It´s all about values. Agile project management has its focus on those values, shown on the left. This does not mean, to completely ignore the values, described on the right but we believe it´s worth to have a clear definition what´s our focus. It’s all about values as it is all about balance: Values on the left will always be considered first, but directly followed by those on the right. That’s how to be agile.
- The highest priority is to satisfy our clients by fast and continual delivery of valuable results.
- We use changes at any project stage as a competitive advantage to the customer.
- Usable results shall be delivered regulary starting at the earliest possible stage of the project.
- Permanent communication between the experts and the project managers has the highest priority.
- The APM team should receive regular support by all involved parties to keep the team motivated.
- If at all possible, communication shall happen face to face.
- Regarding project goals, KISS is essential: Keep It Smart and Simple!
- The most important indicator of progress is to deliver an usable output.
- A constant focus on technical excellene increases agility.
- Teams shall organize themselves so as to allow the best output to arise.
- Teams shall regularly reflect on their own behavior to become more efficient.
- For sustainable development, the definition of the working speed shall be up to the team.
Regarding practical aspects, a comparison would look as follwos:
Agile Project Management
- Time and effort are fixed, Scope of services is variable.
- Process will permanently be improved, execusion will be kept variable.
- There is a consistent influence form the client throughout the project.
- Requirements can be added and/or adapted permanently .
- Results will be delivered regulary as soon as possible.
- The team and the project manager is responsible for the overall project.
- Communication takes place through short daily updates and only a few documents.
Classic Project Management
- Scope of services is fixed, time and effort are variable.
- Linear defined process, developed step by step.
- The client´s influence decreases over the course of the project.
- Requirements are only defined right at the beginning.
- Results will only be delivered at the end.
- Only the project manager is responsible for the overall project.
- Communication takes place through (most often too long) meetings and documents.
How to realize Projects with APM
Projekts can be realized by setting up your own agile processes based on the values and princples of agile development. An oppurtunity is, to use so called standard procedures like Scrum or Kanban.
Scrum is one of the most well-known processes for agile project management. In a Scrum project, there are the defined roles for the PM team, the Scrum master and client. Requirements shall be kept in a so called product backlog where it can be added and/or changed throughout the whole project. The project itself should be setup in releases and sprints, as for each part backlogs are available. Partial results should be delivered after each sprint. Furthermore, the team meets up every day for daily Scrums, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives.
Kanban visualizes the workflows through a Kanban board, on which the requirements, or easier ´tasks´ are sorted according to their status. A task is noted on a kind of ´post-it´ note and can be moved along the board from status to status. An essential feature is the upper limit of task for each status. It can be set that way to limit the amount of tasks to be worked on parallel at the same time. But there is no limitation of tasks regarding a certain time frame, as it is for example regarding the sprint backlog system in a Scrum project. The idea behind that ist, that the team autonomously takes new tasks from the Kanban board as soon as it has free resources.
Techniques of APM and good reasons to use APM
No matter which agile process you use: The handling of requirements (tasks) and changes is the focus of agile projects. These processes are the basis to achieve the goals of the client. But processes are only the framework for agile project management.
In order to implement a project agil, various techniques can be used, as shown in the following:
• Use Cases (requirements of the client)
• Personas (representation of the customer perspective)
• Burn Up Chart (visualized status of the project)
• Cumulative flow diagram (detailed visualized status of the project – key performance indicator)
• Earned Value Analysis (control of progress and budget – key performance indicator)
When is agile project management suitable?
Agile project management is suitable for projects:
• where only a vague picture of the requirements can be drawn.
• which are constantly exposed to changes that need to be addressed.
• which pursue a complex goal, e.g. because the final result cannot be discribed right from the beginning.
• which have, for several reasons, to deliver results a.s.a.p.