When thinking about ‘Agile’, there are some words that no doubt spring to mind… Flexible… Responsive… Swift… Active… All of which is completely correct. These same words also apply to Agile project management, an approach we often use here at EMPAUA. This approach, like its name, allows us to be ‘agile’ and adapt to a fast-changing environment. APMG International describes Agile as “developing solutions incrementally, enabling project teams to react effectively to changing requirements, whilst empowering project personnel and encouraging increased collaboration and ownership”. So what does this mean for you and the projects in your organisation? In a nutshell: it means you deliver value, benefits and results back to the business quicker than ever before! And in today’s competitive business landscape, this is necessary to help you stay ahead.
David Padilla, one of the Founders of EMPAUA has delivered numerous IT projects over his career using an Agile approach, for startup organisations, all the way up to enterprise level, demonstrating the scalability of an Agile approach. His advice on ensuring you get the most out of any Agile driven project is to identify / define critical / crucial requirements that will enable you to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in as little as a couple of weeks, whilst continually gathering feedback, incorporating it into your backlog, allowing you to keep adding features as per business priority.
This highlights two key concepts in Agile: deadlines/sprints within deadlines and also prioritisation of requirements. Let’s apply this to a practical situation. Think of a project you recently delivered or even are currently working on and look through the list of requirements: for big projects this list is likely to be pages and pages long. Are all those requirements necessary? Important? Useful?? Use a prioritisation technique such as MoSCoW and break those requirements down into Must haves; Should haves; Could haves and Wont haves for now. Now you have successfully prioritised your requirements!
What does this mean?
This enables you to quickly break your project down into phases based on the importance of the requirements being delivered. Starting with the Musts – set a deadline and get these delivered. This allows you to give your business a result within a few weeks for example, instead of several months if you had chosen to deliver all the requirements at once. The best thing to come out of this approach? It allows for the continual re-prioritisation of requirements and even for additional requirements to be added as they get discovered, based on feedback from the first phase.
This cycle/feedback loop will continue to repeat itself throughout each timebox or sprint, ensuring you are only delivering features which are important to the business. Some organisations choose to adopt a completely Agile approach. Others only take certain aspects or even particular techniques and apply them within their organisation. That is the great thing about Agile: it can be blended into existing methods, or it can be adopted incrementally. This is by no means a guide on how to practice Agile project management within your organisation. However, I hope it has given you enough of an understanding of the key concepts, as well as the benefits of applying it.
Finally, we would like to point out that whilst the Agile methodology is typically used here at EMPAUA, we recognise that every organisation is unique and will always work with our customers to ensure an approach is delivered that works best for them. Contact us today for more information, and to identify crucial requirements that will enable you to build an MVP in a couple of weeks.
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