Traditional methods of project management have not always delivered the right outcome, at the right cost, according to the right timescale. As such, many businesses are turning to agile project development as a means of delivering change. With agile development, project teams concentrate on short, intensive phases of work (called iterations), which focus on key tasks (known as user stories). Unlike more traditional methods of development, project teams put less effort into the design up-front, and spend more time developing the needs that the user has identified. Learn more about the benefits of this customer-centric approach, and understand how agile development could dramatically change your business.
Reduces project development time and costs
One of the main problems with traditional projects is that there is a huge amount of work and investment up front. This investment helps put together a detailed design, from which the project team then works. The problem is that you cannot generally perfect the design this early in the project, and the time spent working out what you might want is often better spent developing different ideas. Agile project management methods help reduce up-front costs, and allow you to focus your budget on the time spent in development. This can decrease the overall time taken and cost of delivery because you do not waste as much time designing things the customer doesn’t need.
Increases customer satisfaction
Customers and users have a very clear idea about what they want to do. It is the project team’s responsibility to work out how to deliver these needs, and agile development puts the user at the heart of every decision. The lead customer (called the product owner) reviews and gives feedback on each phase of work, as soon as the team completes it. This allows the project team to quickly respond, and makes sure that the finished product seldom strays far from what the user wants. This makes the process much more effective, and greatly increases customer satisfaction with the output of the project.
Manages business risks more closely
All projects face different risks, and these challenges can affect the time taken to deliver, the cost of delivery or the product quality. Agile development methods greatly improve the project team’s ability to manage these risks. The iterative approach places much greater control on time and budget because the team manages work in short, clearly defined iterations. The product owner stays close to the design, throughout the development period, which makes sure that the team closely manages any constraints. Agile development doesn’t make delivery tasks easier, but the process does make it easier to stay in control of the delivery.
Makes more effective use of resources
Traditional project teams are often wasteful. It’s quite common to involve large teams of people in every piece of work, when you actually only need one or two experts at any time. Agile development avoids this problem because the project team always focuses on a fixed set of user stories. This makes it easier to plan when you need people, and to control how much time you use. Daily ‘stand-up’ reviews allow every member of the team to focus on the task in hand, and make it very clear who you need on each activity.
Many businesses have made significant savings by implementing agile development methods. These businesses have delivered large, complex projects quickly and effectively, making it easy to see how the agile development business case stacks up.