What Is Agile Project Management? (With Values And Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project managers can use different methods of developing and maintaining processes to complete projects. One common option is Agile, which is a project management philosophy that involved several methodologies focused on collaboration and efficiency. Learning about this approach can help you determine if it is suitable for your goals, your team and your projects. In this article, we explain what Agile project management (APM) is, list its values, principles and benefits, describe the steps in an Agile process and answer frequently asked questions about implementing Agile and its methodologies.

What Is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management is an iterative approach that focuses on flexibility and reassessment throughout the development of a product. Businesses may implement this approach to help them create quality products more quickly than they can with traditional approaches. Agile offers benefits throughout the production process by incorporating change and customer feedback at several intervals, not just at the end. Although professionals in all industries can implement Agile practices, some of the core values and principles of this framework relate directly to software development.

APM has many differences from traditional project management. In a traditional model, a project team sets a specific goal, creates a series of steps to reach that goal and then implements the process. APM breaks a project down into small goals, or sprints, and utilises frequent assessments to reshape the steps and even possibly the end goal. Traditional project management is linear, which means teams complete each step before the next can begin. Agile management is iterative, which allows teams to work on multiple steps simultaneously and assess them at the same time.

Related: 37 Common Agile Interview Questions With Example Answers

The Agile Manifesto

In 2001, seventeen software developers created a list of core values and principles managing projects with Agile. The Agile Manifesto is a compilation of best practices that developers throughout the industry use frequently. There are many methodologies that use Agile as a framework, but they all incorporate the essential components of the Agile Manifesto. Here are the core Agile values and principles:

4 core values of Agile

The Agile Manifesto outlines four core values that are essential to every Agile project. They are:

  1. People and communication have a higher value than processes and tools.

  2. Functioning software is more important than documentation.

  3. Collaboration with the customer matters more than contract negotiation.

  4. Adapting to change takes priority over following a plan.

Related: What Is A Scaled Agile Framework? (Principles And Benefits)

12 Agile principles

The 12 Agile principles outline the practical application of the core Agile values in project management. These principles are:

  1. Satisfy customers through the early and continuous delivery of a working product.

  2. Welcome changes in the development plan, even at the late stages of the project.

  3. Deliver working software at regular intervals, from every couple of weeks to every couple of months.

  4. Break silos by communicating and collaborating with the client throughout the project.

  5. Build projects around motivated professionals and give them the resources and support to complete their tasks.

  6. Prioritise face-to-face communication, as it is the most efficient and effective way to share information.

  7. Measure the progress of the project through your consistent delivery of working software.

  8. Maintain a sustainable development pace that teams, clients and users can maintain indefinitely.

  9. Focus on technical excellence and quality design to enhance agility throughout the development process.

  10. Maximise the work not done to create simplicity, which is essential to preventing wasted time.

  11. Generate the most valuable architectures, products and designs by allowing self-organised teams.

  12. Reflect regularly to determine how to become more effective and how to implement changes for improvement.

Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits

Benefits

Teams often choose Agile methodologies because they can offer many benefits, such as:

Improved adaptability

Project managers may take an Agile approach to project development because of its adaptability, which can prevent risks. Its focus on continuous improvement allows teams to make real-time decisions and improve products throughout the process. This differs from traditional approaches, which rely on the predictions teams establish in project documentation in the early stages. While teams cannot revise documentation in traditional approaches, they can make changes at multiple intervals with Agile, which makes the process more flexible.

Related: Adaptability: An Essential Skill For Changing Workplaces

Increased customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a core value of Agile, so its methodologies focus on processes that lead to quality products. An essential element of these processes is collaboration. Working with clients allows teams to ensure they are meeting the client's requirements and preferences for the product at regular intervals, which is a requirement in Agile project development. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction than waiting until the end to produce the product for the client as it allows for adaptability and change.

