What is Agile Methodology? The Benefits of Agile Methodologies in Project Management Explained

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

  1. Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome and harness changes for the customer’s competitive advantage, even late in development.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for shorter timescales.
  4. Have daily collaboration between business people and developers throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Create the environment and support developers need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. Prioritize face-to-face conversation as the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team.
  7. Measure progress by the amount of working software completed.
  8. Maintain a constant and sustainable pace of development indefinitely.
  9. Enhance agility through continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
  10. Keep it simple. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. Recognize that the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. 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 project management 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.

  1. Concept
    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 there.
  2. Inception
    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.
  3. Iteration
    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.
  4. Release 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 documentation.
  5. Production 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 Roles
    • Product Owner
    • Scrum Master
    • Scrum Development Team
  • Scrum Events
    • Daily Scrum
    • Sprint Planning Meeting
    • Sprint Review
    • Sprint Retrospective
  • Scrum Artifacts
    • Product Backlog
    • Sprint Backlog
    • Increment (Sprint Goal)


Kanban’s goal is to help teams work together more effectively. It works off of three basic principles:

  • 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 and when.

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.