Due to rapid technological development and a changing business landscape, many companies have reconsidered the effectiveness of traditional methods of project management. In a desire to stay ahead of the curve, many have taken on the ways of Agile project management. According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2017 Pulse of the Profession report, 71% of organizations are using Agile methods for their projects sometimes, often or always.
Agile is a common project management methodology based on fast, continuous improvement. It is best-suited for projects requiring flexibility and speed, as well as real-time communication within self-motivated team settings. Agile is highly interactive, allowing for rapid adjustments throughout a project. Originally used in software development projects, this strategy has been adopted by all types of teams and industries. Agile offers repeatable processes, reduces risk, allows for immediate feedback, provides fast turnaround and reduces complexity. Here are some tips on successfully adopting this management method:
Put your employees first.
As you may know, your team members are the most important factors for your company’s success. In an agile project management environment, this fact holds more weight. Team coordination and communication jumpstart progress and, in a turbulent environment where nothing stays the same, coordinating and delegating tasks becomes that much more difficult. As a leader, make sure your team is happy, acknowledged and cohesive.
Choose the right people.
While some people are comfortable walking on unstable ground, some aren’t. Some people thrive under the excitement of constant change and some are uncomfortable with it. It is important to recognize upfront who is suited for the ever changing environment that is a result of agile project management. Choose team members who are able and willing to improvise and adjust as needed.
Engage in quick and efficient decision making.
Countless decisions must be made in an agile management project, and each of these requires a certain amount of authority to make such a decision. Clearly, the team needs a certain amount of authority to make decisions, or progress will be slow as it obtains management approval for each decision. This is especially critical in a shifting environment, in which decisions arise frequently and need resolution quickly.
However, keep some of your options open.
Be aware of making decisions early in a rapidly changing environment, as this may unnecessarily position the project in a corner when things inevitably change. An important part of building and maintaining flexibility is to keep options that might change open, which tends to run counter to the way project managers think and are expected to act. Project managers are usually paid to make decisions and to prune unnecessary paths, leading to what seems like greater certainty in their projects. It is important to meet in the middle, and establish sufficient stable anchor points by making early decisions, while deferring other decisions to retain maximum flexibility.
Stay committed and dedicated.
These are two distinct but related qualities that are especially critical to success in a changing environment. Commitment creates more drive and motivation behind what your team does. It is what distinguishes a high-performance team from an ordinary workgroup.
Dedication refers to the full-time involvement on one project. When change is continual, a dedicated team member can keep up with the “latest news” as change occurs. One who isn’t involved continually will fall behind, and others will waste valuable project time bringing this part-time member up to date. Commit to bringing the right balance of full and part-time members to your next agile team.