How Project Managers can Stay Relevant in Agile Organizations

Defining Agile Project Management

Agile project management is an iterative approach to accomplishing a project from start to finish. This means that a project is broken down into measurable iterations, or incremental steps, to be completed by specific deadlines throughout the project’s life cycle.

  • Realistic project goals
  • Streamlined development practices
  • Accurate evaluation
  • Agreed-upon system requirements
  • Risk management

1) Understand why your organization has adopted Agile

As a project manager, you are responsible for organizing, planning, and leading your team to the completion of a project. If your organization has adopted agile, it is your job to understand why this system is necessary for your style of project development and how your team will best benefit from it. Start by familiarizing yourself and your team with the Agile manifesto and its core values of communication, flexibility, collaboration, and accountability.

2) Rethink milestones and redefine measurable success

There is no right or wrong way to begin implementing agile methodology into your project management system. Still, the typical linear approach to project management that most PMs have been trained in will not work for Agile organizations. In the past, you may have led your software developers through a project to a defined end goal. Agile companies move much more quickly through incremental goals, and even these incremental goals may change as your team identifies and fixes issues. Measuring daily success is significantly more subjective and less definable than traditional linear goals, which is why transparency and close contact with your team are non-negotiable.

3) Implement Agile through Scrum

Scrum is a subset of agile and is one of the most intuitive and popular ways for implementing agile methodology. With Scrum, you will lead your team through “sprints” lasting one to two weeks long, at the end of which the team will collaborate with stakeholders to plan the next phase of the project. In addition to holding daily scrum meetings to go over daily goals, bugs, and concerns, a project manager’s role is integral to planning and reflecting on the team’s sprints.

4) Adopt an Agile framework of thinking

A traditional PM turned agile PM may need to adjust their entire approach to leadership. To align to the company’s new framework, a PM should do their best to exemplify and encourage agile core values in themselves and their team, including:

  • Thorough communication skills
  • Critical thinking, including the ability to improvise and tackle problems from new angles
  • Flexibility and the willingness to change goals as needed
  • Strong leadership skills even under pressure

5) Professional development training

Project managers new to the agile framework may benefit from formal training. Prominent certification programs for project managers include:

Agile Project Management

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