How Agile is Different from Other Project Management Practices?

Project Management Practices

Agile methodology has become more popular than ever with many development teams because it creates better efficiency. Many companies have been unable to create their products with optimum time and cost because they used traditional Project management methods. By being agile and using Agile methodology, teams can change the processes and transform the way they view Project management.

Project Management is a discipline of planning, initiating and executing the work of a team which aims to complete and reach specific goals and reach specific successes based on set criteria.

Traditional Project management follows a fixed route –

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Controlling
  • Closing

Only when one of these steps is complete, the next one can begin. This method is typically best for the project which won’t have many changes from start to finish. For example, for manufacturing something expensive and with set standards, there are minimal changes required; the budget and time frame will be less likely to go off the track.

But not every project is done in the same way or can be planned in the same manner. For software development, there is much iteration which requires flexibility provided by the Agile methodology. Instead of planning everything before, the teams focus on quicker iterations and thus increase efficiency. Most of the steps remain the same but they are not done in the same order necessarily. These steps are broken down into milestones or otherwise known as sprints.

“Both of the methods have some pros and some cons. It all depends on the product and the project as well as the circumstances. All of this will determine the method which you will use. It’s important to understand what the difference between them is so that you can make your decisions,” says Haley Gunner, a tech writer at Origin Writings and Australia2write.

Differences between Traditional Project management and Agile methodology

  • Flexibility

Traditional Project management makes little to no room for making any changes to the product. It’s a fixed, rigid process that follows a top to bottom approach. When the plan is finalized, managers communicate the plan to their teams and then they ensure that everyone stays on track in the best way possible. There is a lot of resistance to any changes and any changes can disrupt the schedule.

Agile methodology is adaptable and it offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to making changes to the product.

“It allows the team to experiment and find proper alternatives. Team members can communicate any ideas they have if they believe that it will improve the product. This is a future based approach and it focuses more on getting the right product,” says Elena Rooter, a data manager at PHDKingdom.

  • Ownership and Transparency

In traditional project management, ownership of the project belongs to the project manager. It’s the manager’s responsibility to plan and document the entire project and the product journey. Only the customers are involved in the planning phase other than the manager, but the implementation involves no customers at all. Since managers are in charge of the project, team members don’t have a say in what happens and the product progress.

In Agile methodology, team members share the ownership of the project and everyone works together to come up with a nice plan for the product. They can estimate the time and the cost of the project and they can see the progress from start to finish. This transparency means that the team is more productive and more involved with the work.

  • Problem solving

In case, there are any obstacles in traditional Project management, team members need to communicate the issue to the manager. But going to the manager every time is not a good option and it can cause some delays and can exceed the time limit.

Agile team members make the decisions on their own and they solve problems internally as well. This eliminates wastage of time. Being involved in the project makes it easy for them to use their knowledge to handle all of the problems without hindering the process itself. Unless the problems are extreme, there is no need to call in the manager.

In conclusion, this dynamic and quick-paced environment we now live in, there are virtually no areas where changes don’t happen. This means that sticking to the Agile methodology makes more sense and it will serve the company much better.

Michael Dehoyos is a web developer at Ph.D. Kingdom. He assists companies in creating the best user experience for them and contributes to numerous sites and publications.

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