In the project management and software development fields, Agile project management principles realized and practiced.
Companies are making huge investments in Agile and DevOps tools and training.
The benefits of Agile are well known. Agile helps with speedy roll-outs, continuous improvement, flexibility and reacting to market or customer changes.
Most people don’t know the Agiles guiding principles.
The Agile Manifesto for Agile Software Development lists 12 core principles for Agile project management.
In this article, we take a closer look at those 12 principles and explain what they mean in practice.
12 rules of Agile project management principles
The 12 rules of Agile project management principles are based on the Agile manifesto published by the Agile working group in February 2001.
1-Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
Please customers through early and continuous software delivery. This is the first and most important rule of Agile project management principles.
One of the major focuses of Agile project management is customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery.
In simple terms, this means delivering solutions that solve problems for customers and delight them.
Based on the feedback from the customer, improve the product and make the customer even happier.
2-Welcome changing requirements
Welcome and utilize change for customers’ competitive advantage
Agile also involves welcoming and harnessing change, when relevant, in order to provide superior customer satisfaction and advantage.
As Sarmad Hasan says in a recent blog post, Agile’s advantage over other methodologies is the ability to make changes – even late in the development process – to improve the end result.
3-Deliver working software frequently
Deliver working software frequently, with shorter time scales, preferably every 4 to 6 weeks.
A key aim of the Agile approach in project management is to shorten the time between planning and delivery.
This is achieved by delivering working software on a regular and frequent basis.
This means the team should strive to deliver a working product every 4 or six weeks.
These 4 to 6 weeks time frames are called sprints and durations of sprints should be consistent and not change by more than a week or two.
4-Business people and developers must work together
Promote close day-to-day collaboration between business managers and developers.
The Agile approach works best when business people and developers work closely together.
This means that managers and the technical team should inhabit the same spaces and spend time together.
Where this is not practical, communication software and other technology solutions should be used to facilitate close collaboration.
5-Build projects around motivated individuals
Build projects around team members who are motivated, enthusiastic and love what they do.
Agile project management is intended to remove the need for micromanagement.
To achieve this, projects should be built around team members who are motivated, trustworthy and reliable.
A defining feature of Agile projects is self-directed teams, although sufficient support should be provided to the team during each development cycle.
6- The face-to-face conversation is a must
Communication is most efficient when it takes place when everybody is in the room.
Due to the globalization of development teams, in practice providing virtual communication tools can help remote teams.
Although modern communication software and tools have enabled remote workers to function within project teams, face-to-face communication remains the most efficient method.
People working under one roof and speaking is ideal to speed up communication and clarify any misunderstandings, but not always practical.
7-Working product is the primary measure of progress
The primary measure of Agile project progress is working product or service.
A working prototype, which performs as it should, is the single most important metric for Agile project success.
Indeed, in the absence of a working product, all other metrics don’t mean much.
Once a working prototype is in place, further progress can be measured by improvements made to better the product.
8-Agile processes promote sustainable development
Your project development team should be able to stay focus and work under conditions which are sustainable.
Project teams often run into problems when the development is not sustainable.
This will lead to a lack of productivity caused by burnout from individuals being overworked.
For optimal performance, teams should establish a sustainable pace and then keep to it as much as possible.
The best pace will vary from team to team but should balance both the quantity and quality of work.
Work-life balance is important and without it, product teams will lose drive, focus, and motivation to achieve their best.
9-Continuous attention to technical excellence
Attention should be paid to quality design and technical excellence.
This is done by putting the customer first. Throughout the design and development cycle, the Agile team should keep the customer’s interest as their primary focus.
This means project teams should continuously refine and improve their technical capability.
Anytime anything could be made simpler it should be pursued. Each iteration of the product should be better than the last.
10- Keep things simple Stupid (K.T.S.S)
Keep things simple and only do the things that really matter
A cornerstone of Agility is the desire to keep things as simple as possible and avoid unnecessary complications.
As Kate Swanberg points out in a blog post for Hubspot, this means minimizing the amount of time that is spent on things that do not really matter, so that projects complete on time.
11-self-organizing teams are the most productive and efficient
Self-organizing teams lead to the best design, development process and product.
While Agile projects may or may not have a project manager, the project team should be self-organized and self-directed as much as possible.
This means they will find their own solutions to problems and use their own ideas to innovate.
The manager or the scrum master should only interfere if things go off course. I should point out that frequent interventions by the manager are indicative of wider issues.
12-Reflect on how to become more effective as a team
Inspection, reflection, and adaptation are the keys to product success.
Inspection and reflection are vital components of the Agile approach.
On a regular basis, the project team should take the time to look into the work they have accomplished so far, and consider how they can make improvements.
From there, it is essential that there is a willingness to adapt and adjust in order to make the necessary changes.
If you are not using Agile yet, you should. Agile project management principles are a set of easy rule anybody can follow and achieve success in managing projects.
Agile was written by software engineers for software engineers, but over the years it has proven its value in other disciplines.
If you have insights and suggestions about Agile project management principles leave a comment below. We love to hear from you!
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FAQ: Agile Project Management Principles
What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?
Agile is a general framework that sets the rules for the iterative approach for product development. Scrum is a specific Agile method with rules on how teams develop products.
What’s the optimum size of an Agile team?
Agile is based on lean principles and the size of the team is a critical factor in the success of the project. The optimal size is 4-7 people in the team, anything more than 10 is just too much. For huge projects, teams are divided into autonomous sub-teams, each team consists of 4-7 people. For wider group meetings a representative from each team attends those meetings sometimes called Scrum of Scrum.
Who is the product owner in Scrum?
Each Agile project has a product owner which has P&L responsibility for the product. The Scrum master reports to the product owner.
What is the scrum master's job?
The scrum master is the mother hen i.e the facilitator of the Agile team. The Scrum Master manages the process and ensures information is distributed across the team in a timely and efficient manner.
Nadine is a marketing director at Strategy Execution, a complex problem-solving course provider that also specializes in project management, business analysis, and adaptive leadership programs. An experienced marketing strategist and technologist, Nadine is also passionate about project management, business analysis, and agile PM, managing and contributing to the company PM blog servicing 40,000 monthly users.