Agile teams build rapid feedback, continuous adaptation, and QA best practices into their iterations. They adopt practices such as continuous deployment and continuous integration using technology that automates steps to speed up the release and use of products.
Additionally, Agile Project Management calls for teams to continuously evaluate time and cost as they move through their work. They use velocity, burndown, and burnup charts to measure their work, instead of Gantt charts and project milestones to track progress.
Agile Project Management does not require the presence or participation of a project manager. Although a project manager is essential for success under the traditional project delivery methodologies, such as the waterfall model — where the position manages the budget, personnel, project scope and other key elements — the project manager’s role under APM is distributed among team members.
For instance, the product owner sets project goals, while team members divvy up scheduling, progress reporting and quality tasks. Certain Agile approaches add other layers of management. The Scrum approach, for example, calls for a Scrum Master who helps set priorities and guides the project through to completion.
But project managers can still be used in Agile Project Management. Many organizations still use them for Agile projects — particularly larger, more complex ones. These organizations generally place project managers in more of a coordinator role, with the product owner taking responsibility for the project’s overall completion.
Given the shift in work from project managers to Agile teams, Agile Project Management demands that team members know how to work within the framework. They must be able to collaborate with each other and with users. They must be able to communicate well to keep projects on track. And they should feel comfortable taking appropriate actions at the right times to keep pace with delivery schedules.
There are five main phases involved in the APM process.
- Envision: The project and overall product are first conceptualized in this phase and the needs of the end customers are identified. This phase also determines who is going to work on the project and its stakeholders.
- Speculate: This phase involves creating the initial requirements for the product. Teams will work together to brainstorm a features list of the final product, then identify milestones involving the project timeline.
- Explore: The project is worked on with a focus on staying within project constraints, but teams will also explore alternatives to fulfill project requirements. Teams work on single milestones and iterate before moving on to the next.
- Adapt: Delivered results are reviewed, and teams adapt as needed. This phase focuses on changes or corrections that occur based on customer and staff perspectives. Feedback should be constantly given, so each part of the project meets end-user requirements. The project should improve with each iteration.
- Close: Delivered results are reviewed and teams adapt as needed. The final project is measured against updated requirements. Mistakes or issues encountered within the process should be reviewed to avoid similar issues in the future.