What is Agile Methodology? The Benefits of Agile Methodologies in Project Management Explained
Technology changes faster than fast these days. Even before the pandemic when we had to
invent so many new ways of doing things with technology, we were already in a massive
explosion of new programs, systems and ways of doing things.
How is a project manager supposed to figure out what technology makes the most sense for
their company and projects? What will make their team most efficient and effective without
a technology overload?
This is the benefit of the Agile methodology. Agile methodology can help teams work
faster and better delivering stronger and better products. Read more to understand
what it is and how it can help project processes improve.
What is Agile Methodology?
The Agile Methodology was developed by a group of software developers who felt burdened
by the traditional processes which they saw as being complicated and document-heavy.
Their founding document, called the Agile Manifesto outlines four values and 12 principles
that are the foundations of the philosophy:
Four Values of Agile
Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
It’s obvious that these values prioritize responding to change quickly and valuing
the customer. This means ultimately the delivery of quality products.
12 Principles of Agile
Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Welcome and harness changes for the customer’s competitive advantage, even late in development.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference for shorter timescales.
Have daily collaboration between business people and developers throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals. Create the environment and support developers
need, and trust them to get the job done.
Prioritize face-to-face conversation as the most efficient and effective method of conveying
information to and within a development team.
Measure progress by the amount of working software completed.
Maintain a constant and sustainable pace of development indefinitely.
Enhance agility through continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
Keep it simple. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
Recognize that the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
Regularly reflect and adapt behavior for continual improvement.
These Agile values and principles represent an overarching philosophy but they have been
applied in a multitude of
environments. Adopting this mindset prioritizes
flexibility and enables the team to adapt quickly to changes in an uncertain environment.
It enables the project team to meet customer, user and business needs.
Pick the parts of the project plan that need the most work and focus there. Involve your
team, keep your sponsor informed and stay transparent. In time, things will be chugging
right along. And never, never, NEVER blame the last project manager for any reason. That’s
all there is to say about that.
Benefits of Agile
Agile has many benefits for organization leaders and project managers. Here are a few:
Greater stakeholder engagement and collaboration
Agile fosters a great degree of input and collaboration between the client and the project
team. This of course leads to happier clients because there is transparency throughout the
entire process and client needs and wants are better understood and met.
Predictable Costs and Scheduling
By breaking down the project processes into smaller chunks, project managers can more
accurately estimate costs and timelines. Stakeholders are happier because they know what
to expect on both these important project parameters. They can plan their budgets and
marketing plans more effectively. Members of the project team appreciate it because they
can focus on their deliverables and the quality and efficacy of their output.
Flexibility Amidst Change
It’s in the name. Agile project management is all about staying adaptable and nimble in
the face of an ever-changing project landscape. Changes in client needs, market outlooks,
or internal product requirements are why the Agile Methodology was created. The ability
to reprioritize yet overall stay on budget and deadline is what makes Agile so effective.
Higher Quality Products
If you subscribe to even a little of the Agile Methodology, you can’t help but turn out a
quality product. One of the main reasons is that Agile product development integrates
testing into the development process. All bugs and fixes are handled along the way and
so the end result is a higher quality product that should be error free.
Reduced Risk and Faster ROI
Almost everything about the Agile Methodology is geared toward speed. But within that and
mentioned in the benefits above are how that speed and flexibility are turned into reduced
risk. When you step out a project in manageable pieces you can predict issues and adjust
for them. You can better manage budgets and deadlines, reducing risks on these fronts as
well. And because Agile is more user-focused, decisions are made based on actual user
feedback, not theoretical concepts. Features aren’t just functional; they are valuable
products that end users want. This will result in a faster ROI for the customer.
Agile Methodology Steps
Agile Methodology has five steps.
The first step is to scope out and prioritize projects. Collaborating with your team
to brainstorm and identify business opportunities, estimate time and costs and determine
which projects are most feasible and valuable. You can prioritize your project log from
Once you have identified your project, now you need to figure out how to complete it.
What does the team need to look like? What are the customer requirements? Diagram the
team responsibilities and the work that needs to be done in each sprint.
Once the project is defined and approved, the team can get started on the first iteration.
The workflow during this phase looks something like this:
Requirements–Confirm requirements based on the product backlog
and stakeholder feedback.
Development–Develop the product based on set requirements.
Testing–Conduct QA testing to validate the features and
uncover any issues.
Delivery–Produce a working product.
Feedback–Gather feedback from customers and stakeholders in
order to define the requirements for the next iteration.
Multiple iterations will be necessary to get to the final product. At the release phase,
you will conduct final testing and identify any bugs, address defects and finalize user
The product is finished and released to the customer! The production phase means the
product is live. The team will provide ongoing monitoring and support to keep things
running smoothly and make sure end users understand all features and use.
Agile Methodology Examples
Agile is an umbrella term for guiding principles that can be applied to various project
models. Here are some of the most popular types:
Scrum is a framework that focuses on cross-functional teams, accountability and iteration.
This method delivers and supports complex projects and products.
The Scrum Framework is organized into key roles, events and artifacts:
Scrum Development Team
Sprint Planning Meeting
Increment (Sprint Goal)
Kanban’s goal is to help teams work together more effectively. It works off of three basic
Visualize your workflow.
Limit the amount of work in progress.
Organize the workflow based on priority.
The difference between Kanban and Scrum is that Kanban doesn’t require definition roles
or timed sprints. Kanban focuses on shorter cycles and faster deliveries. It also maintains
transparency throughout the process so everyone understands who is accountable for what
Technology tools like online Kanban board give team members the ability to work together
and share ideas, update tasks and track progress. It allows for the visualization of the
process which is the first principle of Kanban. Everyone stays focused on the tasks that
have high priority and high impact.
Extreme Programming (XP)
XP is the most specific Agile form for software development. XP values communication,
feedback, simplicity, courage and respect. It’s best used when:
There are constantly changing requirements
Teams have tight deadlines
Stakeholders want to reduce risk under deadlines
Teams can automate unit and functional tests
Feature Driven Development (FDD)
Feature Driven Development is a more client-focused Agile methodology tool focused on
development and status reporting in increments. It is designed to overcome two major
roadblocks: confusion and rework.
FDD follows five basic steps:
Develop an overall model
Build a feature list
Plan by feature
Design by feature
Build by feature
FDD is a scalable model that delivers features faster than any other Agile framework.
This makes it much easier to get new members up-to-speed, track errors and adapt to change.
As you can see, there is no one process in Agile Methodology. It is a guideline to help
you design a process that will work for your organization and project. Whatever Agile
framework you choose, know that the end result will be teams that deliver better work,
faster to customers who will be more satisfied.