Agile project management: A beginner's guide

If you're new to project management or just want to know about agile methodology, the answers to these 10 frequently asked questions will cover the basics you need to know.

By Moira Alexander
Jan. 13, 2017

How is agile used?

The more traditional cumbersome methodologies like waterfall typically require entire project groups to meet and discuss full project goals throughout each phase. Agile, however, uses smaller more focused groups that meet more frequently to discuss very specific goals, making it easier to make rapid changes as required. This allows teams to be more agile, more effective and increases the chances of meeting customer goals successfully, especially as a customer's needs might also change. Agile arms teams with a mechanism to rapidly repeat a contained process, isolate problems and achieve specific goals quickly, rather than waiting until the end of a lengthy project phase to find out customer requirements and goals have been missed.

What are the advantages of agile?

Agile has become extremely popular, widely adopted and a highly effective project methodology that offers project teams, sponsors, project leaders and customers many benefits including the following

  • Agile allows for more rapid deployment of solutions.
  • Reduced waste through minimization of resources.
  • Increased flexibility and adaptability to change.
  • Increased success through more focused efforts.
  • Faster turnaround times.
  • Faster detection of issues and defects.
  • An optimized development process.
  • A lighter weight framework.
  • Optimal project control.
  • Increased focus on specific customer needs.
  • Increased frequency of collaboration and feedback.

What are the disadvantages of agile?

As with any other methodology, agile is not well-suited for every project, sufficient due diligence is always recommended to identify the best methodology for each unique situation.

  • Throughout the development process, agile favors the developers, project teams and customer goals, but not necessarily the end user's experience.
  • Due to its less formal and more flexible processes, agile may not always be easily absorbed within larger more traditional organizations.

Can agile be combined with other methodologies?

Opportunity exists to combine agile with other methodologies such as Waterfall to create a hybrid solution. This aids in making it even more adaptable within various industries or to suit the more unique nature of a project, product, or service. Again, due diligence is required to determine the suitability and capacity of the different methods and processes available.

What are popular agile methods used?

Within agile here are some frequently used methods, with scrum, kanban, and lean being the most popular.

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