The Essential Guide to Agile Project Management

Agile, Project Management

Agile Project Management

Agile is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to manage projects in complex and dynamic business environments. It is a modern and adaptable approach to project management that allows team members to quickly transition towards a more productive work experience.

According to PMI, over 70% of organizations have integrated the Agile Project Management approach as it offers 28% more successful results than traditional projects.

In this guide, we will help you understand what Agile means and how it works so that you have adequate knowledge to recognize situations that require adaptive practices like Agile and as a result, implement the approach in your organization.


What Is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project Management facilitates the breaking down of large rigid projects into smaller, manageable goals and tasks. These are completed in small stages or cycles throughout the life cycle of the project. Agile Project Management approach provides a lot of benefits to teams and can help them optimize workflow, adapt to dynamic project requirements, and complete their work faster. As the name implies, this approach provides teams the agility to change their focus and direction to get better outcomes.

Martech[1] (the blending of marketing and technology) companies are familiar with situations that require sudden changes from project stakeholders, often on a weekly basis. This approach enables teams to reevaluate the work that they have been doing and add in any of the changing requirements to ensure their working landscape changes, so does the focus for the team.

If you are using the approach for the first time, it might seem like a complicated, unintuitive, and difficult-to-manage system. However, most firms that look towards success are already doing many of the things that are part of Agile Project Management. With some simple adjustments, you can create shorter cycles or sprints and achieve smaller but more frequent goals.

The Core Values of Agile

According to Agile Project Management, there are four core values that provide guidance for teams that are using this approach. The four values are given below:

1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools

No matter what kind of cutting-edge technology you are using, the human element remains the most essential role in Agile Project Management, not to mention all other forms of project management. If your company depends too much on tools and processes, it may not be able to change in response to varying circumstances.

2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Although extensive documentation is important, it is more important to give the project developers the technology they require to finish the project on time, without information overload.

3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

Keeping your customers involved every step of the way is crucial since this will ascertain that your final product meets the expectations of your customers.

4. Responding To Change Over Following a Plan

As you can see, this value carries the essence of what Agile Project Management is all about. Often, in traditional project management, change is seen as a risk and is therefore, avoided. However, Agile sees change as an opportunity to grow and allows team to continuously change their tactics and make amendments throughout the lifecycle of a project.

The Principles of Agile

Agile enables the use of diverse and one-of-a-kind methodologies. However, this approach consists of 12 principles that can guide your decision-making and project development process. The Agile Manifesto focuses on the following principles.

  1. The highest priority of Agile isto fulfill clients’ requests efficiently and effectively by providing continuous delivery of the project or product that is under development.
  2. Agile welcomes changing requirements, no matter the stage the project may be. Agile practices can leverage change to give customers a competitive edge.
  3. Agile Project Management works by delivering projects frequently between a time range of two weeks and two months, and prefers shorter timescales over longer ones.
  4. Executives and developers must work with each other every day throughout the life cycle of the project.
  5. Projects must be built around motivated individuals. Companies need to provide them with the support and environment they need and place their trust in them to deliver the product.
  6. Direct or face-to-face conversation is the most effective and efficient way to update teams with new information.
  7. The primary measure of progress is a working end product.
  8. Agile Project Management supports sustainable project development. This means stakeholders, including users, developers, and sponsors, should keep a constant pace at all times.
  9. Agility is improved by nonstop attention to good design and technical excellence.
  10. Keep it simple by reducing the amount of work that needs to be done.
  11. The best designs, requirements, and architectures appear from self-organizing teams.
  12. The team is committed to becoming more effective and tweaks its behavior accordingly at regular intervals.

Agile Team Role

As we mentioned before, Agile methodologies are unique and diverse and may require a specific team role to finish the agenda. On the other hand, team members may not have any specific role at all. The Agile Manifesto does not make it necessary to assign individuals any roles, but you may find some common roles in teams following Agile practices.

The Scrum Master

Although The Scrum Master does not have any direct authority or high-level decision-making powers, they make sure that every sprint goes as planned. They are also responsible for reducing or eliminating any issues that crop up during product development.

Scrum Product Owner

The Scrum Product Owner provides a vision for the production needs and conveys it to the development team. Usually, the Scrum Product Owner motivates the team with clear and realistic goals and prioritizes the team’s backlog. They serve as the liaison between internal stakeholders and customers.

Team Members

These include the people who work to achieve the goals in the sprints. Typically, these teams may be made of up to seven people — though there can be more — with diverse skills and strengths. However, a team can also comprise people who have the same type of job roles.


These people do not directly work on the project. Instead, they only need to be kept updated on the sprint goals. They are the ones who review the end product of a sprint and determine whether it meets the mark or not by providing their feedback on the product.

