Is Agile Project Management the Solution For You? 90% Say Yes
90% of project managers find their teams are more efficient when working under agile methodologies. Find out why here.
We’ve written before about how software development tools, despite the label, are no longer confined just to dev teams.
But what about software development methodologies? Under the Clearvision spotlight today: Agile working.
What is Agile and where did it come from?
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is a good place to start. There are 12 principles to the Agile Manifesto, but they can be summed up by the following statements of value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Being Agile is all about incorporating feedback for continuous improvement.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Not necessarily – since the term was coined back in 2001, there have been many debates over what it is, how effective it is, and then what type of Agile you should be.
Just one glance at the Wikipedia page (standard “don’t do your detailed research on Wikipedia” disclaimer applies) is enough to see that the conversation doesn’t stand still.
Which is all very agile, really.
Is Agile worth adopting?
We’re calling for 2015 to be the year your organisation goes Agile. Why?
Improved change management
Projects completed on time and to budget
These aren’t just software development goals – they’re business goals. It’s not surprising that more and more businesses are adapting agile methodologies beyond their dev teams.
Following extensive research into current agile users, Software Advice’s 2015 Agile Report discovered that 48% of project managers are using agile software primarily for projects not related to software development.
As the report notes, the majority of agile software users may be developing software, but that majority is a slim one and it looks set to continue to shrink.
In much the same way that having all teams use a collaborative tool like Confluence to build an organisation-wide knowledge base will increase transparency, having all teams work to the same methodologies will improve communication and efficiency.
If you’re all headed in the same direction and can help each other on the way, you’ll get there faster.
Proven in project management
Project managers from around the world took part in the study, which aimed to uncover the biggest benefits and challenges of agile software, as well as which features and functionalities have the greatest impact on a team’s efficiency.
The vast majority of respondents used each of the functionalities they were asked about, with their most used shown below.
Most Used Agile Functionality
Impact of Agile Software Functionality on Efficiency
Chosen as the most used functionality by 95% of project managers, workflow tracking proved most popular, but as the impact results show, improved efficiency with agile methodologies is something of a given.
Workflow tracking didn’t stand out because it worked – it stood out, respondents said, because out of a host of effective functionalities, it worked the most efficiently.
Researcher John Leslie was unsurprised by the results. “These functions are crucial to a project’s progress, providing managers a holistic view and updated status of tasks and activities,” he stated. “Greater communication and visibility of progress and tasks are at the heart of the agile methodology.”
In spite of the evidence in Agile’s favour, Software Advice found that many project managers use multiple methods. This can be seen through the continued popularity of tools such as Microsoft Excel and Outlook.
Users’ Current Project Management Methods
With 90% of project managers finding their teams more efficient when working under agile methodologies, why do so many still use more traditional – and less productive – manual methods alongside them?
The truth is that many (quite wrongly!) still see Agile as a niche project management method solely for software development. But even if that were the case (it’s not!), would it matter? From e-commerce to apps to internal processes, it’s hard to think of any business without a single connection to software.
As author and agile advocate Jeff Gothelf says, “Any business that seeks to scale in a 21st-century world is going to be a software-driven business. To thrive, compete and survive in a software-driven world, you have to build organizational agility into the process.”
49% of users also cite a lack of training as their biggest challenge. This, Leslie explains, reflects “a need to properly train and consult managers and teams when adopting agile methodologies and technology.”
Of course, while it may not fit with the idea of a single, seamlessly adapted solution, project managers combining multiple methodologies does say a lot about the flexibility of agile working. Adopting a new model of working doesn’t have to mean abandoning the tools you know without looking back.
It’s Agile: make it work for you.
For more information on how going Agile can improve efficiency, collaboration and communication across organisations, contact the Clearvision team today. We can help with training, consulting, support and a range of custom services.
Graphs and statistics from Software Advice
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