The Core Values and Principles of Agile Project Management

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The Core Values & principles of Agile Project Management

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A small group of forward-thinking industry pioneers coined the term “agile software development” in 2001, responding to the rigid software development processes which early abounded in 1980’s as well as 1990’s. In a meeting held in Snowbird, Utah they formulated a powerful responsible way of looking at design processes and standards. Their innovative approach was outlined to software development processes by the creation of a brief document entitled as ‘The Agile Manifesto’. While evaluating the more didactic tools of design practices they recognized that IT industry requires more collaborative as well as creative nature of software development. The ideas which support agile development and project management are based on real world experience and history of academic studies. These concepts then contribute context and depth to any discussion of agile methods. Agile methods are applied to create more iterative and collaborative process in project management settings throughout the entire project timeline (Project Management Institute, 2013). Following are the common characteristics included in agile project management setting:

  • Outline the evolution history of agile project management.

Agile project management allows for rapid interactive development changes to deliver the greatest value to processes. It also allow for early detection of errors thereby allowing for early defect correction. The growth of agile methodologies was a result of frustrations that the technical community had to go through while implementing a change technical innovative process. The problems that they had to face while dealing with the management made them look for dedicated systems where technically they were the masters; and hence monument had little or no role at all in it. It was managed, developed and run by a team of developers and championed by the technical community. The agile methodologies monitor their own tasks and hence corporate have been slow to embrace this. Agile project management looks at project managers not just as organizers but as visionaries and leader par excellence. They combine the multiple skills of vision, communication, technical abilities, and execution. Hence leadership assumes great importance than in traditionally managed systems. In the agile project management the XP teams directly coordinate with the customers and the team priorities the same on the business value though process driven charts. The entire team then divides the tasks among themselves and has iterations adding flexibility to the project as it progresses keeping in tune with the demand of the customer. Hence there is little or no planning at all with work taking shape based on certain time boxed development cycles. Agile project management has been adopted by business environments that are very concurrent to issues of technology and give total independence to technology run projects and so have become popular in this IT related age (Project Management Institute, 2013).

  • Agile teams stay in close communication throughout the entire process by drafting modifications on continuous basis.
    1. Work is adjusted and reviewed as needed.
    2. Small components of projects are tested and completed.
    3. Portions of system are created within stakeholder input.
    4. Teams find out and address the features of project on the basis of business value.
    5. Explain the philosophy of agile project management and the purpose of each phase.

    Agile project management includes 5 phases and each of these phases has its distinct purpose.

    The process of managing a task through sharing information, tracking of task progress and the completion of a life cycle about the task is regarded as the Task management. On the other side, the ability of a person or a firm to coordinate and administer a group of people to perform a task is regarded as team management.

    • Envision Phase: The purpose of this phase is to clearly identify what is required to be done and how it is to be done.
      1. Speculation Phase: The purpose of second phase is to translate the product vision into a backlog of requirements by realizing overall approach to meet the requirements. A high level release plan for product is also presented in this phase.
      2. Explore phase: The main purpose of this phase is to create highly efficient exploratory teams.
      3. Adapt Phase: In this phase the agile team reviews their respective performance, the current situation, and the results of implementation against the plan and then adapt as per required needs.
      4. Close Phase: In this last phase, the project is concluded in an ordered manner capturing the key lessons of project.
      5. Compare and contrast task management and team management. Include an example of each on how each management concept is best used.

    Task management can help either individuals or groups to achieve their goals, as well as sharing of knowledge for the accomplishment of collaborative goals. While team management involves teamwork and each member has its own roles according to which he/she has to perform for the overall achievement of their goals and it is the capability to identify issues and resolve conflicts within a team.

    There are various specialized tools, methods or software such as project management software or workflow etc. which can be utilized by team management. Team management on the other side involves special types of skills, expertise and knowledge sharing of its members to achieve their overall goals.

    Both Task management and team management may form component of process management or project management and can serve as the foundation for efficient workflow in a firm (Daft, 2013).

    The best example of a task management can be seen as the completion of a project through agile methodologies. Here, the managers take participate in the process of managing the task through the completion of a life cycle, knowledge sharing regarding agile methods, and then ultimately track the progress of task. They manage all aspects of the task including its financial resources, time, priority, notifications and are usually good at directing team members as well as moving the project forward. The example of team management can also be best described in the Agile project management. Here, the selected team members perform team work through effective communication, performance appraisals and objective setting. They administer as well as coordinate among themselves to complete the project using agile rules, tools, methods and principles.