Every Agile methodology consists of unique roles and team members; however, there are some universal role attributes that are characteristic of Agile teams.

T-shaped Structure: T-shaped teams involve people who possess in-depth knowledge and skills about a few specific areas. They also have a broad range of basic skills.

Cross-functional: This team involves members with a diverse range of competencies and complementary skills needed to complete sprints. They also include people who have “out of the box” skills that supplement their project management skills.

Adaptable: These teams have people who have diverse skills and are very adept at using them. They can deliver in rapid learning and decision cycles, share information collaboratively, focus on their clients’ needs, and prioritize learning. This makes them suitable for working in changing, dynamic environments since their output always remains the same.

Parallel Teams: The members in these teams can change their job responsibilities every sprint. Everyone comprises core abilities like writing codes and testing them. This type of team structure may be difficult to manage, but there are some projects that may require this type of team model.

Sub Product Teams: These contain smaller sub-teams that are part of a larger Agile team. Every sub-team is responsible for a specific task but the sprint goal itself is made of the efforts of several sub-teams. All sub-teams work together to contribute towards the “bigger picture.”

Agile Methodology

The main aim of Agile is to make shorter project development cycles and to deliver frequent releases of the product. These short development cycles are known as sprints and enable the project team to react and respond to the client’s changing needs effectively.

Agile methodology follows some key processes, which include:

Project Planning

Before you begin your project, your team needs to understand the project goals clearly, what value it will provide to the client or organization, and how to achieve it.

In the project planning stage, you need to develop the scope of the project. Keep in mind, though, that it should not be rigid or unchangeable.

Creation of a Roadmap

A product roadmap is simply a breakdown of the features and options required in the end product. This will help your team to understand what elements to make during each individual sprint.

During this stage, you will also make a product backlog. This will help you list the deliverables that are required in the end product. When your team starts a sprint, this list will help them see which tasks to do.

Release Date Planning

In traditional project management, the final product is released in one go once it has been completely developed. In Agile Project Management, however, your product development will be broken down into smaller cycles or sprints, after which a feature will be released.

Hence, before starting to work on the project, you will have to plan each release. Before starting each sprint, you have to re-analyze the release plan for that product feature.

Sprint Planning

Before starting a sprint, the stakeholders will need to determine which task will be performed by which team member during the course of a sprint and how to achieve it. The team’s task load will also be assessed so that every member has an equal load and equal opportunity to accomplish their tasks.

You will need to document the workflow to ensure transparency and understanding among the teams. You will also need to identify and eliminate bottlenecks.

Daily Stand-ups

Teams need to hold brief stand-up meetings every day during which team members will discuss what they finished the day before and what they will accomplish today.

Daily stand-up meetings should not be more than 10 to 20 minutes long, and they should not be used to resolve complicated issues or to make general discussions.

Sprint Review

Once a sprint has been finished, the team will hold a review meeting which will show the stakeholder the end product. This ensures transparency and openness with stakeholders. You may also have a second meeting during which you can discuss what aspect was a success during the sprint and what needs improvement. It will also include discussions about whether the amount of work required was appropriate for every member. It will also show what you achieved during the splint.

Benefits of Agile Project Management

Agile Project Management can offer many benefits:

It is Iterative

Agile practices are iterative, meaning the project is developed in repetitive sprints, not in a single go. This provides more opportunity for improvement through retrospect. It also means that if a problem arises during the development of the project, the development team will not need to redo the entire product. Instead, it can simply adapt to the new requirement or repeat a single sprint.

It is Flexible

Unlike the waterfall methodology, Agile is not a step-by-step process but more a mindset. It does not offer you a list of instructions or expect teams to get certification. In fact, sticking to a certain formula goes against the very grain of Agile. However, there are Agile software tools that are designed specifically to promote agility.

It Produces Tangible Results

Agile is all about producing working and tangible results after every sprint since its primary measure of progress is a working product. This type of working model allows stakeholders to evaluate every stage of the product development and, if they have any issues, get them fixed in that stage. This enhances the chances of a successful and workable product within the deadline.

Its Focuses on Customers’ Needs

A successful product is one that a customer is willing to pay for. Agile processes keep the customer in mind when designing a product. When the needs of a customer change, they can adapt quickly accordingly; otherwise their product may be doomed to failure.

Transitioning to Agile Project Management

These are the most essential elements of Agile Project Management. As you adapt to Agile Project Management, these values, principles, roles, and methodology can help you create a client-centric mindset and allow your team to work in more flexible and changeable ways.

If you are interested in getting a deeper insight into Agile Project Management, EZY Skills can help you get up to scratch. Our courses are designed for both new users and experienced professionals and are divided into a theory section and the practical experience of the techniques involved. Visit us at or email us at  .

  1. The term “Martech” applies to major initiatives, efforts and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives

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