In contrast to other project management methodologies, the essential strengths of the agile software development process are teamwork, a focus always on user experience, and a flexible response to new circumstances as they arise.
Transparency, agility, and forward collaborative motion optimize teamwork throughout the development cycle. Agile’s iterative approach contrasts the plan-to-product linear arc of traditional project management methods, such as Waterfall.
The Agile Manifesto draws from the agile principles guiding the process that has become an industry standard for efficient software development. The manifesto highlights four primary tenets: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and response to change over following a plan.
Agile methodology & project planning
Agile methodology starts with sprint planning in a discussion of how best to achieve product development goals. The meeting includes the product owner, stakeholders, the scrum master, and other members of the development team.
The release plan for the sprint will determine how many sprints are needed in the project lifecycle in order to produce the deliverable as soon as it fulfils the definition of done.
- At the planning meeting for each initiative, two questions are central: How can we best produce a user-friendly new product or enhance an existing product? What does the user want?
- What is most likely to impact delivery of the iteration? What does the development team need? What are the dependencies that could impact product development — and how best can we manage them?
- Early in the software development process the team will focus on those iteration features that involve the highest risk and produce the highest value.
- From previous experience, the team will decide on the amount of work they can complete in a sprint and, perhaps, implement a Kanban board or burndown chart to be able to eyeball their real-time daily progress.
- To keep end user needs always in sight, the product owner and the team assemble and evaluate a list of user stories about the release.
- The product owner or stakeholder will add a product iteration at the outset to help clarify the goal of the team during the usual 2-week sprint.
- The product owner will add user stories to the product backlog and make sure iterations are performed until all user stories have been included in the development process.
- At completion, each iteration of working software is tested by end users. They evaluate the test results with team members, the product owner, and all stakeholders to secure feedback and continued engagement with the work of the project.
Agile project management
An agile roadmap helps frame the project management lifecycle from initial planning to completed deliverable. To accomplish the task, the transparent and flexible agile process relies on a framework set in clear principles and methodologies.
The agile project follows the agile path
- Description of the initiative by the product owner and any stakeholders and assembly of the self-organising agile project team;
- planning of development steps that draw from the backlog of user stories and setting out the development team workflow, the scrum;
- execution of the plan, with commitment to track progress by means of scrum events, achieved milestones, respected dependencies, Kanban boards, and new information;
- production of a working iteration of project deliverables;
- testing and evaluation of the iteration’s performance; and
- completion of the development process with a working product.
The roadmap is a core project management tool in the agile planning process. The outcome is that, because the architecture of the software is sound, it can be maintained and continually adapted to changing software needs.
A note on the scrum
The scrum is where the goal of agile project planning meets the skill and focus of the development team. In the ever-adaptive scrum environment, the team begins the development process with features drawn from the product backlog list of deliverables to be included in the final product. From the standup daily scrum, to software iteration, through to the sprint retrospective, agile teams work collaboratively under the eye of a scrum master whose task is to make sure there are no obstacles to the team’s success.
Agile is the industry standard
From business to logistics to Human Resources to portfolio management, the agile framework and agile approach to software development projects have become the industry standard.
From the point of sprint planning, the responsive whole-team performance engaged to produce each agile iteration is remarkable. The focus of the Agile team is to successfully develop the most functional software features possible, based on the product owner’s wants and with full engagement of the development team members’ abilities. Learn more about scrum teams and digital transformation with our Agile Training & Scrum Training with online courses from Leadership Tribe today.