Agile Project Management. A super buzz-worthy term, that’s for sure. But what does it actually mean? How does Agile/Scrum methodology fit in? And, most importantly, how can all of this help you do your work better?
We’re pulling back the curtain on Agile Project Management (and Scrum’s part in it all), to make it real, tangible, and usable. Because, when you get right down to it, that’s what it’s all about.
So, What Is Agile Project Management?
Agile Project Management was born out of the software development world nearly twenty years ago. (Spoiler Alert. You don’t need to be a card-carrying tech whiz to use an agile process. Stay tuned for How To Demystify Agile Project Management: Part 2.) It is all about breaking down big work into smaller pieces of work to do in shorter timeframes. By focusing on these chunks of work, rather than attacking a behemoth project all at once, you’re able to more easily assess the quality of your work, get feedback, make changes, and avoid a large scale fail. You continue this “lather, rinse, and repeat” agile process of continuously improving incremental bits of work through the duration of your project. The result? A more efficient workflow that empowers teams, drives quality and delivers a better end-product, not to mention a whole lot of other great things.
What’s Scrum Got To Do With It?
Full disclosure, this is a big picture answer. (Stay tuned for more in-depth Agile/Scrum blogs, coming soon.) Technically, Agile is a theory. Scrum provides the most popular methodology to “do Agile.” (If you’re looking for hands-on training and certification on Scrum, we think these guys do a great job at making Scrum usable and practical.)
In a nutshell, Scrum gives us an iterative framework (think “lather, rinse, and repeat”) to be successful at Agile Project Management. Scrum comes equipped with concepts that enable agility, such as:
- “Backlog” - the laundry list of big, to-do projects.
- “Epic” - the big, to-do projects that live in the Backlog.
- “Story” - the chunk of work.
- “Task” - the even smaller, bite-sized detail that makes up a chunk of work.
- “Sprint” - the timeframe to tackle your chunks of work, usually 2-week cycles.
- “Sprint Planning“ - the process of breaking down the Epics from the Backlog into Stories for the next Sprint.
But, Why Does All Of This Agile/Scrum Methodology Matter?
Let’s let the data do the talking. Forbes interviewed more than 500 senior executives about Agile Project Management. From growing the bottom line to staying ahead of the competition, to heightening the customer experience, Forbes’ survey results showed that being agile is a game-changer. Here’s a taste of the survey results:
- 92% said being agile is critical to business success.
- 50% credit agile processes with bringing products faster to market.
- 47% attribute agility for faster decision making.
- 47% believe Agile Project Management improved responding to and meeting customer expectations.
- 41% responded that Agile Project Management increased profits and/or revenue.
(Achieving Greater Agility, Forbes Insights, 2017)
This Agile/Scrum methodology stuff does matter. And, a lot of teams are seeing (and benefiting from) its value.
Who Can Really Benefit The Most From Agile Project Management?
Put simply, anyone who’s involved in creating something of value can benefit from Agile Project Management. Keep in mind; you can define ‘something of value’ pretty loosely. While your ‘something of value’ could be developing a new software application for a customer, it doesn’t have to be an IT-thing. We’ve worked with numerous Scrum teams (and non-Scrum teams) who use Agile Project Management for everything from graphic design to employee recruitment to party planning.
So, if whether you’re a Project, Product, or Program Manager, Director, Designer, or Developer, Stakeholder, Subject Matter Expert, or Salesperson - Agile Project Management may be just what you and your team need to:
The Question Now Becomes: What’s The Easiest Way To Do It?
The answer: Use a simple, intuitive, and visual Agile Project Management tool that lets you seamlessly plan your next Sprint and hit the ground running.