Related: Customer Satisfaction: How To Measure And Tips for Improvement

Higher team morale

While teams and individuals have rigid roles and regular oversight in a traditional development process, Agile teams are autonomous. Team leaders typically choose high-performing professionals and provide them with the required resources before allowing them to manage their own tasks. They trust team members to perform their duties, collaborate with their colleagues at any point in development and offer feedback and problem-solving ideas to the process. This often improves team morale, as leaders encourage teams to exercise their creativity and maximise their skills.

Related: What Is Employee Retention? (And How To Increase It)

Steps In The Process

Although the specific process varies by methodology, the five basic steps in an Agile process are:

  1. Define the project. Before any work can begin, the team determines the project's end goal. The goal is relatively broad to account for revisions and improvements throughout the process.

  2. Design the plan. Creating a project roadmap involves listing all the features included in the final product. This is not a list of steps, but a list of elements the team can complete somewhat simultaneously.

  3. Build the product. Teams start the project by initiating the iterative phase, which involves repeating multiple steps until they achieve the ideal product. During this phase, teams complete a product development stage, collaborate with the client, change the product's features based on client feedback and repeat the process as many times as necessary to create a quality product.

  4. Release the product. Once the team has reached its product development goals, they test the product to confirm its quality and usability. They can then release it for production.

  5. Maintain the product. After the product becomes available to customers, Agile teams review and test it regularly to ensure it meets client requirements and user expectations. During this maintenance stage, teams resolve bugs, provide product training and upgrade the product with new features based on client and user feedback.

Related: What Is A Sprint In Agile? (Definition, Benefits And Example)

FAQs About Using Agile

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about using Agile processes as part of a software development team:

How can a team become Agile?

The first step in creating an Agile team is selecting motivated professionals and encouraging them to succeed in their roles. Pursuing professionals who have the experience and ability to practise their skills without oversight allows for the adaptability and collaboration Agile requires. It is also important to make sure the organisation's operations are suitable for Agile teams. Organisational cultures that encourage autonomy, welcome change and provide support to management are ideal for Agile methodologies, as they reflect the philosophy's values. After establishing a team, you can determine the best Agile methodology based on the project's purpose and goals.

Related: 10 Scrum Master Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?

While Agile is a philosophy that involves many project management methodologies, Scrum is one of the many Agile methodologies a project manager can choose. Scrum is a popular Agile approach among project management teams, particularly in software development, as it allows multiple teams to work together on iterative steps. It involves steps called sprints, which are short, established time frames during which teams work on specific product features. Teams present working software to clients at the end of a sprint, gather their feedback and plan another sprint to implement changes and add new features until they complete the project.

Related: Agile Vs. Scrum: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)

What are some other Agile methodologies?

Project managers implement different Agile methodologies based on their industry, goals and team formats. For example, some methodologies are more suited for projects outside the software development field than others are, and some are better for in-person than remote teams. Here are some other common Agile methodologies:

  • Kanban: This methodology involves using visual depictions of the development process to ensure transparency and prepare teams for upcoming tasks.

  • Crystal: Crystal is a series of Agile frameworks that focuses on customising the Agile process to best suit the requirements of each project.

  • Extreme Programming (XP): XP is similar to Scrum, but it involves shorter sprints, changes within sprints, customer-established timelines for feature development and engineering practices.

  • Feature-Driven Development (FDD): FDD is an incremental approach that involves developing a project model, creating a list of features and then planning, designing and building by feature.

  • Lean software development: Lean software development is the incorporation of the Agile process into the Lean philosophy, which focuses on reducing waste through excessive resource usage.


Related:

  • Agile Vs. Scrum: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)

  • 37 Common Agile Interview Questions With Example Answers

  • A Guide To Disciplined Agile: Definition, Uses And Benefits

  • 37 Agile Coach Interview Questions With Sample Answers

  • 36 Agile Project Manager Interview Questions (With Answers)

  • 9 Agile Certifications That Can Advance Your Career

  • Agile Workflow: A Complete Guide (With Advantages And Tips)

  • How To Write An Agile BA Resume (With Template And Example)

  • What Is A Scaled Agile Framework? (Principles And Benefits)


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