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Project Management.

6 Advantages of Agile Project Management

Project Management.

6 Advantages of Agile Project Management

Faster Feedback Cycle

Agile project management stands out due to its rapid feedback loop. This approach is highly effective when dealing with projects in which user requirements are subject to change, and the final product has to be closely tailored to users’ needs. The central tenet of agile is that every phase or “sprint” of development should be followed by a review phase. Thus, members of the development team, as well as clients and end-users, can assess feedback.

Consider an example of an agile development team, which, after a two-week sprint, determines that there is a sufficient number of features to release for beta testing. In the final stage of the sprint or at the start of the third week, the team launches a functional, but not a feature-complete version of their application for a group of beta-testers. In the review, the development team hears the comments of the testers and customers, which regarding the status of the application, such as the improvement of the user interface or more features. Next, such feedback is used in planning further development . This means that the iterative process is continually adjusted to the users’ previous experiences and expectations.

Such a mechanism could be considered a real-time loop, crucial for developers. The approach ensures that the product will evolve along the lines to which there will be external validation from actual users. As a result, the risk will be minimal that the full launch of the product will meet poor market fit.

It follows that the success of agile is due to its feedback loop. Research claims that agile projects are 28% more successful than the traditional ones. The reason for this is their high adaptability. They exhibit a concern for the feasibility of their projects informed by constant feedback. This approach is most valuable in industries where strong time to market and fast adoption of the new opportunities is paramount.

Catch Problems Early

One of the main benefits of using agile project management is the opportunity to detect and solve the issue at the early stages so it would not escalate into the major problem. The point is that this type of management implies different iterations and evaluations meaning that the feedback is acquired relatively often. For example, a mobile application can be developed using agile methods by a development team that has sprints lasting for two weeks. This implies that at the end of the two-week period the group has to show a working increment of the application.

At the same time, the testing is incorporated into the daily tasks along with coding, peers’ reviews, etc. Developing software in such a way allows developers and software testers to detect bugs or possible usability issues almost right away. In addition, this allows solving these minor problems immediately, meaning that defects would never be accumulated. It is vital to admit that adopting an agile project management system instead of the traditional approach or no specific system results in the reduced risk.

Indeed, using traditional approaches, defects are often piled up resulting in the scope creep. Several insignificant changes are introduced in the project which was perfectly planned earlier, and changes start accumulating. This often occurs when there is no testing until the completion of the project. The main reason for the reduced number of bugs or other defects in the agile project is the fact that software is tested often . At the same time, if the developers and testers notice the problem relatively soon, it is easier to analyze the issue and solve it with the minimum resources and time. On the whole, the team morale also improves when the problems do not accumulate and do not cause the last minute havoc.

Project Management

Higher Customer Satisfaction

Agile project management facilitates customer satisfaction

Active customer involvement throughout the project implementation is a major advantage of Agile project management. Clients can interact at any step of the process and are not confined to providing feedback at specific milestones or the project’s completion. In most cases, the final work will meet the client’s expectations more closely as a result. This example contrasts with customers only interacting after the completion of the project. Suppose a retail business needed a customized software solution. In an agile tracking approach , the business owner will participate in every meeting controlling the ongoing process, including the demonstration of the product of the current work in the process. The above example showcases how client interaction can assist in the development of a product that better matches the customer’s expectations and visions. Suppose the retail business owner becomes greatly inspired by the impact of apps on clients. In that case, the development team can direct the work towards mobile applications and implement new technology searching by app or data from apps for the business software.

Effects on satisfaction

The implementation of this method has a measurable impact on customer satisfaction. One of the most recent versions of the State of Agile Survey published by VersionOne and cited by Kotin shows that improved customer satisfaction is the most crucial benefit of Agile project management. Seventy percent of organizations using this methodology reported the expansion of client happiness as a result of using Agile tools. For instance, a digital marketing agency used Agile solutions to redesign webs for its customers. Their client happiness survey results increased by 30%. The clients were pleased with the development teams’ adaptability to marketplace shifts and their continually new ideas. To be successful in the implementation of this methodology, the partners must establish proper communication, continuously integrate customers into periodic reviews and redefine directions based on their feedback, as well as clearly establishing a scope of work that customers understand the boundaries of available time and resources.

