Project management

The Impact of COVID on Agile Project Management


Since the Agile Manifesto was released in 2001 to radically change the way software was developed and delivered, its methodologies have spread beyond the software world into other managed projects with a specialist-customer structure. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the way we all work has changed dramatically, Agile has transformed traditional project management with a focus on iterative, actionable deliverables and frequent communication about challenges and changes. of range. Read on to learn more about the impact of COVID Agile project management practices and how they continue to spread and evolve into new industries.

Learn more about the history of Agile: The Agile Manifesto

What is changing in agile project management?

Virtual meetings on site visits

Agile and the Agile Manifesto traditionally favor face-to-face meetings for brainstorming and determining the next iterations of an Agile project. The face-to-face approach is still preferred, but the interface has been upgraded, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person meetings have become nearly impossible.

Some of the changes we’ve seen are likely to persist:

  • More regular brainstorming and update meetings between project managers and their team of developers will take place on Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms.
  • While some customers will still prefer site visits for the discovery, planning and delivery stage of project points, many others will prefer to conduct these update meetings and feedback sessions on virtual platforms, in due to format and time flexibility.
  • More screen sharing, video demonstrations and virtual libraries will be used to communicate what happens at each stage of software development.

The shift to more virtual meetings came as an emergency measure in 2020, but many organizations quickly discovered the benefits of a flexible meeting format. Because they can work from home and travel less, many team members on both sides of a deal are more willing to collaborate with each other after traditional business hours. This opens up the possibility for employees and customers from different parts of the world to collaborate on a project, working with expert teams that best suit their needs.
Learn more about the future of remote working: The post-COVID future of IT remote work

Things to consider when switching to a virtual meeting format

The virtual shift to Agile project management meetings has benefited many teams, but before your own team takes on a client with this approach, there are a few things both teams need to consider:

  • Your customers need to receive basic information about the Agile methodology from the start. They need to know what to expect from you regarding deliverables, how each team can plan and cross-collaborate, and what you expect of them as a contributor at each stage of development. Setting these expectations upfront ensures that nothing gets lost in translation in future virtual meetings or email communications.
  • Virtual etiquette should be very similar to in-person etiquette with a client. Both teams should respect each other’s time by arriving on time for virtual meetings with an understanding of the set agenda. Regular deliverable iterations can’t be successful if both teams aren’t fully aware of what’s going on.
  • Without in-person communication, you’ll need a solid project management platform to act as your Agile backbone. There are many tools that use Agile approaches, such as Scrum or Kanban, to help you manage roles, responsibilities, project scope, and deadlines between the two teams. Apart from regular virtual meetings, this is the main space where both teams need to communicate on an Agile project, this way no team member is left out of the priorities that should involve them.

Useful tools for Agile PM: Best Agile Software and Tools for Project Management

Stronger data management practices

Although Agile project management is all about delivering a major project in small iterations along the way, many Agile practitioners have discovered the value of collecting and organizing all relevant data from their clients early in the project. Especially when in-person discovery sessions were not possible during the COVID lockdowns, it became even more important for Agile project managers to ask the right data questions and for Agile customers to know how to retrieve and deliver the necessary data. for the project.

These data management best practices are becoming more and more common in Agile project management, helping both the supplier and the customer achieve deliverables along the way by informing early goals with accurate data:

  • Using data annotation tools to prepare for AI/ML builds
  • Create data models, often with data modeling softwareto clean customer data before analyzing it and working on project scope
  • Building data visualizations for clients at different stages of iterative development so they can visually understand and provide feedback, regardless of its technical complexity at any given project stage

Growing involvement in change management

The Agile philosophy is based on regular, segmented delivery of product functionality to the customer, so multiple iterations of project development are required. But with so many companies simply working to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and likely beyond, many Agile customers also want and need guidance on change management strategies.

Agile already encourages flexibility, feedback, and collaboration at every stage, so the PM style naturally adapts to and supports change management needs. Project managers now need to work beyond the parameters of the project and help their clients with broader vision and business intelligence, so that their projects can be supported in a supporting business infrastructure.

As companies continue to recover and figure out how they can support their operations post-pandemic, Agile project managers should consider serving as a guide for their clients to network security software and AIOps tools that can help them maintain the complex tools that are built for them.

Moving Agile beyond the software world

The Agile philosophy was born and is mainly applied to software development, but it is increasingly becoming a must in other areas of project management, especially since COVID has required a more flexible approach with more deliverables. reliable.

A traditional project involves features such as a task list, milestones, Gantt charts, resource leveling (who does what and when), dependencies, forecast schedule, and retrospective schedule. Reviewing a project with all of these variables can become overwhelming, and especially since traditional project management sticks firmly to the original scope and deadlines, it can be difficult for both teams to determine whether they have budgeted finances, time, and team members for a given task. Especially in times of chaos and change, an original scope may not align with organizational goals or needs in a year or even a month.

But when you apply an Agile methodology to a major project like this, you can suddenly divide a long-running task into iterations that allow the project to change and evolve as you go. For example, you can get 20% of a customer’s ERP software configuration by completing manufacturing line tests. When you deliver that particular segment to the client, they not only get to actually see the project, but also give their approval and feedback before your team moves on to the next section.

With an Agile approach to project management, both teams can achieve new efficiencies through seamless communication and collaboration efforts. In all likelihood, this collaborative element of the Agile methodology will stick around long after the pandemic doubts and fears have disappeared.

Read more : Three key advancements in ERP for 2021

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