what is agile project management?

Posted by Amit Goel on 9th August 2020

Someone rightly said, ‘Agile to me means people having fun in a great environment, working for each other and towards a common goal. Introduce management, reporting, narrow-minded professionals, and the workplace will return to misery.’ I agree with this wholeheartedly and would like to add that being agile is not just about adding other qualifications to your resume or blindly following agile gods who are imposing perceived form of “pure” agile principles and techniques. Relax and think again! Agile is about having a pragmatic approach to your project and ways of working with an agile mind-set.

A fundamental philosophy of agile is that teams should be allowed to choose their own ways of working. They should be enabled with opportunities to identify issues, inspect processes, and experiment with potential improvements. This cultivates an environment of continuous improvement, surfaces issues in earlier stages of the project, builds trust in the team, promotes an environment of psychological safety, and improves overall project performance. Let the teams choose or tailor their own way of working that is relevant to the project needs, team dependencies, enterprise policy, business domain, market needs, tools availability etc.

I have come across a collection of 40 different agile approaches, methodologies, and frameworks. If you search the internet, you may come across more. As we know one size does not fit all, it is imperative for the project teams to tailor or select the project lifecycle considering their project context.

One of my favourites, delivery focused agile approach is ‘Disciplined Agile Delivery’. According to Disciplinedagileconsortium.org, “Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is a people-first, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. It has a risk-value delivery lifecycle, is goal-driven, is enterprise aware, and is scalable''. Where most teams are inclined towards scrum form of iterative development, Disciplined Agile offers six different delivery life cycles. I have had the opportunity to work on some of the below lifecycles and have found them very effective.

My quick notes on each lifecycle is below. For detailed information please refer to Disciplinedagileconsortium.org -

  1. Agile - A scrum-oriented life cycle, where teams focus on creating consumable solutions, based on short iterations (sprints). Teams can plan for next 2 -3 weeks on their activities and deliverables
  2. Lean – KANBAN oriented life cycle where teams visualize their work, reduce work in processes to streamline workflows, and pull work based on available capacity. Lean is most efficient for Just in Time (JIT) requirements and for BAU projects
  3. Continuous Delivery Agile - Scrum based lifecycle for product teams and agile-based life cycle, with very short iterations resulting in product releases every iteration
  4. Continuous Delivery Lean - KANBAN based lifecycle for product teams where work is released into the product whenever possible, often several times per day or week
  5. Exploratory – A Lean Start-up based life cycle focussed to deliver a minimal viable product (MVP) to validate with the customer. Effective lifecycle in initial phases of product development and securing seed funding
  6. Program – A scaling-based life cycle where a large team organizes into a team of teams

If you would like to discuss these life cycles in detail, then please feel free to contact me. I would be glad to help you in selection of the relevant life cycle for your project or tailoring your workflows and processes.

On the topic of Ways of Working (WoW), thanks for appreciating our podcast “New Norms and New Ways of Working”. Speaking with professionals from different industries, we have learnt that the businesses that have stayed resilient in these difficult times have a pragmatic approach to their processes, adapted to change and showcased an excellent example of agile mind-set.

Sources of information - https://www.disciplinedagileconsortium.org & https://www.pmi.org

For tips on using Microsoft Teams for Project Management -