Agile, at its core, is an iterative approach that emphasizes continuous feedback across the team in order to maximize your efforts to achieve better results faster. The benefits are faster delivery times, flexibility, constant collaboration, and continuous improvement.
While most people are familiar with the basic concepts of agile, many practices often go unnoticed and don’t get the attention they deserve. These include specific disciplines designed to save time by shortening the distance between decisions and next actions.
Here are 10 ways to maximize the benefits of an agile project management approach:
That's the design. Break down big ideas and tasks into smaller, achievable components for sustainable progress toward complex goals.
2. Build quality assurance into each iteration.
Inspect and rework any products that need improvement to ensure the team always delivers high-quality work.
3. Deliver value early and often.
Focus on the needs of your target customer (internal or external) and ensure that each release meets expectations without fail.
4. Focus on collaboration and communication among members.
Maintain effective, consistent communication between all stakeholders to achieve successful project outcomes.
5. Utilize cross-functional teams.
Use individual skill sets to create an interdisciplinary team of professionals who can collaborate effectively together; this will help keep agile projects dynamic as tasks are completed quickly and efficiently.
6. Make decisions quickly and independently.
Empower teams to make decisions autonomously whenever possible, so progress is not hindered by delays in decision-making processes from outside stakeholders or managers.
7. Keep momentum through sprint durations that don't exceed two weeks.
Optimally, sprints should last no longer than two weeks, which enable teams to stay productive while avoiding fatigue from overworking; this also encourages addressing issues as they arise instead of waiting for the end of a project timeline before implementing changes or improvements.
8. Document as you go and update as necessary.
Taking time at the end of each sprint cycle to document what has been achieved and considering what needs improvement is essential. Regularly updating guidelines also helps keep everyone on-track during project timelines, allowing teams to refocus if needed without losing productivity due to a lack of clarity or misalignment with objectives across stakeholders and teams.
9. Utilize visual tools to help manage tasks and keep the team on track during a sprint cycle.
Using tools such as Kanban boards will enable agile teams to clearly focus on task completion rather than wasting valuable time juggling resources between tasks throughout an entire sprint duration; this way, individuals can efficiently move from one task to another with any confusion about who is responsible for what task or project.
10. Allow teams to take risks without fear of failure by keeping the focus on learning.
Experimenting with new approaches can be beneficial by helping gain insights unobtainable through traditional methods; however, failure is sometimes inevitable when working with innovative solutions. Encouraging collaborative learning can foster creative freedom amongst team members while simultaneously ensuring results are met along the way.
Unlock Team Productivity and Success
Agile practices create an environment where team members can become more productive as they learn how to handle obstacles sooner. This team approach will enable creativity and innovation while helping teams stick to deadlines.
By understanding and implementing the principles of agile methodology, teams can ensure an increased rate of successful project completion and higher quality work while learning from their mistakes and experiencing breakthroughs faster and more often.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.