Here is Why Agile Approach to Planning May Work Best for You
Even though the Agile project management was originated as a manufacturing process, it applies well to software development. The cornerstone of Agile software development is the release of small increments frequently, which allows to react quickly to changing requirements. Moreover, by keeping the customer and other stakeholders involved in the process, the team receives early feedback and is able to provide the working prototype that has what is most needed in the end result.
Agile comes in many forms: Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Feature-Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development (DSDM), etc. But they all adhere to the Agile Manifesto:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
When it comes to the Agile methodology, the biggest challenge is changing company culture. Software developers are used to working with processes that provide detailed requirements – they concern less concern about the “why” and more about the “what”. Engineers are by nature more detail-conscious and want to know that if they deliver a certain set of requirements, they are done.
So project managers have been traditionally trained to follow the “5Ps” rule – proper planning prevents poor performance – and work with detailed plans. But the problem with the traditional project management is that the entire team (executives, sponsors, developers, customers) needs to get involved in the various stages of the planning process, which is kind of like trying to get mountain men to sit still in a 3-hour opera.
With regards to the Agile project management, it’s a collaborative methodology that embraces changing requirements. It means that the planning process should not be so detail-oriented – in fact, Agile encourages responding to change over following a plan. That’s why it works really well for IT companies as software is highly interactive and it is hard to predict exactly how well it will work until it is actually run.