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How to See if the Agile Project Management Training You Invested in is Making a Difference
When it comes to managing teams, workflow, and project deliverables, businesses have long tried to control and maintain a consistent process that enables the output of timely, high-quality products. The IT industry works a bit differently than other industries, in the sense that they are much more consumer focused.
For a software development house, the ultimate goal is customer satisfaction and ensuring the end product meets requirements and expectations. But earning client satisfaction proves to be a harder thing to achieve than anticipated. While as a business you will be hard at work on meeting deadlines, the client’s requirement may have changed since the first concept meeting.
To keep up with customer requirements, reduce risks, and produce high-quality output, a fast-paced and flexible process and management technique is required.
What is Agile Project Management?
The term “project management” may give away the hint that AGP is some form of project management style, but in fact, it is more of a process management technique. It defines the methods and best practices. Based on Agile Manifesto’s four key values and 12 principles guide, AGP and relevant training programs such as Agile project management training, help organizations keep up with changing business needs.
The idea is to transform a project development process into iterative stages, with the flexibility to overturn work done if needed, be it based on a lack of quality or implementation of new requirements.
Although AGP and Scrum are often used interchangeably, the latter is actually part of Agile Project Management. It is a framework that breaks down work in “sprints”, so that at the end of each sprint, the teams can review deliverables before moving on to the next chunk of work. It is a fast-paced approach designed to be flexible in comparison to other models such as Waterfall model.
In the traditional “Waterfall” model, a project is outlined with certain development phases that run in a linear fashion, from start to finish, from design to testing and deployment. The linear method exposes projects to a great deal of risks, most notably the risk of not meeting quality expectations, with no option to fix it.
With APM, processes are transformed into sprints which last days or up to two weeks. Teams build components of a software and test them as they are completed. Instead of waiting to test the whole product, teams can start testing each component as they are built so the end product is guaranteed to work and incompatibility can be avoided.
In a traditional development environment, a project manager assumes the responsibilities of planning, budgeting, timelines, team assessments, reviews, and approvals. APM distributes these roles into a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and team.
The Product Owner makes business decisions and validates the deliverables as per the requirements. The Scrum Master ensures that processes are going smoothly, by eliminating possible impediments and communicating the subject matter between teams/individuals. And finally, the team is tasked to self-organize, analyze tasks, and deliver a timely output.
As a business, here are some indicators to see if the investment you made in Agile Project Management is making a difference.
One of the indicators to successful Agile Project Management implementations is the performance of your teams. Self-organizing is a quality that managers expect to see in their team. A good manager is one that provides some leeway to its employees, not standing over their shoulders constantly, doing so with the fondest of hopes that they are capable to organize on their own and come forward with their due commitments on time.
Too much freedom can be a double-edged sword. Employees enjoy when their managers grant them decision-making capabilities and the ability to choose how work has to be accomplished, yet they may assume a laid back approach to their commitment in the absence of some degree of monitoring. This is why a framework has to be set in place that monitors and guides employees.
To be called self-organized, a team will have to consistently produce high-quality work while working in the confines of the framework set by the project owner.
Client Feedback Evolves the Project
As we discussed earlier, the aim of adopting APM with Scrum is to install flexibility in the development lifecycle. A software developer will tell you how hard it is to work with clients on meeting their ever-changing requirements, if it was not hard enough at first to understand and conceptualize their product.
Another good indicator is how feedback from the client is being processed towards the evolution of the project. AGP allows clients to be actively involved in the development process, reviewing each piece of the project with the team. If changes need to be made or requirements shift, the client’s demand is given priority, thus leading to higher client satisfaction.
Improvement in Processes
A way in which Agile Project Management continues to improve is through the insight teams used to improve processes. At the end of every sprint, teams look back on how other approaches could have produced different but better results. Thus allowing them to incorporate those approaches in the next iteration.
Through self-motivation, individuals keep track of their progress in comparison with others and work harder. A high unity that is fueled by the Scrum Master leads to multiple teams sharing ideas and techniques to overcome their respective weaknesses, or to just improve on processes.
All of the above indicators should prove that the AGP is working well towards building a fast-paced development environment, geared towards meeting client requirements with high-quality deliverables. During the development phases, it is important that relevant stakeholders are kept updated with timely briefs on the progress of the project.
Stakeholders are crucial entities within an organization—some of them also have decision-making powers. For the project to continue sailing smoothly, it is important that relevant stakeholders be informed after each iteration, as well as the client, to ensure that decisions are made in a timely manner.
Through Agile project management training, businesses have the advantage of shifting to a less moderated, yet productive work and social environment within the organization.