- On November 8, 2021
Agile project management is an iterative way of planning and guiding a project. One of the successful and most suitable methods for software development is agile software development methodology as it takes a prominent place among the software development methodologies. This blog shows how Agile project management is the most suitable way for delivering projects and will be shown in detail the strategies used in agile methodology.
WHAT IS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
Software Development is a complex process to develop modern and professional software. Software is any set of machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. Software and software systems are getting more and more complex, so it is important to have the necessary “tools” to be able to create and maintain your software, However, the software development process depends on some factors to be able to develop software successfully. The figure shown below explains the development life cycle.
WHY AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT IS SUITABLE FOR THE SOFTWARE INDUSTRY
The Agile project management team is cross-functional. Therefore, each member works in every software development stage such as planning, requirement analysis, designing, developing, testing, and deployment. At the end of each iteration, a deliverable is presented to the client. Managing software in this manner makes the software adaptable and mitigates the risk of failure and this leads to delivering a high-quality product.
HOW AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT IS BENEFICIAL FOR STAKEHOLDERS
Agile Project management allows the clients to adjust their requirements to achieve their desired needs accordingly. Since the client is also considered as a part of the agile team, this creates high transparency and allows greater input from clients throughout the software development life cycle.
WHAT IS THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY TO ADOPT AGILE PRACTICES IN SOFTWARE COMPANIES
The Agile project management philosophy has been introduced as an attempt to make software engineering more flexible and efficient. As a project manager for a software project, there are many responsibilities needed to be done for having a successful project using agile practices. The main aspects needed to be monitored during Agile life cycles are:
1. The scope flexibility for project managers while taking decisions for absorbing any change in the scope, they have to make sure that the product team can adapt to this change without losing velocity. This means that the scope of work may change based on the customer’s requirements and needs, so this should be absorbed and planned during the initiation phase. A disciplined Product Owner will only add features when they have made space by removing other features first. This is a requirements trade-off and is a zero-sum game regardless of the changes, the size of the total scope remains the same. Only in the rare situation when the velocity of the team is higher than expected can the total scope increase. This is considered a control change of scope.
2. Work Breakdown Project Managers need to ensure that the project is broken down into small cycles (Sprints) for mitigating any risks during the project like changing the deliverables requirements, technical blocker issues and delays in receiving customer approvals.
3. Team Value Team leaders need to make sure that the team are working closely by having the same clear vision of their responsibilities and knowing their product value.
4. Iterative improvements A frequent reassessment of the work is done within a cycle to make the final product better.
5. Customer Cooperation Project managers are the main key for adopting the customer in the agile methodology by engaging them in the development activities done by the team and making it transparent.
HOW PROJECT MANAGERS PLAY THEIR ROLES IN AGILE FRAMEWORKS, PRACTICES AND METHODOLOGIES
Agile is an umbrella term for a variety of methodologies and techniques. Each of them has its own areas of use and distinctive features.
From a project management perspective, the most widely used agile methodology in software development is Scrum Framework as it is aimed at sustaining strong collaboration between people working on complex products, and details are being changed or added. As shown below how the scrum process works.
Scrum Methodology is based on interactions between three major roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Scrum Team. Project managers play a very important role in this methodology, they must have a great influence on these three roles as shown below in details.
1- Scrum Master: Project Managers could play this role during the projects as they must be a central figure within a project, however, their principal responsibility is to eliminate all the obstacles that might prevent the Scrum team from working efficiently and their input in adopting the team on the agile practices. Also, project managers are the one responsible for managing the budget, providing the project schedule and presenting it to the team. At the same time coaches the team on scrum and motivate them by facilitating sprint planning and scrum meetings. This will show the scrum team a more visible plan for the project and encourage them to deliver a high-quality product. The main challenge for project managers when performing the scrum master role is taking the right decisions needed for increasing the team efficiency and preventing obstacles that impact the project schedule.
2- Product Owner: Usually the business analyst is the one who plays this role in the project as they have the global vision of the product and provide timely feedback on the job done. In fact, the Product Owner is the only person who can change the order of items in the product backlog. One unusual aspect of Product Owner responsibilities is that you must be always available to the development team to answer any questions team members have regarding the customer’s view of how they’re implementing a product feature. At the same time, Scrum master has an important role here to reflect the visibility and the obstacles of the project to the product owner by providing more detailed information on the customer needs if there are any changes in priorities.
3- Scrum Team: This is a cross-functional and self-organizing group of people that is responsible for the product quality and implementation by providing their technical excellence to the product. Also, the scrum team are responsible for pulling the tasks from the product backlog during the sprint planning ceremony and monitoring the team velocity during the current sprint. Project management vision here can monitor so many aspects that may block this team from being productive and qualitative. These aspects can be related to changing priorities, team velocity, Sprint goals and customer approvals.
Project manager roles and responsibilities expand in an agile method, as they manage project financials, project status reports, change management, governance, role identification and business communication to the stakeholders. For Project managers to Lead Agile practices in Software development with success, they must make sure to embrace the Agile mindset first then focus all the efforts on leading by example, empowering your team, managing the work done and having more transparency and visibility for the team and the customer to deliver a high-quality product.