Software project management has evolved in the last decade with the introduction of Agile methodologies like Scrum and XP. People often ask me the difference between traditional project management and Agile project management. Here is what I have discovered while managing Agile projects:
The Team leads the project
In Agile project management, it’s not only the project manager, but the entire software development team that leads the project. Client becomes the ‘product owner’ while the development team takes charge of how things get done. The project manager acts like a guide post, who keeps both client and the development team in sync while keeping an eye on the shipment dates. To be precise, the Agile project manager becomes an ‘Enabler’.
Velocity takes the front seat
This is one of my favorites. The project manager no longer needs to stick to the gantt charts to get a grasp of project progress. Velocity provides a much more powerful insight into team’s performance. With every iteration, an Agile project manager knows his team’s velocity and can adjust resources for the next iteration accordingly.
Planning is not a one time job
In traditional project management, the project plan is written as if things will work the way they are planned. On the contrary, in Agile project management, planning is much more frequent and lot more realistic. In the beginning of the project, there is story planning; then sprints are planned and in every sprint there are iterations where things get prioritized. Not only the project manager but everyone including the client and development team gets involved in planning.
Agile project management is about dynamic communication
If communication is an art; an Agile project manager has to be the master artist. The communication of an Agile project manager constantly bridges gaps between the client and the development team. Recent I read this somewhere – “It is better to over-communicate than not to communicate”. In Agile project management, this is the ‘rule of thumb’.
End value matters, not the end result!
Sounds surprising, but it is true. Agile project management is focused towards end value rather than the end result. An Agile project manager has no control over the end result because of the fact that Agile projects are adaptive in nature. Nobody can prodict the end result, not even the client. After all, it is the end value that customer gets that really matters…isn’t it?
Agile project management is a discipline which will evolve a whole new breed of ‘next generation’ project managers who are ready to adopt, learn and lead software projects like truly visionary leaders.
What are your experiences/views on Agile project management?