Hence, be strategic when building your agile team members. After the project team has been established, it should be followed by delegating the roles in the team. There are several roles and positions that ought to be made clear to the team. Be analytical when assigning each role. Try to assign members according to their expertise. Remember that you are in an experimenting phase of agile project management hence avoid trying to be pressuring and challenging in the process. The team members may not be pushed to the edge by being assigned to new roles which may challenge them more than they could chew.
When assigning roles, be alert of the scale of your team, is it a small agile team or a large one. Some of the positions that an agile team should have are team leader, developer, product owner, stakeholder, technical masters, domain experts, independent testers, and so forth. You may want to start researching the roles of these positions first before assigning them to your team members.
7. Establish The Product Roadmap
After the vision of the project has been set, it is time to turn the vision into a product roadmap. The roadmap should be established while revising user stories. The user story is a brief description from the perspective of a user or customer. They provide the information on the features they want to be included in order to fulfil one benefit or function. A loose timeframe will be updated which roughly estimates the time required until it becomes a usable product.
8. Sprint Planning And Release Plan
The next tip when performing agile is to effectively introduce sprints. Agile is basically referring to how the project is being chunked down into several smaller tasks. There are six common steps in using agile which are defining, designing, building, testing, and releasing. The first step is defining, where the tasks for each sprint are determined. Designing refers to the requirements established when planning for product development. The third one, building, is when the product is started to be developed. Testing, on the other hand, is the step where the completed product is going through a test run to assess its functions. The last step, releasing, is when the completed product is given to the consumers or customer.
Sprint planning is conducted by establishing the short development processes where specific goals and tasks will be performed. Prepare a list of backlog items that could be completed within the time allocation before the product could be released. Take note that the agile project is made up of several releases hence analyse which features should be prioritized and released earlier compared to other functions. Be clear and realistic in your objectives as well as the release planning.
9. Conduct Regular Meeting
It is important to regularly conduct meetings in discussing the progress and milestones that have been achieved by team members. This is crucial to track any issues or challenges that may be faced along with the progress. Meetings allow team members to brainstorm together the countermeasures that could be done aside from ensuring everyone is on the same page.
10. Review Sprint After One Sprint Ends
Every time a sprint cycle is completed, a function of the product is released. This is quite an accomplishment and also allows reviewing to take place. During sprint review, compare if the objectives established are achieved and if the functions are able to meet the expectations. If the processes are done were obstructed or something went wrong somewhere, take a time to find the cause of it and how improvement could be done in the future. Don’t worry about being particular in this step since agile is all about constant learning and repetitions.
A common term used is sprint retrospective which refers to the time allocated for the team to discuss the previously completed sprints. They will discuss the hurdles that they may have faced and provide the steps that could be followed to ensure the next sprint could be smoother and more successful.
11. Record Your Progress
Remember that you are in the experimenting phase and there needs to be thorough analysis and post mortem done to this new agile project management. This will ensure improvement could be done to further enhance the efficiency and the effectiveness of the management that you have tried before. To ensure improvement could be done, it is crucial to keep a record of all the progress and things you have done for this agile methodology. Look into the challenges and track how to counter them. Do take note of how much the new methodologies have helped to smoothen your project progress. Be transparent and specific on the documentation so that this could be a clear guide for future and references purposes.
12. Preparing For The Next Sprint Retrospective
Once the previous sprint ends, the team members should be ready to proceed with the next sprint that follows. By referring to the list of improvements that have been made from the previous retrospective, the team will once again get ready to begin the next sprint process.
To conclude, these are some of the steps for starting agile in your project management. These steps are listed after considering and going through several referencing. You are free to follow or skip certain steps where necessary. When in doubt, it is highly recommended to seek consultation and tips from experienced people as well as references that you may find on the internet. If you are able to learn more in-depth about it through courses, that would be more helpful.
We wish you the best of luck in initiating agile in your project management. May this article helps you and your project team members.