    Agile project Management (APM) operates in a more adaptive and more fluid environment. The concept of building self-organizing teams through agile methods is a challenging concept particularly once we move from traditional project to APM. These teams evolve from team members participating collectively and actively in all APM events as well as practices as compare to traditional ones, where team members are supervised and controlled from the top.

    • Suggest strategies on how to build self-organized teams with agile methods. Provide examples to support the answer.

    For successful initial adoption of the self-organized team it is important to use essential agile methods and all concerned managers should clearly understand about agile rules. Since, self-organized teams select how best to achieve their work as compare to be supervised from outsiders, therefore, Agile identifies no titles for team members other than developer, irrespective of the work performed by the individual (Cooke, 2014).

    Since, during the initial adoption, it is observed that firm do tempted to follow all practices mandated by Agile, one the other hand following a watered-down version of Agile. So leadership shouldn’t be provided such temptations. They should all aware about the advantages of adopting agile methods to be enrolled. It is also effective to find out individuals who resist to the agile rules applied, so that they can better convince about the benefits of APM. Another important strategy for building self-organized teams is to give deep knowledge and understanding to all members regarding the agile methods. Though these methods are simple and easy to use, however significantly complex to master, that’s why team members ought to have open mind approach while moving towards mastering Agile. Apart from Agile rules for initial adaptation, there are certain rules that can be applied for effective functioning of self-organized teams. Similarly, these rules are useful to sustain self-organization in the phase of transformation phase (Cooke, 2014).

    There is a need to achieve balance between command and influence while building self-organized team using agile methods. For example you are a leader for the team. You observed that one of the team members, Mr. X is domineering and no one wants to work with him. This is a self-organized team and it has selected to let Jeff make all decision making. If Jeff makes all decisions then it would impede efforts of the team to improve. You can make private conversation with Jeff and possibly can’t change his views. So, you would definitely start thinking about agile principles of subtle influence and control. Through his method you decide to change team’s dynamics by acquiring management of your organization to add someone new to agile team, in this way someone could likely stand up to Jeff. This helps in reorganizing team in a more productive way by finding a way to agitate, or otherwise disturb the status quo.

    5. Suggest strategies on how the project managers encourage collaboration. Provide examples to support the answer.

    Agile project management is normally linked with tech and innovative project managers. Most of the developers and programmers utilize this interactive process as it permits them to test version of a product and them make certain modifications accordingly. To achieve success, the project managers ought to emphasis the significance of collaborative goal setting as well as planning. The encouraging of collaboration provides a learning environment where experts can share their respective skills, knowledge and expertise. The collaborative goal setting not only contributes to attain individual success but it also helps in achieving overall goals of the project. For instance, a vendor may concentrate on increasing his sales; on the other hand a facility concentrates on entire cost reduction in a certain area/location (Krebs, 2009).

    Project managers should use right Agile tools and methods for the successful functioning of the project. It is experienced that employees of an organization can’t collaborate easily because of lack of understanding or disparate job roles. For example in a marketing department a particular employee may not have confirm understanding about another employees working in IT department. However, they can both collaborate together if project manager provide them an increased level of understanding and knowledge.

    Moreover, the agile processes look at the project leader as a leader instead of being a task master. The leader allows the spotlight to be kept on the vision and one who collaborates with his team, removing the obstacles to the progress through becoming an adaptive leader than being an operational controller. This makes the leader face new challenges and removes the monotony of performing the same task. With agile methodologies being adapted systems in an organization undergo spontaneous self-organization without the interference of an external force which dominates the project. This makes it very individualistic and an emergent order emerges with agile project members shaping new technology inputs to deal with situations. The technology so adopted changes with changing situations and hence is said to be adaptive and capable of allowing for great flexibility.

    In conclusion it is an increasing trend for organization to adopt agile methodology because it’s a new emergent order. The project visions when compelled may not produce the desired result but when communicated in terms of rewards bring in great meaning. The greatest advantage that this technology has provided is the translation of a set of practices that have been great attention by all concerned to cultivate and foster an environment of adaptive change. The agile project management technology is closely fostered by F.W Taylor’s scientific management principles and has taken management to better heights with technological driven adaptions (Swanberg, 2015).

    References

    Cooke, J. L. (2014). Agile productivity unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organization. Ely, Cambridgeshire: IT Governance Pub.

    Daft, R. L. (2013). Management. Place of publication not identified: South-western.

    Krebs, J. (2009). Agile Portfolio Management. New York: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

    Project Management Institute. (2013). Agile Project Management: Essentials from the Project Management Journal. Place of publication not identified: J. Wiley & Sons.

    Swanberg, K. (2015, January 5). The 12 Basic Principles of Agile Project Management. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/basic-principles-agile-project-management




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