Welcome!

Java Authors: Mike Kavis, Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, Ali Hussain, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, XML, .NET, Open Source, AJAX & REA

SOA & WOA: Article

Making the Most of Agile Project Management for Your Business

Agile project management allows a business to experience a slew of benefits

Agile project management and not just project management is the need of the hour. We've all heard about agile software development, and agile project management is a leaf out of the same book. Much like the former that follows an iterative approach towards software development, the latter also involves breaking down a particular project into a series of sections called iterations. In this particular case, each section has to be completed in a particular amount of time (usually two weeks) and upon the completion of each section, it's comprehensively critiqued by the various stakeholders of the project. This allows the team to get insights about the mistakes made, how they could have bettered that particular section and how they can improve upon the next iteration. The knowledge gained is put into practice in the subsequent iteration.

As can be imagined, agile project management allows a business to experience a slew of benefits. But while agile adoption is on the rise, there are plenty of businesses that do not follow agile project management, because they're not really aware about the benefits of agile.

Let's take a look at some of the benefits that agile project management brings to the table, for businesses:

Quality Focus
Businesses need to take a proactive approach to quality. If you want to prevent a project from ending up in trouble, you'll need to identify these problems and take steps to work out a solution for them. What's more, at every step of the project, you need confirmation from the various stakeholders that the project is on track and meets the highest standards. The need to embrace excellence through sustainable project management strategies should ensure businesses use agile project management. The idea is to implement continuous integration and daily project vetting so that the team is able to address issues immediately. Agile ensures you can respond to issues as and when they crop up and not at the end of the project.

To Ensure Customer Satisfaction
A business that is in the habit of achieving the highest standards of customer satisfaction needs to be able to involve its clients in the project they're undertaking for them. It's important to understand that clients/customers these days want to be more involved with their projects. They don't want to be told about the project's progress but want to be a party of every stage of project development to make sure the team is doing what they promised.

Imagine your business is developing a software project for a customer. Agile project management will ensure you'll be able to update them about every feature/functionality once it's been implemented. By the time the project is complete, they are as aware of the usability and functioning of the software as they can ever be. This improves their levels of satisfaction. What's even more important is that, any change in project requirement can be quickly implemented. Customers get what they want, the project team can deliver what the customers want - This way everybody is happy.

Improves the Collaborative Spirit
Great collaboration facilitates better decision making, which at the end of the day helps increase business productivity and in turn revenue. Such collaboration is only possible if the various stakeholders of the project believe they own the project. This belief can be achieved if the client, the developers, and the project manager work closely on the project and discuss it every day. Daily meetings and reviews that are a part of agile project management process facilitate better understanding between the various stakeholders of the project and leads to better camaraderie. Optimal collaboration is something that powers a business ahead of its competitors. Very often, project management suffers because an important message is lost in translation. This usually occurs, when this message is not communicated directly to the specific stakeholders.

Agile project management ensures direct lines of communication between the various stakeholders. This means there is very little chance of any miscommunication happening.

Better Project Monitoring and Control
An agile project can be monitored easily, because it's more visible to everybody associated with that project. This ‘visibility' includes team members being aware of what other team members are doing and their performance vis-à-vis a particular responsibility assigned to them. Daily reviews ensure, the team knows where the project stands at the end of each day. This also means that the project progress is more visible to everybody.

Something else that agile project management does is that it enables better project control. The various stakeholders can make changes throughout the duration of the project, which means the project and the direction in which it is headed can be controlled at all times. Any deviation from the stated objectives and you are immediately aware of the change. As can be imagined, this is again something that ensures better business profitability.

Motivation to Perform
In the earlier pointer, we talked about performance visibility, which brings us to this point. Agile management means everybody's performance is out there for everybody to see. The solid performance of a good team member won't be overlooked and an under performer cannot hide below the radar. This motivates team members to work harder and also guarantees that the management rewards the right people.

Better Response
A highly competitive business environment makes it mandatory for businesses and its management to think on its feet. Quick decisions can help you win a battle before it's too late. Agile management improves the response time of the team to a particular problem and changes are made to a particular project at the right time. There is no firefighting required at the end of the project. Yes, every project needs to be taken through a series of tests posts completion, but responding to problems at the right time, as soon as they occur, means there are no long project delays, which can eat into the productivity of a business.

Conclusion
There is absolutely no doubt that a business needs to start adopting the best practices of agile project management to succeed in the cut-throat world of business. It's important to make an Agile Certified Professional (ACP) or two a part of your team. This will make doubly sure that your business can reap the benefits of an agile approach towards project management.

More Stories By Krishna Kumar

Krishna Kumar has 13 years of experience serving the IT industry. After he had completed his engineering degree from NIT, Surathkal, he worked at Infosys. He soon realized his skillset lay in entrepreneurship. He is known for his entrepreneurial achievements and has a track record of establishing new IT ventures and taking them to new heights.

Krishna is currently the CEO of Simplilearn Solutions, displaying his expertise in e-commerce through an innovative online learning portal, which was started with the aim to help professionals round the world in achieve professional certification.