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Benefits of Agile Project Management

Since the release of the Agile manifesto, more and more non-software companies have started realizing the advantages of Agile project management over the traditional approach.

Here we are going to introduce those essential benefits of Agile Project Management.

1. Reduced Risk

Nowadays, everything changes rapidly as well as customer requirements, which can alter all the time during the project. Unless you can respond to them, you risk accumulating significant project delays and ultimately failing to deliver what has been promised to the end customer. This is what often happens in the traditional waterfall approach to managing projects that is less likely to occur in Agile.

That’s why one of the most significant benefits of Agile lies within adaptability. Agile teams can better react to emerging changes, which reduces the risk of complete project failure. This happens through the concept of continuous delivery and getting customer feedback early in the process, as fast as possible.

When managing Agile projects, instead of having big work batches, we focus on breaking them down into smaller pieces that can bring value to the client. These small but actionable “deliverables are being continuously released to the market without waiting for everything to be completed upfront.

This process helps you reduce the risk of failing to deliver your projects. Whenever a customer changes their requirements, you will be more flexible and adapt to whatever the situation is right on the spot, as opposed to significantly delaying your project.

Besides, you will be able to reduce the risk of accumulating high project costs. With the reduction of the batch size and the high customer involvement at every step of the process, Agile allows you to apply only small modifications where necessary.

This saves you the extra hassle, resources, and costs that you would’ve otherwise accumulated if you had to go back and start the project all over again. As a result, you will be working on a more cost-efficient project which will provide you with the means to make the final product or service cheaper for the end customer.

2. Meeting Customer Expectation

One of the most significant benefits is that it improves the quality of meeting customer expectation. This happens with constant customer collaboration through the feedback loops in an Agile process.

As increment is continuously delivered to the end-customers, they can see and give their respective thoughts on actionable deliverables instantly. This makes sure that teams better understand customer’s specifications to provide them with the right products and services.

However, the other is less common but not less important. It is known as “building quality in” of Lean/Agile practice, which ensures that each work item meets certain quality standards at every step of the workflow.

3. Metrics for Efficiency and Decision Making

Another benefit is the generation of more relevant and accurate metrics for planning volatile projects and measuring performance. One of the biggest advantages of Agile over the traditional approach is that it focuses on data-driven forecasting rather than estimating based on feelings.

In traditional project management, metrics are predominantly used to show how closely the project is tracking against cost and schedule. However, these are mostly estimations detached from reality but missing measurement for efficiency. In Agile, the focus is on producing results, optimizing performance, and making data-driven decisions.

For instance, when optimizing work process and measuring team’s performance, Agile provides metrics such as lead time, cycle time, aging work in progress, throughput, etc.

4. Improved Performance Visibility & Transparency

Imagine that you are driving a car without being able to see the road clearly. How easy would it be for you to take a turn and change your course of direction?

It is the same in project management. Without a visible process, you will have a hard time adapting to emerging changes and measuring performance indicators.

That’s why one of the most critical benefits of Agile lies within the creation of a transparent work process. This allows for spotting issues inside your workflow, put everybody from the team on the same page, and respond to changes more effectively.

In practice, you can make your project’s life cycle more transparent by using KanBan board. With this modern digital boards, you can break down bigger initiatives into smaller tasks (cards), split work process into different phases, create separate workflows, make work policies explicit, and visualize the flow of tasks of team members.

When this is in place, collaboration between colleagues can be improved as everyone will know what the other is working on at any given point of time. Better representation of work process’s performance can be achieved – what type of tasks are taking the most time to be completed, is it a steady process flow, in what stages work is slowing down, etc.

5. Better Team Collaboration and Continuous Improvement

Last but not least, this can also create an environment for better team collaboration and continuous improvement eventually.

In Agile, open communication is the central to successful project delivery. Through Agile practices such as the “Daily Stand-Up Meeting”, teams gather around a digital board and quickly discuss what they have achieved since yesterday. 

In combine with visualization and the active communication, this can increase levels of team involvement and morale. After all, the Agile approach recognizes collaboration as the most important aspect of project management, rather than processes and tools.

Besides that, continuous improvement in Agile is really important, which is seen as a “religion”. As big piles of work are being broken down into smaller pieces and continuously delivered for customer examination, Agile teams can reflect on their feedback and keep refining a product or service to make it better and better with time.

Eventually, the end customers will receive what they asked for and what they really need. in the meanwhile, the collective knowledge gathered by team members through that process will make them more qualified for the successful execution of future projects.

Isabel Leung and Howie Sung are the co-founders of The Agile Eagle, the premiere Scrum, and Agile training and coaching organization.

Join Isabel and Howie in a Professional training course: https://theagileeagle.com/category/professional-training

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