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Organisations that implement traditional management approaches have often observed delays and miscommunications and as a result, unsatisfied stakeholders. The Agile Project Management Framework was created to alleviate these drawbacks and establish a structure and sequence for product development.
According to Agile Sherpas, enterprises see boosted productivity, empowered roles, and defined responsibilities as the primary benefits of implementing an Agile Project Management Framework.
In this blog, we will explore principles, types and phases of the Agile Project Management Framework and share successful use cases of implementation. Keep reading to discover more!
Table of Contents
1) Agile Project Management Framework – Explained
2) Why should you consider the APM framework?
3) Principles of Agile
4) The five phases of Agile Project Management Framework
5) Steps to implement an Agile Framework
6) Types of Agile Frameworks
7) Use cases of successful implementation
Agile Project Management is an iterative and flexible collection of methodologies that helps in managing projects with an emphasis on collaboration, rapid iteration, and continuous feedback. The Agile Framework is based on the Agile Manifesto, a set of principles and values that focus on customer satisfaction and agility of responsiveness. The framework is designed to adapt to changing circumstances, making it ideal for projects with uncertain or rapidly evolving requirements.
The framework has gained popularity across different industries as organisations recognise the need to be more responsive to customer needs and market trends.
The process consists of a series of short, iterative cycles called “sprints”, during which the team works on specific tasks and goals. The team collaborates closely with stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that the final product meets their needs.
The Agile Framework is also designed to empower teams to make decisions and solve problems independently, rather than relying on a top-down corporate hierarchy. While these frameworks have become extremely popular in the Software Development field, they can also be applied to a variety of projects in a wide range of industries.
The Agile Project Management Framework gives users numerous efficiency and effectiveness benefits. The most significant benefit it offers to Agile Project Management is its ability to quickly change the project's direction to meet the changing demands.
In traditional project management methodology, there are too many processes, and incorporating changes takes a lot of work. Agile Project Management principles give complete freedom to the team members and prioritise customer demands over other factors.
Before diving deeper into the actual framework, it is important to understand the principles it is based on. The principles of Agile are as follows:
a) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: Agile emphasises the importance of collaboration between the project team and the customer to ensure that the project meets the customer’s needs. Customer feedback is solicited frequently and is used to guide the project’s direction.
b) Working software over comprehensive documentation: Agile emphasises working software over comprehensive documentation. Documentation is kept to a minimum and created only when necessary to support the development process.
c) Responding to change over following a plan: Agile recognises that change is inevitable and that a flexible approach is required to respond to changing requirements. The project team adapts to changing requirements and priorities through continuous feedback, and collaboration with the customer.
d) Interactions over processes: Agile emphasises the importance of people and collaboration over processes and tools. The project team works closely together to achieve the project goals, with a focus on collaboration and communication.
e) Continuous delivery over phased delivery: Agile emphasises delivering value to the customer quickly, through continuous delivery of working software. The project is broken down into chunks that are smaller and more manageable, with each chunk delivering value to the customer.
f) Sustainable development over quick fixes: Agile emphasises the importance of establishing a sustainable structure such as test-driven development and continuous integration. This helps ensure that the project is built to last, rather than relying on quick fixes that may not be sustainable over time.
g) Embracing change: Agile recognises that change is inevitable and that a flexible approach is required to respond to changing requirements. The project team continuously updates its priorities through collaboration with the customer.
h) Self-organising teams: Agile relies on self-organising teams that are empowered to take ownership of the project and make decisions. The development team works in tandem to achieve the project goals, with a focus on communication.
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The Agile Framework is systematically categorised into five phases, each of which is critical for the project. They are as follows:
The first phase of the Agile Framework is the planning phase, where the project team defines the range of the project, its goals, and objectives. This phase involves creating a product backlog, i.e., a list of all the features and functionalities that the team needs to develop.
During this stage, the product idea is developed, and all individuals or groups involved in the project are recognised. The potential goals of the project, and the determination of the customer's requirements are also integral aspects of this phase.
The team then breaks down the backlog into smaller tasks and estimates the time and effort required for each task. By the completion of the Envision Phase, the entire team should have a clear understanding of how, what, and when it needs to be done.
