Studies conducted in the last year reveal that agile management is not only garnering attention, but also gaining high rates of adoption. A
Agile is a very popular methodology in development and project management today, and in a vast majority of cases such as the reports above, is believed to deliver more value to organizations. It proposes alternatives to traditional methods in order to build management for an agile team. Agile approaches are typically used in software development to help businesses respond to unpredictability.
While it’s only been a few years since agile gained the attention of businesses across the world, agile is not really a completely new concept. Most people put traditional team management against agile. Some even say you can’t mix the two methods together.
But in reality, agile management was developed to improve upon existing traditional management methods. Agile and traditional project management approaches need to be perceived as complementary rather than competitive approaches that are also capable of being blended together as necessary to fit a situation rather than being binary, mutually-exclusive choices.
Here are 5 ways businesses can build a more agile team structure using traditional ways, with some minor tweaks from agile inputs.
#1. Iterative Project Planning
In traditional project management, plans and estimates are normally made only once at the beginning of the project, with a front-loaded approach, and the rest of the project is spent adjusting to stick to the plan. To become more agile, project managers can work with the team to facilitate their creativity, navigate obstacles and provide input not just at the start of the project, but on every phase of development.
There are different faces of leadership in today’s digital age. Effective leaders should also improve productivity by estimating tasks that can be started with as soon as possible, instead of taking so much time creating a plan and taking no action. Businesses need to realize as well that an accurate and predictive plan is impossible at the start of a project, and should aim to develop a prototype that the client can immediately provide feedback on.
Teams can incorporate what is learned from every iteration of the plan into the next one is also one important step on how to effectively develop an agile team. This way, they create self-correcting, self-regulating plans and estimates that are based in reality. This concept of reality-based estimation and development, which enables the client to continuously correct our course and the team to constantly correct our plans and estimates, is at the heart of highly productive and agile management.
#2. Daily Task Updates
Most team members and team managers receive updates on their tasks through softwares, as well as end-of-day reports. This is a great way to keep track of what other people in the team are doing, but traditional task management can be made even more productive by through quick meetings on a daily basis. Agile users call these scrum meetings, and this is an important aspect on how to develop the team to be productive and agile.
The best is if everyone in the team simply answers up to 3 simple questions to see what progress has been made. The questions should focus on what was done yesterday, what will be done today, and what are the challenges being experienced at work, if any. Scrum meetings should be part of the daily business process, held at the same time each day, preferably in the morning, and rescheduled only if it is absolutely necessary. It helps the team to develop “the sense of ownership” of the meeting.
#3. Quality Assurance Checks
Agile methods generally allow for faster iteration and more frequent releases with subsequent user feedback that can be worked into future development. Waterfall methods tend to greatly lessen the number and severity of errors that will affect the end user. To better reinforce strategic plan, the optimum project combination incorporates significant planning and quality assurance input early and often in the development process to mitigate errors while introducing agile processes to the release schedule and user feedback opportunities, allowing for faster and more controlled improvements.
#4. Receiving Customer Feedback
As mentioned above, quality assurance in traditional methods involve evaluation after each phase is completed and generally do not incorporate customer feedback until project completion. Managing a team is like content marketing and social media with a psychoanalytic approach, where customer feedback should be acquired and even analyzed frequently every step of implementation.
Businesses can leverage the power of customer involvement by collaborating with the customer and delivering what is of value to them. This proactive approach will allow you to ensure that impediments, which delay delivery of product, are managed and eliminated.
#5. Project Documentation
Traditional projects are driven by phases, each phase yields an outcome. The projects are described as waterfall because in a strict view, you will not commence one phase until the previous phase is complete and has passed through a phase gate or approval process. When issues are identified requiring change, a change control is issued thereby adjusting one or all of; the timeline, resourcing needs and cost estimates.
An organization can become more agile with documentation by tracking activity patterns, such as checking editing activity levels for document sets. Agile project documentation will likely have changes occurring in the corpus of project documents on a very frequent basis. Either new documents will be created or existing documents edited on a just enough basis. For example, a new detailed use case may be needed for a specific iteration, this may be added as a new doc or edited within an existing doc. Expect changes at least as frequently as every iteration.
Traditional teams strive to finish the project on time and under budget, and this is why they often lose sight of the overall benefits the entire effort is intended to bring the organization. It is important to remember the strategy the project is expected to advance as well as the total cost of ownership and not just the project costs. In this way, the benefits of the project will be obvious, whether the team is constructing a building or developing a new business solution.
Traditional and agile project management have similar philosophies: it is about leading a team, developing a great product for the customer, and delivering measurable business results. Your team is your business. By embracing agile management principles into traditional waterfall projects, clients can become more involved and businesses will become more productive.
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