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Why Use Agile Project Management?

Over the past 10 years, the adoption of Agile project management methodologies has grown. But what is Agile project management? And why use Agile?

Agile project management uses short development cycles called “sprints,” each of which incorporates and adapts to stakeholder and customer feedback to produce an expertly-honed end product. Agile project management has become so popular partly due to the fast-paced nature of business today. With its focus on continued evolution and collaboration, the methodology targets organizations dealing with rapid to-market deadlines, shifting priorities, high stakeholder engagement, and a need for flexibility — in other words, most businesses today!

Rather than spending six months developing a product or service that may be outdated by the time it hits the market, a company using Agile project management could release the first iteration within two weeks. They could then continue to release updated, adaptive versions over the next six months, resulting in a much more effective, relevant, and useful final deliverable. That’s why Agile project management, which was originally developed for software companies, has since been adopted by a wide variety of industries, from financial services to transportation.

The benefits of Agile project management include:

Higher product quality

Because testing is integrated throughout the project development process, the team can perform regular checkups and find areas of improvement.

Reduced risk

Agile project management virtually eliminates the chances of absolute project failure. Working in sprints allows teams to develop a working product from the beginning or fail fast and take another approach.

Better visibility into project performance

Agile project management lets team members know how the project is progressing. Frequent Scrum meetings and sprint reviews provide increased transparency to everyone on the team. 

Increased project control

Team members have control throughout the project with more opportunities to test and adapt.

Better project predictability

Breaking up the project into shorter sprints allows project managers to predict the exact cost, timeline, and resource allocation necessary for each sprint.

Agile project management core values

The official Agile manifesto highlights four key values of the methodology:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

The manifesto also lists 12 fundamental principles:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face‑to‑face conversation.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • The team regularly reflects on becoming more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Some of the most popular frameworks for implementing Agile project management include Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), and Adaptive Project Framework (APF).

Further reading: