If you are an experienced project manager, then you are likely familiar with the term agile. Even if you haven’t managed an agile project before, or you aren’t sure what it is or what it means, you can still manage an agile project successfully.
Many traditional project managers experienced with the Critical Path or Critical Chain, or Waterfall methodologies might cringe when they hear about agile management.
The truth is for many organizations and projects, agile is becoming more and more common and popular.
Agile project management or APM is an iterative approach to planning and managing projects, and delivering successful outcomes. These smaller iterative cycles are commonly referred to as sprints.
Many organizations are discovering that managing agile projects provides greater value and results in more successful project outcomes. In fact, according to the 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report published by the PMI, 75 percent of organizations that adopt agile methodologies complete more of their projects successfully than their competitors.
However, not only is there a shortage in qualified project managers, there is even more of a shortage of agile certified project managers.
In this article, we will talk about not only the importance of agile project management, but also how to lead successful agile projects.
Agile Project Management is a Mindset
Before you close out of this article thinking that you don’t have enough experience to manage agile projects successfully, think again. The truth is you don’t need experience to become a professional project manager, or to even earn your ACP certification.
Agile project management is really a mindset, and it is more about managing people rather than projects. The more effective you are at managing people, the more likely you will become a successful agile project manager.
Yes, of course, it is helpful to have some experience as an agile project manager, but it isn’t necessary. Agile project management involves running and managing sprints, which requires a design thinking mindset and mentality, and also a leadership mentality. One of the primary goals of leading an agile project is enhancing and encouraging team collaboration to help them solve problems.
Sprints are typically used to help solve problems in the following types of projects:
- Software, app, or website development projects
- Finding customer-centric solutions
- Achieving organizational goals or KPIs through a series of projects
- New product development or improvements
Sprints can involve the project team, stakeholders, experts, cross-functional departments and any other crucial personnel within the project domain; their involvement, participation, and insights are crucial to solving a problem.
5 Ways to Lead a Successful Agile Project
1. Build a Collaborative Culture.
One of the primary characteristics of agile project management is collaboration. This could be collaboration within the project team, stakeholders, and clients, or all three. Yes, team members should be able to work independently, but collaboration is also important.
Collaboration ensures that everyone knows what they should be working on, the priorities, and goals. Understanding and being aware of goals and priorities will allow team members to shift priorities and focus when and where needed based on empirical feedback cycles an at the end of each sprint.
Communicating too much information can be difficult, so be sure to talk often rather than unload tons of information in a single sitting.
Ok, well you don't have to over do it
Collaborating also helps project team members problem solve. Collaborative environments encourage team members to speak up about what isn’t working, which also allows the project team to reach a solution quickly.
2. Don’t Forget About Goals.
As we mentioned above, teams should be focused on goals and purpose throughout the entire project. This may mean you have to remind your project team about these goals, but it will help maintain a clear direction for the project.
In addition to reminding team members about project and organizational goals, it’s also important to ensure that they understand the goals. When team members understand goals, and see the value of the project, they will be more likely to invest time and energy into the project.
3. Host Regular, Productive Meetings.
Many team members dislike attending meetings, whether face-to-face or virtual. They believe they are a waste of time. After all, why spend 30 minutes to an hour sitting in a meeting when they could be using the time to get work done?
The reason why project team members dislike meetings is because meetings are often mismanaged. They are scheduled and held without a clear agenda, goal, and stop time.
However, meetings can be productive and a huge benefit to managing an agile project when they are managed properly. Additionally, meetings can help keep project team members on the same page, encourage and enhance team collaboration, and be truly effective and productive.
4. Earn Your ACP Management Certification.
Agile project managers can greatly benefit from earning their ACP management certification. It will teach them important skills for leading a team as well as agile projects successfully. This includes measuring the value of agile, delivering stories and projects on time and within budget, and meeting original specifications and goals.
5. Test Your Knowledge.
Not sure where you stand in terms of ACP or APM knowledge? Project Vanguards offers a wide range of exam prep courses, including the ACP certification exam as well as the PMP exam.
What is the ACP Agile Management Certification?
The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® is the only globally-recognized certification program for agile project managers who want to accelerate and solidify their careers. The ACP certification is an extremely impressive credential, and one that will certainly give you a competitive edge and also increase your earning potential.
The ACP certification is designed to teach project managers the key agile principles, knowledge areas, techniques, and micro-methodologies, which include the following:
- Extreme Programming (XP)
- Test-driven Development (TDD)
What Will I Learn in the ACP Agile Management Course?
The ACP Agile Management exam preparation course offered by Project Vanguards covers all the key knowledge areas and techniques that test takers will see on the ACP certification exam.
Unlike other programs that only cover “the basics” of the exam in a textbook-style format, this course covers the various agile approaches and micro-methodologies. It also looks at real-world applications, projects, and scenarios.
No, you don’t need to be an experienced project manager to take the course or the exam. Whether you have been a project manager for 10 years or 10 days, you will benefit from this course, and feel confident about taking the ACP exam and earning your ACP certification.
How Earning the ACP Certification Shapes Your Project Management Career
Regardless of your experience, you will learn something new that you can apply to your daily projects. Earning your ACP certification will also shape your future as a professional project manager.
More and more organizations are on the hunt for ACP certified project managers to help them manage agile projects successfully. Earning your ACP Certification just might be the best thing you do for your career.