What is Agile Project Management (APM)?

Agile Project Management (APM) revolves around the agile family of frameworks like;

  • Scrum
  • Disciplined Agile
  • Extreme Programming
  • Scaled Agile
  • Test Driven Development (TDD) etc

Out of these, Scrum framework developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber is the oldest and the most popular one. Agile Project Management was initially invented for software development where requirements and technology are fast changing. Later R&D projects started adopting agile. Now, even EPC projects are using agile best practices along with predictive styles. In a nutshell, we can say that a project is following Agile Project Management (APM), if they are following any of the above frameworks or parts of it for managing projects.

Should every project manager learn about APM?

The answer is ‘Yes’.

Here are the some of the emerging trends in modern project management;

  • Success criteria of projects are no more the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Now it includes Return on Investment (ROI) and Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
  • The focus is on delivering faster to both internal customers and external customers
  • Majority of the Teams / team members are working remotely on projects. So, the tools and techniques used for managing co-located teams do not work any more.
  • Command and control based management styles are giving way for collaboration.
  • New technology deployment is more frequent.
  • Scope changes are more frequent.
  • Iterative & Incremental (Agile) and Concurrent engineering is preferred over Sequential development (waterfall).
  • All the leading project management organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI), CII, COO are all advocating hybrid project management which is a combination of both agile and predictive approaches.

All these points to the fact that Agile Project Management (APM) knowledge is mandatory for all project managers, irrespective of the discipline in which they are working.

What are the building blocks of APM?

At the heart of all agile project management frameworks is the iteration. The duration of the iteration is decided by the team. Iteration starts with the iteration planning meeting, where the project manager and the team members conducts detailed planning of the work to be completed in the iteration. Once the iteration planning is completed, the team start work on the iteration. Every day there is a daily stand up meeting where each team member highlights the work completed, and the obstacles faced. At the end of the iteration duration, formal iteration review is performed, which is followed by a lessons learned meeting, to capture the lessons learned during the iteration. This cycle repeats till the end the project.

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