Traditional project management methods don’t always work. Especially when you have to deal with massive, multi-dimensional projects with multiple teams involved.
Organizing a lot of different departments at the same time can be pretty challenging. Needless to say, there are a lot of examples in history when the lack of proper organization led to project failures.
If you are also challenged with organizing a big project at the moment, consider using agile project management techniques.
The industry consultant and software developer Ken Schwaber along with theoretical physicist Mike Beedle were the first to describe this method in their book Agile Software Development with Scrum.
The companies in different industries can use their method to enhance transparency and effectiveness of the work. Check out the benefits of using agile project management and the way you can apply it in practice:
Why Should You Use Agile Project Management?
Using Agile methods is convenient when the requirements of the project are not clear from the very beginning. Departments that directly work with the clients know how difficult it can be to please everyone, especially in the case of clients who don’t know what they exactly want.
To estimate time and costs, you should consider using the system developed by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle since it implies flexibility. So, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments anytime you want.
To avoid painful misunderstandings among departments, fathers of the new project management style recommend making the plan as transparent as possible. So that everyone involved in the project can be aware of what other people are doing at the moment.
Keeping the work of your department a secret can lead to undesirable consequences. For instance, your team can work on something that other departments don’t need at all. The first time this problem was described in depth in the article The New Product Development Game (1986). The Japanese professors Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi conducted a study based on collaboration among different departments in the photocopier, photocopier, and automotive industries.
Another benefit is that your departments will start working faster and more efficient. Agile project management doesn’t imply spending hours in the meetings or blaming one another.
How To Start Using Agile Project Management?
There are five main phases in agile project management: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. So, before you start a project, make sure to divide the roles and responsibilities among the team members. Make a list of the tasks that they will have to complete so that they will know what to expect in the future. Also, your company project should have the product owner and the scrum master.
A project owner is responsible only for setting up requirements and clear goals. A scrum manager is the second team leader who is responsible for motivating other team members to do their work on time. Also, a scrum manager is the one who leads the daily meetings and helps team members to achieve their goals by providing needed resources. The scrum manager, along with the project owner, should work on the product backlog. It is the schedule where the project owner should also list the priorities of the project. The scrum manager should take them into account and set the deadline after delegating tasks.
Ken Schwaber recommends to always leave some space in the project backlog in case adjustments will be needed.
After creating the project backlog, the scrum master should only keep track of everyone’s progress. To do that, the team should have daily meetings. To keep them short and effective, it’s recommended to ask team members only three main questions during the meeting:
- What did you work yesterday?
- What are you planning to work on today?
- Is there anything you need at the moment?
According to research, ‘the stand-up meetings’ are more efficient than sit-down ones. So, you might want to avoid sitting on that comfortable sofa during the daily agile meeting.
Another important thing is to organize the scrum board. The scrum master can provide it in digital form or even use sticky notes and whiteboard for this purpose. The board should be divided into seven parts: backlog, resources, to-do list, doing list, quality checklist, done list and blocked list.
The bottom line
The agile project management methods can help promote transparency in your company and improve the workflow of your departments. To start using agile project management in practice, find the project owner and the scrum master who will be responsible for delegating tasks, and motivating team members to stick to the deadlines. Spend some time working on your scrum board since it will help to keep the project transparent and flexible.