There are many project management methodologies in the market at present that follow conventional project management techniques to plan and execute a project. Some organizations might find these to be useful and still abide by them. But, there is one such methodology that does things differently. It provides a fresh set of rules and principles that are light years away from conventional approaches. A comparison of the conventional approach and how agile carries out the same concept in an updated manner that is suitable to the conditions in which projects are carried out today.
Conventional approach: Plan all tasks and time required for each task in advance and set a deadline for the completion of the project.
Problem: Research suggests that in most cases we tend to assign more time to a process or assign lesser time to it. In other cases, we give each project a ‘safety time’ which is the extra time assigned to each task. All these approaches ironically tend to delay the project and cross the deadline.
Agile approach: Instead of making a master plan, make smaller plans in each stage of the project and update the plan once the previous task is completed. This helps to keep the team motivated and the work gets done at a faster rate.
Conventional approach: A large team should work concurrently to get the work done faster.
Problem: Large teams lead to a lot of confusion. Hence, they may be confused as to which plan to abide by.
Agile approach: Make smaller teams of 3-9 people. This way, the team can chart their own plan and work towards it together so that the work gets done in a shorter period of time.
Conventional approach: Hold long corporate meetings on a daily basis to discuss all the tasks and progress made in each task. The meeting could go on for hours.
Problem: In these types of meetings, a lot of time is wasted on discussing the tasks to be completed all over again. The time lost could be used to work on the project instead.
Agile approach: Hold ‘sprint sessions’. The sprint sessions last for ten minutes. In these sessions, the small team should discuss only three questions and continue with the task at hand. These are:
1) Which task was accomplished the previous day?
2) What is the agenda for today?
3) What are the possible snags in the tasks for the next day?
This approach improves efficiency and produces productive results from the meetings.
Conventional approach: All the decisions and rules set at the beginning of the meeting is final and should be followed till the completion of the project. The rules cannot be changed in the process. It is rigid.
Problem: At times, due to unexpected reasons the project might face issues from external sources. To finish the project on time, certain alterations might be required in the master plan. Any new changes suggested by the customer cannot be included.
Agile approach: The plan changes every week or every two weeks depending on the organisation. This allows the team to alter the project as required depending on the changes suggested by the customer or problems faced due to technical snags. It is flexible.
Conventional approach: Customer interaction is limited. The project planner and developer is different. The project planner jots down all the customer requirements makes the plan and sends it to the developer. The developer develops the software based on the instructions of the project planner.
Problem: There is no communication between the developer and the customer. The project planner may not understand the working process of the developer and might make a plan that is not suitable to the developer.
Agile approach: Developer directly interacts with the customer and charters the required plan. He can update it according to his working procedures. Since the project planner and developer is the same person, the delays in the project will be reduced.
These are the unique methods of the Agile framework in handling a project. It provides an updated approach that is suitable to the working conditions of the various organisations that require project management methodologies.