A large number of software and information technology (IT) companies use the Agile project management framework in their projects. However for effective implementation of Agile framework in the organization a cultural change is required. Companies tend to start applying Agile without changing their culture.
One aspect of the cultural change required for Agile is to continuously track the Work-in-progress (WIP). WIP here refers to those modules or activities of the project that have still not been completed. By tracking WIP continuously companies are able to complete these activities in lesser time. Backlog of work is minimized because of this and projects are delivered in time. Due to the iterative nature of Agile methodology project managers sometimes think that there is no need to keep a continuous watch on WIP.
Agile requires managers to stop asking team members to do multi-tasking. Multi-tasking results in confusion in the team with regard to the specific responsibilities of team members. It results in wastage of time and causes delays in delivery of projects. Multi-tasking can also have an adverse impact on the quality of deliverables of the project. It causes ineffective collaboration between team members. Human resource is inefficiently utilized because of the tendency to multi-task. Team members lose their focus when they work on a number of project tasks simultaneously. Organizations that have a culture of multi-tasking are therefore less effective in applying Agile.
Agile requires team work; it requires a focus on minimizing WIP backlogs. Adaptive planning that focuses on early delivery and continuous improvement is one of the key elements of Agile methodology. In order to achieve adaptive planning the culture of the organization should be flexible and fluid, with a commitment to quality.The reliance on cross-functional teams means that communication in the organization should be free-flowing and continuous. Without effective communication, collaboration between cross-functional teams, working together on a project, cannot be effective.
The organizational culture should be responsive to change. Agile is being so widely used in software development because it strives to respond to changes in a quick way. These changes, in case of software projects, usually come in the form of changes in client requirements.There should be a fit between the objectives of Agile framework and the culture of the organization. If this fit is missing then the objective of the Agile project management framework cannot be achieved.
In order to increase their success rate in project management, many organizations are using a very systematic approach to project management. The emergence of the Information Technology (IT) industry has led to some new developments in project management. The IT industry is highly project-oriented.
Good project managers are always in great demand in this industry.
IT companies train their project managers in some common, systematic approaches to project management like PMBOK, PRINCE 2, Critical Chain, Agile et al.
The PMBOK is the acronym for Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and contains the project management practices recommended by PMI. The PMBOK contains a process-based approach to project management. This approach is widely used across different industries and sectors. It usually divides a project into five stages: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & control and closing.
The PRINCE2 approach is acronym for Projects in Controlled Environment. This approach is about much involvement of the senior management in the management of the project. Things are not left only to the project manager and the participation of senior management is called for. Like PMBOK, it too is a process-oriented approach. It is widely used in projects that are large and complicated in nature.
The critical chain project management approach (CCPM) focuses heavily on the resources required for the project. The underlying belief of this approach is that if the resources required for the project are available, adequately and timely, the project can be completed successfully. The approach focuses on identifying resource constraints and removing them.
Agile approach to project management is very popular in technology industries like IT. The focus is on iteration (repetition until the thing is done right) and incremental developments and improvements. This approach requires capable team members who are experts in their respective areas. These team members interact and collaborate to work on a software development project or other such project. The Agile approach also relies on continuous interaction and collaboration with customers and suppliers. The iteration leads to creation of delivery cycles. The project is delivered in stages in a number of delivery cycles.
The approaches mentioned above are some of the common approaches to project management that are being widely used these days. A good project manager should be aware of the developments that are taking place in the area of project management. He or she should be aware of the popular approaches to project management. Project management is a dynamic field that keeps evolving incrementally.