The Speculation Phase typically involves two primary tasks:
1) Decomposing the project into a set of overarching milestones and establishing the anticipated project schedule.
2) Developing an initial comprehension of the essential tasks within the project. During this phase, certain tasks are prioritised over others, and the team collaboratively determines the approach for ensuring the quality of the final project outcome.
This phase runs parallel with the project execution , where team members investigate different options to meet project requirements within set limitations. The primary objective is to generate value and uphold the final deliverable's quality.
Much like most Agile approaches, teams concentrate on a solitary milestone, refining their work until it reaches excellence. This phase operates concurrently with the Adapt Phase, as teams might need to adjust their strategy and implementation approach in response to customer requests or unexpected feedback.
The execution phase is where the actual work takes place. The primary emphasis lies in generating value and upholding the quality of the ultimate deliverable.
This phase involves a series of sprints, where the team works on a set of tasks for a fixed period, typically two to four weeks.The team's capacity to adjust to varying situations equips them to handle whatever challenges come their way.
During each sprint, the team focuses on completing the tasks assigned to them, testing the work done, and getting feedback from the stakeholders. The team holds daily stand-up meetings to ensure progress, resolve any issues, and plan for the next day. At the end of each sprint, the team presents a working increment of the product to the stakeholders for feedback.
The Closing Phase is the final phase of the Agile framework, where the project is completed and delivered to the stakeholders. This phase typically involves reviewing the project, documenting any lessons learned, and implementing them in the development of the next project.
The team presents the final product to the stakeholders for acceptance and sign-off. The team then conducts a retrospective to evaluate the project, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate their achievements. The retrospective presents an opportunity for the team to reflect on their performance, identify what they have worked on during the development process, and make changes for future projects.
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Implementing an Agile Framework requires several steps. Listed below is an overview of the process:
a) Evaluate your organisation’s readiness: Before implementing a framework, it is important to assess your organisation’s readiness for the change. This includes understanding the culture, the current development process, and the level of trust from leadership and team members.
b) Select a methodology: There are several Agile methodologies to choose from, such as Scrum, Lean, and Kanban. Each methodology has its own set of principles and practices, so it’s important to choose one that aligns with your organisation’s goals and values.
c) Form a team: An Agile team typically consists of several predefined roles such as Product Owner, Scrum Master, and a Development Team. The Product Owner is responsible for defining the vision of the project and prioritising the backlog. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team is following the practices of the methodology and removing any hindrances to progress. The Development Team is responsible for delivering the final product or increments to the product.
d) Define the project scope: Define the scope of the project and identify the features and increments that need to be delivered. This helps the team create a backlog of user stories that can be prioritised and worked on.
e) Create a product backlog: The product backlog is a prioritised list of user stories that the team will work on during the project. The Product Owner is responsible for creating and prioritising the backlog, and the team can then estimate the effort required to deliver each item.
f) Conduct sprint planning: A sprint is a fixed-length period of time during which the team works to deliver a set of features. During sprint planning, the team selects items from the product backlog to work on during the sprint, and they estimate the effort and time required to deliver each item.
g) Conduct daily stand-up meetings: Daily stand-up meetings are short meetings held every day to keep the team aligned on progress, issues, and plans. Each team member provides a brief update on what they have been working on, or what they plan to work on next, and any issues or obstacles they are facing.
h) Conduct sprint review and retrospective: At the end of each sprint, the team conducts a sprint review to demonstrate the work completed during the sprint and receive feedback from stakeholders. The team also conducts a retrospective to reflect on the sprint and identify areas for improvement.
i) Continuously refine: Agile is an iterative process, so it is important to continuously refine and improve the process to make the next project more efficient. This includes regularly reviewing and adapting the process based on feedback and data.
