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History


The term agile in a layman’s point of view is to be quick, to be able to anticipate, swiftness, proactive etc. Agile project management is known to have come into existence when agile manifesto was introduced.
The aims and objective of agile project management is to help with the relentless changes in a project world. Furthermore, agile management project is more particular about teams within a project. The method is also dedicated to Team work and how leadership should play a prominent role within a team in a project.
Although it has been argued among some scholars that the whole idea and concept of agile project management is not far from other modern methods and approaches such as soft system methodology, six sigma,etc.
Furthermore, Martin Fowler argues that Agile project management in a software development environment is a Continuous Integration. He further explained that continuous integration is where each team member integrates their work regularly and this will normally lead to several integrations daily. Martin Fowler further explains that teams find this approach of continuous integration useful because it helps to reduce integration problems and it also encourages teams to work cohesively so as to develop software more rapidly.

Definition


Agile Project Management can be defined as the management of projects with the ultimate aim to deliver customer value through adaptive planning, quick feedback, continuous improvement as well as with powerful human interaction and association.

Agile Management Methodologies and Techniques


Agile methodology is a project management methodology which is mostly used in software development. It supports teams and it helps them to respond to the variability of developing software through additional, repeatedly work of cadences. This is also called a sprint. Some other methodologies like waterfall, or traditional sequential development encouraged the birth of Agile management.


Agile management has various methods such as eXtreme Programming (XP), Scrum, Agile modelling , Lean Development amongst others.
It has been suggested that Agile project management methods are sometimes describe as a 'disciplined' or 'plan driven' methods of working. However, this statement has been argued to be untrue. This is because in reality, agile project management methods work on a continuing improvement level with constant adaptation in order to keep up with changes within the scope of a project.

Agile methodologies like eXtreme Programming (XP), Scrum and Feature-Driven Development are designed to actually moderate the cost of change all through the software development process. For instance, rapid iterative planning and development cycles are commonly used by XP so as to force a trade-off and deliver the highest value features as early as possible. In addition, the constant, systemic testing that is part of XP ensures high quality via early defect detection and resolution.
Agile Management techniques ensures everyone stays on track whilst maintaining speed and direction on the overall project or program.

Finally, Agile systems is continually being associated with adaptive systems which are changing to solve real problems and issues so that when the needs of a particular project begin to change the adaptive team will also change to be able to deal with the change effectively. On the other hand, the downside to adaptive systems is that they will have difficulty predicting what will happen in the future.

Agile Management Processes


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Diagram adapted from Griffiths (2007).

The diagram above illustrate a typical Agile management process. As a project management method, Agile focuses on delivering Features – or Deliverables – as often as possible and these Deliverable must be Completed, Tested, Debugged and Usable.

Backlog: This is basically an unfinished work. it is meant to be maintained and prioitized.

Iterations: These are the length of time it takes for stories to be delivered. It usually between 1 to 4 weeks.

Daily Review: This refers to daily reveiw of iterations and it is a form of check and balance. Daily review is used to maintain and control iterations. In other words, it is used to make sure everyone stay on track without losing the sight of the main objectives.

Releases: Releases are stages or faces which consist of few tasks or iterations to deliver set targets as define by the client on the project.

Prioritization: There are many ways to organize the Backlog: Business Value, Point value and relative Importance are the most frequently used systems. Business Value indicates the value of releasing a particular Story, Point Value is an indicator of the relative difficulty of delivering the feature while Relative Importance is a measure of how critical a feature is to the overall project. When joined together, these indicators allow for a Cost/benefit analysis that facilitates the Prioritization process.

Roles in Agile Management


There are 4 typical roles in Agile. These are;
  • .The Stakeholder or Project Board who owns or has a considerable interest in the project.
  • ·The Product owner who represents the Stakeholder and prioritizes the iterations and the velocity of the user stories in the project.
  • ·Scrum master /Project Manager who facilitates the team but also has additional responsibility of overseeing and managing the processes, sprint backlogs and resolves any problems that may arise.
  • ·Developers/ workers who have the responsibility for delivering the project , this is usually done in sprints which is brokendown into tasks on a hourly basis.

Benefits of Agile


The benefits of Agile includes;
  • Quicker Time-to-Market
  • Reduced Risk by Managing Uncertainty
  • Increased re activity to changing priorities
  • Superior Productivity & Software Quality
  • Healthier Customer-relationship
  • Better Team Morale

Conclusion


It may be concluded that Agile is NOT that different from traditional project management. It just builds on it and improves elements that were found to be inefficient or problematic, such as managing risk and dealing with changing priorities. Although Agile has been perceived as a methodology that has various advantages with its implementation in organisations with the view of how organisations have to change along with the changing world to be able to remain competitive, it may also be important to point out that agile cannot be incorporated in the construction industry as a construction project will be unable to cope with so many changes.



References

Cohn, M.(2005) Agile Estimating and Planning. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Chin, G. (2004) Agile Project Management. Available at: http://bit.ly/eNnAHt [Accessed ; 25 February 2012].
Cohn, M. and Schwaber, K. (2003) The Need For Agile Project Management. Available at http://bit.ly/eb6JQG [Accessed ; 12 February 2012].
Elliott, S. (2008) Agile Project Management. Available at: http://bit.ly/Iu7uBt [Accessed ; 23 February 2012].
Griffiths, M. (2007) Developments in Agile Project Management. Atlanta Georgia
Hoda, R., Noble, J., Marshall, S. (2008) Agile Project Management. Available at: http://bit.ly/IDrIeu [Accessed ; 13 February 2012].
Maurer, F. (2007) Agile Project Management. Available at: http://bit.ly/IM5M3c [Accessed ; 23 February 2012].
Michael, K. and Voord, M. (2008) Agile Project Management. Available at: http://bit.ly/K1H79J [Accessed ; 25 February 2012].
Planbox (2011) Agile Project Management Demystified. Available at: http://bit.ly/hBR1GX [Accessed ; 15 February 2012].
Schwaber, K. (2009) Agile Project Management with Scrum. Available at: http://bit.ly/k5W31 [Accessed ; 12 February 2012].
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