Agile Best Practices, Guidelines, and Resources for Your Project Management Career
According to the Project Management Institute, the project management sector is estimated to experience 33 percent growth . There will be over 22 million new job positions by 2027 in over 11 countries. Even though the highest demand will be in China and India, you cannot undercut the crucial role project managers play in increasing productivity in any part of the world. This is why learning Agile best practices and methods will boost your career in project management.
In this guide, we take a deep dive into Agile guidelines and resources for your project management career. We curated this guide to help recent graduates from project management bootcamp programs, online courses, university programs, and vocational training programs. The information on Agile practices in this article will give you an edge to win over recruiters in the field.
What Is Agile?
Agile is an approach used in project management and software development that improves the team’s efficiency and performance in addressing consumer needs. Agile methods ensure adaptability, iteration, and quick delivery.
Through the Agile process, team members are able to get constant feedback to address challenges, and stakeholders can communicate more consistently. The main tenets of Agile are short time frames, adaptability, iteration, and continuous delivery. The Agile approach works well when a project doesn’t have a particular timeline, resources, or challenges.
There are several Agile methodologies you will come across. These include Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Crystal, and Extreme Programming, which top the list of the most popular methodologies. There is also Feature-Driven Development, Dynamic Systems Development Method, ScrumBan, Agile-Waterfall or Hybrid Agile, and Scrum XP Hybrid.
Agile project management pillars are based on 12 principles and four values. These tenets were agreed upon by 17 software development managers in 2001. They act as guidelines for dedicated teams to help professionals optimize interactions, documentation, collaboration, and adaptability.
Project Management Concepts You Need to Understand for Agile Best Practices
When exploring Agile practices, there are a few terms you will come across that may seem rather complex. We have listed Agile project management concepts you need to understand for Agile best practices. Read more below.
- Agile Manifesto. The Agile manifesto was developed by a group of software practitioners in 2001. Even though the software practitioners did not agree on everything, they identified four valid core Agile values that should guide Agile methodologies. They established individuals and interactions to be superior to tools and processes. In the Agile manifesto, working software trumps comprehensive documentation, and customer collaboration supersedes contract negotiation. They also prioritize flexibility over following a set plan.
- Rapid Application Development (RAD). This is a form of Agile methodology developed by James Martin in 1991. It’s an excellent Agile methodology that helps application development address business and client needs. Its main priority is quick prototype releases and continuous iterations. It emphasizes user feedback and software use over strict planning. The major benefits of RAD are increased adaptability, quick iterations, code reusability, risk management, and customer satisfaction.
- Scrum Master. This is a professional responsible for the Scrum team’s efficiency and effectiveness. They ensure the team understands Scrum theories and best practices. To achieve this, they often coach the team on cross-functionality, remove impediments, and monitor Scrum events. Professional Scrum masters usually have three certifications: PSM I to PSM III.
- Waterfall. This is a linear and sequential traditional model in project management. It stipulates that once a task is completed, it should be assessed and refined before going to the next stage. The Agile software development cycle goes through collection, analysis, programming, unit testing, and deployment. It helps in direct planning and defining the scope of work, measurements, and team responsibilities.
- Kanban. This is a workflow methodology used to define, manage, and improve services to deliver knowledge work. Through it, you can easily visualize work and maximize efficiency. The entire approach is based on the pull system. This means goods production is based on demand which creates more value to the consumer with minimal costs.
Project Management Common Challenges That Agile Guidelines Can Address
There are project management common challenges that an Agile approach can help ease. Using Agile methodologies has a positive impact on various projects, especially in software development. Learn more below about the benefits of Agile implementation below.
Agile guidelines offer room for adaptability during projects. Instead of continuously working on a project from scratch to finish only to realize there was a mistake, you can use Agile methodologies.
This approach will help you quickly identify and address an emerging issue before completing the project. You can opt to change a design or strategy mid-project and save on costs and time. This allows the team to work on the important aspects of the project and fix issues promptly if need be.
By relying on Agile principles, development teams will have an open line of communication with each other and stakeholders. With this communication strategy, remote teams are able to be more productive and efficient in their roles. This results in the team producing high-quality projects that improve customer satisfaction. The entire collaboration relies on open lines of communication, reliable feedback, and motivation.
Through the Agile development process, developers are able to work more quickly and efficiently. The process features a fixed timeline and schedule of events. This means developers can add or remove features quickly when the need arises. Consequently, Agile projects get released earlier than expected or successfully on time.
Since Agile supports constant communication, team members get a clear view of the entire project development process. Team members and clients strengthen their relations because everything is out in the open. This results in a happier team that fully understands all stages of a project.
Agile helps the project management team gain a deeper understanding of the work they are doing. The team members have open discussions on various aspects of the project and, consequently, learn more about the goals and uses of the project at hand.
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Top 10 Agile Best Practices and Guidelines
Agile best practices and guidelines are set to help product development teams be more effective and efficient. The guidelines curated below align with expert-level project development teams relying on Agile.
By understanding test-driven development, continuous integration, pair programming, and simple code design, you will learn how to streamline the workflow of your Agile team. Combined, these factors affect the quality and sustainability of the software during the software development process . Find out more about Agile best practices and guidelines below.
When following the core values of Agile, it’s extremely crucial to ensure there is constant feedback from the team. Getting constant feedback will help identify challenges at the onset and address them promptly to avoid wasting time or resources. It fosters ongoing improvement of the product development process. It’s also an excellent way to unify the team.
When working with the Agile methodology of Lean project management, developers are required to continually improve the product. With this, it’s important to ensure that there are open lines of communication within the team and that issues are addressed immediately.
