You’ve probably heard this term before. It keeps showing up no matter the industry and it seems to be the new way in which managers organize and maintain their projects. But what exactly is Agile? How does it work? What does an agile project manager do? These are all questions we aim to answer in this article. So if you’re interested, just keep reading to find out more!

What does Agile project management mean?

Agile project management usually applies to the IT industry. To be more specific, the software development field. This specific methodology allows for quick feedback implementation and responsive changes at each and every stage of development. As you can probably expect, the agile method allows teams to work quickly and efficiently, within the timeframe and budget of the project.

When it comes to agile, there are many different methodologies. Different managers use different tools – some might enjoy working with an online whiteboard, while others might prefer to keep things in Excel tables. Nevertheless, each agile methodology is meant to be used for different types of projects, depending on the complexity and duration. 

There’s really no universal pattern of agile. And that’s when things might get a bit complicated. Don’t worry, we’re here to untangle these knots. Let’s start by going over some core principles first. 

The 4 Core Principles of Agile

While agile might have been created for software development, every industry can make great use of it. Whether you’re managing an IT project or you’re trying to better organize a marketing campaign, there are a lot of agile principles you can efficiently apply. The original agile methodology has the following four core values:

  1. People first. Basically, the employees and their interactions are more important than the tools or processes used.
  2. It has to work. Before you put together a comprehensive documentation, the software or project has to work.
  3. Customer communication. It’s better to prioritize client communication rather than contract negotiation. 
  4. Be responsive. Prioritize fast and efficient responses to change rather than sticking to a predefined plan. 

These four core values are the heart and soul of all agile project management. The main takeaway here should be the fact that agile is mostly people-driven. It puts the team and the client at the center of attention and enhances communication between the two parties. It also prioritizes delivering a finished product that actually works, rather than blindly following contract rules.

Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time we take a look at the agile principles that strictly apply to project management. If you want to be a great agile project manager, try to keep them in mind!

Agile Project Management Principles

  • The main priority is always customer satisfaction.
  • Changes happen. Welcome them and embrace them, even during the late stages of the project.
  • Working products should be delivered constantly.
  • Every member of the team should work together.
  • Every project should be built by motivated individuals.
  • Enable face-to-face conversation. This is the most efficient way to pass information from person to person.
  • Keep everything simple.
  • Pay continuous attention to technical excellence and great design. 
  • Encourage your team to self-organize.
  • Take some time with your team to reflect on how the work can become more effective.

As you can see, there are not many rules you should follow. Basically, agile methodology encourages both your team and yourself to deliver constant quality and working products. It also focuses on better communication between every team member and even between your team and the clients themselves. 

Another common thread is consistency. Make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and that every member of the team receives and gives constant updates. At the same time, make sure you always pass these updates over to the client. A constantly updated client is a happy client. 

Benefits of Agile Project Management

As expected, there are certain benefits and advantages to using agile methodology as a project manager. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most important ones. 

Less risk

One of the biggest benefits of agile is the ability to quickly manage and deal with changing priorities. Because it places so much importance on continuous feedback, you can get everything you need during the development process, not after the product has been finished and delivered. 

Better customer satisfaction

Because agile enhances customer collaboration and involvement, this means your client will get exactly what they wanted, in a shorter time. And that can only mean a happier customer. Agile encourages both yourself and your team members to work closely with the client, receive feedback and implement it in a quick and efficient manner. 

Happier people

As you’d probably expect, an agile team usually enjoys more autonomy. It’s a well known fact that when they’re allowed creative and organizational freedom, teams are happier and more efficient. People will also feel like they’re being part of something bigger, which will further motivate them to deliver high quality products.

Our Final Thoughts

As you can see, agile project management isn’t such a complicated concept. It all revolves around continuous feedback, engagement between your team members and your client and the desire to deliver a complete and working product. On top of that, it comes with so many benefits – both to your team and your client – that it would be a shame not to give it a try. 

What about you? Have you tried agile methodology as a project manager yet? Do you have any tips and tricks you can share? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. We’re sure other project managers will appreciate them as well!