Agile project management is an iterative approach used by project managers and software developers alike that focuses on continuously collaborating and improving upon specific aspects and stages of a project. Agile project management methodologies include Kanban, Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Feature-Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) and Crystal methodology. Read the full software guide...
Agile project management software is designed to help organizations with agile teams to manage and execute complex time-intensive projects in a more streamlined, intuitive and time-effective manner.
Project management software has essentially become an umbrella term for a wide range of software solutions, from light task management tools to the more robust project portfolio management systems. With that said, agile project management software is basically a form of project management solution that utilizes agile methodologies to facilitate the creation and development of products and services by project managers and the development team.
An agile project management tool works by integrating iterative workflows and implementing a feedback mechanism that helps with the continuous assessments and improvements being done on a particular project during its development process. The agile method can help improve the project management process by also providing a centralized platform and database. The software serves as a collaborative workspace for agile developments. This category of project management software also allows users to track progress and measure project performance.
Agile project management utilizes several development frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, Lean and Extreme programming. The Scrum framework involves a self-organizing development team collaborating through daily face-to-face meetings. The development process goes through time-boxed increments referred to as “sprints.” The Kanban method involves a change management and visualization approach where team members can easily track progress through task cards and public Kanban boards.
The Lean framework deals with the elimination of waste in both development and manufacturing processes. This is accomplished through just-in-time delivery and even workloads for developers and team members. The Lean framework method allows for true value to be made more apparent throughout the entire project development process. Extreme programming is designed to ensure the quality of end products by developing them in short cycles accompanied by recurrent releases that continually integrate the evolving requirements and customer feedback.
Agile project management software can be categorized in two ways: methodology and deployment. If we’re going with the methodology, there are three main types to consider when it comes to agile methodologies: The Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM), Scrum agile development method and the Extreme Programming (XP) development method.
DSDM is basically the original agile project development method, based on every popular and widely used agile principle. The DSDM agile method focuses on the complete project lifecycle. It is an agile method that doesn’t rely on vendors and it allows for on-time, in-budget delivery of any project by providing proper best practice guidance. Any agile project management tool that adheres to the DSDM method has inherent scalability as the method has proven to be capable of addressing simple to complex projects, at any size and for any industry.
DSDM agile project management software focuses on the utilization of a number of proven practices, which include modeling and iterative agile developments, time boxing, facilitated workshops and MoSCoW (must, should, could and would) prioritization. The eight principles of DSDM are: focus on the business need, deliver on time, collaborate, do not compromise quality, create/build incrementally from a solid foundation, develop iteratively, communicate in continuous and clear manner and demonstrate control.
Scrum is an agile project management software methodology that deals with task management inside a team-based collaborative environment. It is among the most popular and commonly used agile method, especially for team collaboration. This is mainly because the scrum method is relatively easier to implement and can solve many of the management issues that every project manager and development team have probably faced a bunch of times before.
The scrum method adheres to an agile project development framework that utilizes fixed-length iterations of work known as sprints. Each sprint is structured by four “ceremonies” and it all starts with backlog management, the process that has to be tackled in order to accomplish a particular set of tasks or body of work. There are two types of backlogs being managed in scrum, one is the product backlog and the other is the sprint backlog. The former is a prioritized list of features, while the latter is a list comprised of issues taken from the top of the product backlog.
The XP agile project management software approach is considered by many as one of the more radical agile methodologies in the list. This particular method focuses heavily on the software engineering process. It tackles an area of project management that specifically deals with analysis, test phases and development. The extreme programming agile development methodology offers innovative strategies and approaches designed to significantly improve the quality of the end product.
The XP agile method works by approaching the development process in short cycles, while providing frequent releases to improve the end product. Each subsequent release in the development stage incorporates valuable customer feedback and newly adopted requirements. All of this is intended to continuously improve the quality and efficacy of end products.
Now, apart from the methodologies, agile project management software can also be categorized by deployment method, i.e. on-premise or cloud-based.
To be able to use an on-premise project management software solution, you first have to invest in and establish a rather expensive intranet, which can be a serious disadvantage to most small and mid-sized businesses and startups with limited budget. But on-premise deployment is not without its advantages, such as customizability. On-premise solutions are usually easy to customize to meet your needs once the system is fully setup.
The one-time licensing cost can be looked at either as a pro or a con, depending on your situation. It’s a pro if you can afford it. However, for some small businesses, the one-time licensing fee can be rather steep. Another advantage is data security. With on-premise setups, you get to store all your company data locally, within your own network.
The cloud-based approach, also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), is the more popular mode of deployment between the two available options. One of the key reasons to its popularity is the fact that it allows development teams that have team members working in different locations to collaborate in real time via the internet. Another reason for its popularity is the relatively inexpensive upfront cost, which is a significant factor for a lot of SMBs and startups.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based agile project management software is the pricing terms and the features generally offered. The subscription-based model makes scaling up or down easier and more straightforward, depending on your current needs. Updates are provided by the vendor or service provider on a regular basis and full technical and customer support are also available. Some of the basic features offered include drag-and-drop functionality for ease-of-use, time tracking, collaboration tools, Gantt charts, status tracking, burndown charts, prioritization, task management and agile methodologies.
There are a few key considerations you have to factor into your decision-making process when researching the market for the most suitable agile project management software for your business.
When choosing an agile project management software solution, you have to look at its team collaboration and communication capabilities. The software solution should enable team members to collaborate and communicate with each other effortlessly, participate in discussions and work effectively regardless of their location or time zone. The platform should also allow stakeholders, decision-makers, testers, the development team, marketing team and client/customer to participate in the conversation at any stage of the project development process.
When you’re in the process of choosing a project management software vendor or service provider, ask about their storage database situation. Don’t hesitate to ask for a centralized searchable database to host the data from all of your projects. The agile project management tool should be capable of storing all vital project information in a single, secure database. It should also provide assistance to the development team when it comes to performing core functions, like user stories development, project tracking and time tracking.
Carefully evaluate your organization and think about the different departments and agile teams that your project management software will be supporting. The agile project management tool should be sufficient enough to meet your development team’s current requirements, but also easy enough to scale up or down, depending on your future needs. With the future in mind, look for a vendor or service provider that allows you to upgrade or downgrade your system cheaply and effortlessly.
Here are a few key benefits you can expect from using an agile project management tool for all your organization’s future projects:
This is one of the main purposes of agile project management software—to enable project managers and their development team to come up with better quality end products by way of agile methodologies and development framework.
An agile project management tool often involves developing and working in sprints through the scrum methodology. This approach will enable project managers to work with and engage the client at various stages of the project development process.
Agile project management software provides tools and features that help project managers and the development team respond better and more efficiently to client issues and queries. The ability to resolve queries and obtain a real-time view of the current project tasks has an immediate positive impact in time efficiency and management.
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Batch Permissions & Access||Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.|
|Budgeting||Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.|
|Calendar Management||Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Contact Sharing||Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|Expense Tracking||Track employee travel and other expenses to stay on top of budgeting requirements and reimbursements.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Gantt Charts||A particular type of flowchart using horizontal bars to illustrate time intervals. Mainly used to visualise the use of resources or duration of tasks over the course of a project.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Project Management||Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.|
|Resource Management||Manage company's internal and external resources efficiently.|
|Roadmapping||Create a visual plan or overview of a project's goals and deliverables.|
|Scheduling||Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.|
|Task Scheduling/Tracking||Schedule and track tasks and deliverables in form of to-do-lists.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
|Travel Management||Manage travel plans and expenses for employees, prospects or potential recruits through a central environment.|
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