Things change. While changes are inevitable, they cause problems for software developers and project managers who are used to getting things done sequentially. Being agile solves many of the problems that changes create.
The Project Management Problem
Whether you’re managing a software development project, a website development and design project, a marketing project, or any other kind of project, you can’t avoid changes. If something can’t be completed instantly, then you’re at the mercy of changing environments, changing opinions, and changing players — all of which can affect the direction of your project.
Think of it this way. How often do you start working on a project with a team (particularly with cross-functional and cross-departmental members) and suddenly get a message from leadership saying the executives want something different? How often are you in the middle of a project and learn that something that was supposed to happen (such as a piece of equipment performing a specific functionality or a team member being able to produce a specific output) won’t end up happening?
What happens in those situations? You have to change course.
Let’s look at it another way. How often do you develop a software product or marketing piece, show it to your client or leadership team, and once they see it, they realize it’s not what they wanted at all? You’ve built a functional software or created an amazing website or brochure, but this needs to change, and that needs to move here, and so on and so on.
Whether these types of changes happen in the middle of a project or at the end, they cause delays and higher costs.
Wouldn’t it be better to get feedback and pivot as needed throughout the project? With agile project management and development, that’s exactly what you can do.
Reducing Costs and Time to Market with Agile Development
Agile is a project management framework that focuses on helping teams be more productive and waste less time by working in sprints. At the end of each sprint, feedback is provided, everything is evaluated, and next steps are identified.
Being agile means focusing on incremental accomplishments using an iterative process rather than focusing on the big picture in a sequential process. For projects that are likely to require a lot of changes, agile project management can actually shorten the development cycle!
Are You Ready to Get Agile?
Once you and your team commit to using an agile methodology, such as Scrum, you’ll start to see benefits very quickly. The key to success is training everyone so they understand how the new approach to project management and development will ultimately help them. Getting team member buy-in is critical, so open communication is a top priority within any agile team.
Furthermore, invite your team members to identify projects that could be improved with agile management and begin your shift to agile processes with those projects. Allow agile teams of approximately seven people to self-organize and take ownership of each project. Once they see the benefits of being agile first-hand, they’ll support your efforts to move to a completely agile environment.