Software teams need to work fast, but efficiently--collaboration, transparency, and responsiveness are paramount for teams to deliver innovative products in shorter time frames. Enter agile project management: an iterative approach to managing software development projects with a focus on the continuous improvement of products or services.
The primary benefit of agile project management is its ability to respond to issues in real time during the project life cycle, ultimately leading to successful projects completed on time and within budget. Unlike traditional project management, which utilizes a project manager role to steer and facilitate all aspects of the project, agile divides the responsibility among collaborating team members.
Two prominent agile project management methodologies-Scrum and Kanban-provide frameworks for planning and guiding project processes. While the Scrum framework for agile project management focuses on the use of fixed-length iterations of work, Kanban puts more emphasis on managing workload to match a team's capacity. Both frameworks rely heavily on project estimation to identify capacity, and agile reporting to monitor a team's performance.
When managing agile projects, the project roles are typically divided into three areas of responsibility:
1. The ScrumMaster is the team's servant leader, removing impediments and helping understand progress and goals.
2. The Product Owner manages the product backlog, ensuring goals are clear and work is prioritized.
3. The Delivery Team handles the development work, taking backlog items and turning them into a product.
This is fundamentally different from a traditional waterfall project manager role in that the jobs of balancing scope, cost and schedule is spread across the team rather than being concentrated in a single role. The result is a team that is more engaged and committed to the project goals because they have input into the entire process, as opposed to having a plan fed to them that they are expected to execute.
Agile projects are designed to absorb and respond to change. The ScrumMaster, Product Owner and Team work as a single agile unit to inspect their work often so that they can easily and quickly adapt to the rapidly changing market. Teams communicate daily, and at fixed intervals will stop and examine their progress. They embrace change, even late in the development cycle, and experiment often in order to continually confirm the direction of product development.
Whether you use Scrum, Kanban, or other Agile methodologies to manage projects, AgileCraft's Agile project management toolset allows teams to experience project-specific benefits, such as improved turnaround times and faster deployment, faster detection of defects, higher quality deliverables, and increased customer satisfaction.
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