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There are several types of Agile Frameworks, each with its own unique approach to delivering software. Listed below are the five most popular types of frameworks:
a) Scrum: Scrum is a popular framework for managing and completing complex projects. It is based on small, self-organising teams that work in short iterations called sprints. Each sprint typically lasts between one and four weeks and ends with a review meeting to assess progress and plan the next sprint. Scrum relies on a set of defined roles, including a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and a Development Team. It also includes various ceremonies such as daily stand-up meetings and sprint retrospectives.
b) Kanban: Kanban is a visual framework that has Japanese origins and means an instruction card or a visual signal. It is based on the principle of limiting the amount of work in progress to improve efficiency and reduce waste. In Kanban, work items are represented by cards on a board, and each card is moved through distinct stages of completion. The goal is to keep the flow of work moving steadily through the system. Kanban does not prescribe specific roles, ceremonies, or time boxes, making it highly customisable to fit different team needs.
c) Extreme Programming (XP): XP is an Agile methodology that focuses on delivering high-quality software through continuous testing and feedback. It emphasises practices such as pair programming, test-driven development, continuous integration, and continuous deployment. XP teams work in short iterations, typically two weeks or less, and prioritise delivering working software at the end of each iteration. The framework exhibits the principles of uniformity, simplicity, feedback, endurance, and collaboration.
d) Lean: Lean is an Agile methodology that focuses on maximising value and minimising waste. It is based on the principles of Lean manufacturing and emphasises continuous improvement, customer satisfaction, and respect for people. Lean software development includes practices such as Just-in-Time (JIT) delivery, continuous flow, and pull systems. It also encourages teams to focus on eliminating waste, reducing cycle time, and improving quality.
e) Crystal: Crystal is a family of methodologies that emphasises simplicity, flexibility, and communication. It includes various flavours, such as Crystal Clear, Crystal Red, and Crystal Orange. Each flavour is tailored to different project sizes and team structures. Crystal focuses on creating a culture of trust, where team members are empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work. It also includes practices for improving communication, such as daily meetings and informal check-ins.
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Agile is a broad category encompassing many methodologies and practices, all rooted in the principles and values mentioned earlier. Each of these approaches possesses unique characteristics and specific applications. Among the prominent methods and techniques are Scrum, Kanban, Hybrid, Lean, Bimodal, XP, and Crystal. Before delving into a deeper discussion of these, it's essential to understand their fundamental traits.
In a linear model, this method involves a series of consecutive internal stages in chronological sequence. It is primarily used in industries like construction and manufacturing, where minimal alterations are needed during each phase. Software engineering has also adopted the conventional project management approach.
Scrum stands out as a prominent Agile methodology that outlines the procedural sequence. Its primary focus is fostering robust cooperation among individuals engaged in intricate product development, where frequent modifications and additions occur. This methodology relies on structured interactions among three key roles, each with specific responsibilities: the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team.
Here are five use cases of successful Agile implementation:
a) Software development: Agile Frameworks are widely used in software development. They allow teams to continuously deliver working software in small iterations, gather feedback from users, and make changes accordingly. Companies such as Spotify, Microsoft, and Amazon have adopted Agile for their software development processes.
b) Marketing campaigns: Agile Frameworks can also be applied to marketing campaigns. With an Agile approach, marketers can quickly test different messages and channels, gather data, and adjust their strategy based on the results. This approach has been used by companies such as Coca-Cola and Airbnb.
c) Product development: Agile Frameworks are well-suited for product development because they allow teams to quickly adapt to changes in customer needs and market trends. Companies such as Google and Apple have used this methodology to develop household brands such as Gmail and the iPhone.
d) Construction projects: Agile Frameworks can also be used in construction projects. By breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, construction teams can complete work more efficiently and adapt to changes in project requirements. Companies such as Skanska have successfully used Agile in construction projects.
e) Human resources (HR): Agile Frameworks are applied in HR processes such as performance management and talent acquisition. By adopting an Agile approach, HR teams can quickly respond to changes in business needs and adjust their processes accordingly. Companies such as General Electric (GE) and Randstad have used Agile in their HR processes.
In conclusion, Agile Project Management Framework is a flexible and iterative approach that enables project management teams to adapt to changing requirements, customer needs, and market conditions. By breaking down projects into small, manageable chunks, teams can deliver value incrementally and respond quickly to feedback.
The framework has gained popularity across different industries as organisations recognise the need to be more responsive to customer needs and market trends. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the success of Agile depends on the organisation’s willingness to embrace change and commitment to its principles. Therefore, if you are considering implementing an Agile Project Management Framework in your organisation, it is crucial to invest in training, coaching, and continuous learning to fully leverage its benefits.
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