Time to Market Significantly Reduced

Agile project management allows organizations to significantly reduce the time to market for new products and updates, an important consideration for modern, fast-paced business environments. The use of this approach involves breaking the project into manageable, easily deliverable units, with an emphasis on the rapidity with which each segment is provided to the customer. For instance, consider the development of a new innovative tech gadget. In an agile framework, this project would be divided into several approved phases, with each phase including a potentially shippable product increment . This would have the effect of allowing companies to release the first iterations of the gadget when they are ready or to test them in the market to gauge customers’ initial reaction and collect valuable feedback.

In this way, the product could be brought to market much sooner than it would take if the entire gadget were to be finished first . A survey of a variety of tech companies showed that a change in practices that allowed a switch to an agile methodology reduced their products’ time to market by 40%. Typical agile practices support this approach, such as continuous integration or deployment . A significant reduction occurs in lead time, which is the time between starting to build a product and the time it is brought to the market, as well as the time between subsequent releases.

For instance, a company producing mobile applications showed that the average time between updates had fallen from four months to four weeks . This allowed it to remain competitive by quickly reacting to customers’ demands or problems with the earlier version. At the same time, it required a certain disciplined attitude from company staff and the ability to manage the balance of structuring their work. This is achieved by having regular sprints, constantly re-evaluating the priority of tasks based on their value to the business, and making sure that all work is delivered in concentrated, short periods. Many common practices in waterfall project management can be eliminated to allow teams to work fast without interruptions.

Better Visibility

Visibility is one of the most important concepts of agile project management. It stands for the optimal level of stakeholders’ perception about progress, challenges, and outcomes at every stage of the project. Such transparency is among the biggest benefits of agile methodologies.

In most cases, the central point where visibility takes place includes meetings, detailed reports about progress, and open communication. In agile software development, for example, teams use Kanban boards or a Scrum task board to visually manage their work. Additionally, they create detailed reports from these tools, demonstrating each task at various stages of completion—planned, running, or done, for instance. As a result, all people participating in the project, starting from members of the development team to top management, can check every single piece of work at any time. Decisions are made based on the most recent information, leading to an optimal distribution of resources and minimization of the project’s timeframe.

The case study of the multinational corporation has brought in a conclusion that overall visibility increased the level of project status reporting reaching from about 45% to over 90%. An analysis of a few agile projects showed that managers improved tracking of deliverables used in reports and were able to dynamically adjust resources in response to incidents in the process of work.

Project Management.
Project Management

During regular sprint reviews, in which the output of the project is checked, the project team demonstrates their work. Not work in the sense of input from the team’s side, but output, which is always a part of real results that have been an expectation of the stakeholders along with the launch of the project. However, such visibility is not ensured only by using visual tools for tracking progress. Relatively immature methods in each agile team, who does not communicate enough, can lead to a lack of general visibility about project dynamics and the capacity of the team. This is why daily stand-ups are held, in which team members announce what they did yesterday, what they plan to do today, and what obstacles ultimately might stop them.

Focus on Value Delivery

Agile project management stresses value delivery to the customer at every step of the project. This results in every feature, task, or enhancement having a direct business purpose. In this way, the project ensures the maximum return on investment and customer satisfaction.

At the same time, agile projects prioritize value delivery over doing tasks or sticking to the plan they have developed. For example, consider creating a new online shopping platform. The agile project team would prioritize features based on their impact on customer experience and the potential revenue to be generated. Thus, they may decide that it makes more sense to implement an enhanced secure payment gateway at this time, rather than a recommendation system. This choice is based on customer data and the feedback that they are asking to improve the platform’s security, which is more important than its recommendation system . It ensures delivering functional outcomes as soon and as often as possible. Thus, a certain financial services company reported increasing its customer satisfaction by about 30% by adopting this strategy. In this way, the company managed to deliver frequent updates that improved the whole system in order to meet customer needs, rather than performing only large-scale changes once every few years.

To successfully implement this strategy, agile teams use such techniques as MoSCoW in order to evaluate the value and urgency of work and prioritize it . In this way, the strategy allows making smart choices about what should be done first and what can wait in terms of value. At the same time, to keep the focus on value, regular meetings with clients and end-users should be carried out in order to understand what should be the top priority at that moment. In summary, the agile approach allows assessing project goals with business needs on a regular basis, which ensures that the most valuable aspects are done throughout the project, not necessarily at the end.

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