Create Product Backlog and Vision
A product backlog is a list of items that need to be added during product development. Often product backlogs and the product vision is created simultaneously in the presence of stakeholders and product development teams. This is an excellent way to ensure everyone has the same vision for the final result.
The role of the product owner is often responsible for backlog management. They are tasked with recording tasks in the backlog and prioritizing the assignments. A product owner will set the task as a priority based on the feedback from customers and the status of the project.
Utilize Professional Tools
Another best Agile practice is using professional tools during product development. These tools are excellent for streamlining the Agile methodology and consequently improving team collaboration. Teams can rely on management software tools to properly document projects and manage meetings. It will reduce the pressure to constantly plan and monitor everything individually.
Visualizing workflows will help the entire team keep track of their roles and responsibilities. It’s also quite effective for having an overview of the timeline of each activity. A board and burndown chart will suffice for keeping track of tasks and identifying hurdles in the product development cycles.
Implement Simple Designs
A simple design reduces the time it takes to complete something and also saves time when rectifying errors. It’s great Agile practice to minimize any complexities involved in team members executing their roles.
Through iterative development, software development teams break down huge loads of work into smaller, more workable chunks. This allows continuous tests to be conducted in repetitive cycles. The team is also able to add or remove features easily before they complete the final product.
Most Agile approaches aim to increase customer satisfaction. To get an in-depth view of customer needs, it is necessary to have extensive collaboration. Agile methodologies tend to pull away from the traditional way of handling clients.
Through the Agile approach, customers get open lines of communication with the development team. They can easily communicate their expectations and suitable options which have not been considered. This greatly adds to the level of customer satisfaction because they are ingrained in the development process.
A high-functioning effective Agile development team conducts regular meetings. It’s important for everyone to attend these meetings and discuss the progress of the projects at hand. The sprint planning meetings should be short and effective. In these, members can touch on their roles and progress in their work. It’s an excellent way to monitor the performance of the team and address the challenges the team is experiencing during product development.
Focus on Quality Teamwork
In the Agile approach, there is a need for professionals to work cohesively to achieve successful projects. This means there must be communication, coordination, mutual respect, effort, cohesion, and balance of responsibilities within the team. Team quality directly affects team performance and, consequently, project success.
The team should rely more on each other than on software development tools to solve problems. Through discussing creative ideas, they can come up with innovative solutions. In this process, they should constantly communicate with business stakeholders. This way, they can revise the features, functions, or interface together with the interested parties.
How to Learn Agile Best Practices
You can learn Agile project management best practices by attending online classes. There are massive open online courses that offer students flexible and affordable learning opportunities to master Agile methodologies. These Agile online courses often feature flexible learning options that cater to working professionals.
Agile books are also excellent for learning the best practices and strategies. If you prefer a self-paced learning option, you can buy books about Agile that will give you a new perspective of the Agile framework.
Another option is to join an apprenticeship program. These apprenticeship programs often help professionals develop hands-on experience in project management. You can learn from your professional peers to grasp Agile development practices.
Can a Bootcamp Help You Learn Agile Best Practices?
Yes, there are Agile bootcamps that can help you learn Agile best practices. Some of the best Agile bootcamps are Cprime, Agile by Design, and Skillsoft just to mention a few. These top bootcamps educate students on Agile methodologies and best practices.
These bootcamps curate a career-oriented curriculum that reflects the most relevant knowledge and skills in Agile. The programs are often taught by expert instructors. This means you will learn first-hand knowledge from valid experts.
The bootcamps always feature a project at the end of the program. By completing this project, you will gain valuable experience in tackling different projects. It’s an excellent way of validating your skills and knowledge in Agile methodologies.
Best Courses and Training Programs to Learn Agile Best Practices
|Udemy||Agile & Scrum in Depth: Guide, Simulation and Best Practices||$45|
|Pluralsight||Agile Team Practices with Scrum||
$159 per year (standard)
$239 per year (premium)
|edX||Agile Leadership Principles and Practices||Free|
|Coursera||Agile Meets Design Thinking||Free|
|LinkedIn Learning||Agile Software Development: Scrum For Developers||$39|
Should You Learn Agile Best Practices?
Yes, you should learn Agile best practices. If you work in a dynamic environment, you may need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to beat deadlines or overcome budget limits. Agile best practices will put you in the best position to reach the completion of major or challenging projects.
In addition, with more and more businesses looking for project management professionals, you will need to boost your skills to remain competitive. Learning Agile best practices may be the cutting edge you need to land a position in project management. Diverse knowledge in different project management tools and processes is always well received by recruiting teams.
Agile Best Practices and Guidelines FAQ
Are there any Agile certifications?
Yes, there are Agile certifications. These professional certifications are excellent for showcasing your ability in using Agile methods to employers. Some of the Agile certifications are PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner, ICAgile Certified Professional, AgilePM Foundation, Certified ScrumMaster, and Professional Scrum Master I.
What are the Agile guidelines?
There are several Agile guidelines based on the Agile manifesto. According to the manifesto, professionals should prioritize human interaction over tools and processes. They should also value customer collaboration instead of contract negotiation. It’s also important to champion responding to change over following plans and working software in place of comprehensive documentation.
What are the different types of Agile methodologies?
The most common Agile methodologies are Kanban, Lean, Scrum, Extreme Programming, Feature-Driven Development, Dynamic Systems Development Method, and Crystal.
What are Agile tools and techniques?
Agile tools and techniques include Pivotal Tracker, JIRA, Zepel, Trello, Github, Kanbanize, and ActiveCollab, just to mention a few.