Role of Agile Project Management in Increasing Productivity level

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Role of Agile project management in increasing productivity

Adaptation of Agile project methodologies are now being implemented rapidly by different level of organizations for increasing their effectiveness. How professionals see role of agile project methodologies in increasing productivity of an organization in general. On the other hand benefits organizations working on Agile derive, in terms of customer satisfaction and outputs they produce. For having a better understanding on the subject, TaskQue asked PMP professionals on different social platforms such as Projectmanagement.com, Reddit and Quora about their experiences with agile project management methodology and here are insights on what they responded on our question:

“What is the role of Agile Project Management in increasing productivity level?”

People on biggest project management platform ProjectManagement.com responded with these answers.

Aaron Porter (MBA, PMP, CSM) says:

“Are you familiar with the cliche that new shoes make you run faster? I’m not sure how “American” this is, but the idea is that some children think they can run faster because they are wearing new shoes. This belief is often encouraged by an authority figure.

This is often what I think of when people talk about the benefits of agile. Not because there are no benefits – there are – but because not all of the benefits can be ascribed to agile, and it may take a while to realize the benefits. Just as new shoes don’t guarantee you’ll run faster, just switching to agile can’t guarantee you’ll be more productive.

Lee Hanson explained it well in a conference session I attended, yesterday. I’m paraphrasing. If you want to be more effective with agile, your organization needs to do fewer things at once. If all you’re doing the same amount of projects, using agile instead of waterfall, you could easily end up with the same results, except for one thing: using agile, you’re more likely to have delivered shippable product sooner, so you might see revenue/roi faster.

This is, of course, assuming you are doing a project where you can use a flavor of agile, and your team is experienced using agile. When you first switch, it might take a while to get good at it. If you want to run faster, you need to practice and exercise.”

Sergio Luis Conte (Ph.D SE,PMP,PMI-PBA) says:

“First: Agile Project Management does not exist. What exists is project management performed into agile environments, where you have to take into account that Agile is not software or IT, Agile is not a method or process, Agile did not ester with the Manifesto. Second, you have to define what productivity mean for your organization. Third, Agile is nothing to do with productivity if you take the definition of productivity that comes from centuries ago from the economic theory.”

Vincent Guerard Projects, Freelance consultant says:

“Project management in an Agile environment should make you maximize project benefit.”

Sergio Luis Conte (Ph.D SE,PMP,PMI-PBA) says:

“On the other side, I am leading my seventh initiative to implement Agile at enterprise wide in order the organization gaining in Agility. Agility is the ability to react to environmental changes and to create environmental changes. Is the way to put the organization in reactive and proactive way. You have to think the organization from the systemic point of view (Bertalanffy, Bunge, Ackoff, Prahapad are Masters on that field). Organization is an adaptable and open system. The organization answer the environment thru functions and process. If you take the project management process and you apply agile principles to them the organization will be ready to focus on client (external and internal) needs each time the organization needs to be reactive or proactive. That is not new. Ford Motors company in 1917 and then Toyota Motors in 1934 used those principles that time after was named “Lean” by the MIT (Lean is not the same than Agile).”

Diego Ferrer Managing Deputy Commissioner IT says:

“Agile projects have a lower failure rate than traditional waterfall projects. According to the 2011 CHAOS report, agile projects have a 9 percent failure rate. In contrast, the study found that waterfall projects had a 29 percent failure rate.”

Source: http://www.cio.com/article/3021336/leaders…with-agile.html

John Tieso Author, Lecturer in Business says:

“I might suggest it is more likely that culture will be an inhibitor to adoption of agile methods than the business model. A business model can be changed a lot mo0re easily to confront new techniques, while culture is inbred in an organization and has to be (1) identified, (2) analyzed for how deeply rooted it is, and (3) whether the organization is ready for cultural change.

What I often recommend is that adoption of agile methods and practices can work within many business model models, just not with the intensity of having pep rallies and discussions of the manifesto. Working in smaller, more concise and organized chunks of activity, planned out in phases can still be modeled in a WBS, costed out, and dependencies set which make sense. Included in the WBS would the weekly update sessions but its principles and practices are sound and worth considering as a mode for working through a project”.

Reply on Reddit says:

practicingitpm  says

“Agile methods have “given us permission” to work out the details as we go. There are problem domains where this has been incredibly valuable, and others where it is completely inappropriate. Note that agile methods are not a cure for bad management, they don’t improve the coding skills of people who should be doing something else for a living, and it’s easier to change the climate than it is the culture of some organizations. But it can make a huge difference.”

mjshoemake  says:

Yeah, for sure. Agile is definitely the way to go for most organizations, for various reasons. This is particularly true if your organization has the freedom to do it right. Sometimes companies try to do agile in such a way that only the development organization is impacted, but the business side of the house (where the requirements come from) definitely needs to be integrated into the agile process. There is a “product owner” that should be part a product management organization. I’ve seen companies do make that an actual job title, which is awesome. It’s a good idea to align the business to the methodology as much as possible. Agile provides a mechanism for the team to learn and adapt every couple of weeks (retrospective), periodic demos of new functionality so people know what’s going on, daily stand up meetings to discuss status (15 minutes a day), and planning meetings every couple of weeks so the team can identify what work they have capacity to take for the next sprint.

The very bottom of the article at the link below discusses agile estimation, but I would read the whole thing. It doesn’t take very long. This should give you an idea of how it works and why.

https://hubpages.com/business/Estimating-Software-Projects-Effectively

Answers given by community on Quora are as follows:

Chuck Cobb , Agile Project Management Author, Mentor, and Instructor says:

“Let’s break this question down into two parts:

1. How do you improve productivity in an Agile team?

Productivity in an Agile project is a result of: (a) doing work more efficiently and (b) doing the right work that produces value rather than the wrong work that does not produce value.

Working more efficiently is a result of a number of things including

o Using a methodology that is appropriate to the nature of the project;

o Team training;

o Technical proficiency;

o Having the proper tools;

o Availability of specialized resources outside of the team:

o An appropriate work environment;

o Removing obstacles to progress; and

o Providing an appropriate level of facilitation and leadership to organize and coordinate the work of the team, keep the team motivated, and keep the work on the right trac

Doing the right work is a result of properly identifying and prioritizing the work to be done so that non-value added work is eliminated or minimized and legitimate work is properly prioritized to deliver the highest value work first

2. How does an Agile Project Manager Influence these factors that impact productivity?

This part of the question is a little more difficult to answer because the role of an Agile Project Manager at the team level is not well-defined in an Agile project and the answer might vary from one project to the next depending on the overall role of an Agile Project Manager in the project (if there even is one at all).

In general, in a pure Agile environment at the team level, many of the above factors that influence productivity can be handled by the Scrum Master and/or the Product Owner without a project manager.

An Agile Project Manager might come into play if:

There is something about the nature of the project that requires a hybrid approach such as an Agile contract or

For larger and more complex projects requiring multiple teams and/or other factors outside the scope of the team that require coordination such as DevOps and business process integration.

Chuck Cobb

Author of “The Project Manager’s Guide to Mastering Agile”

Check out: Agile Project Management Training Online for Project Managers”

Steven J Owens says:

“Agile project management is a somewhat complex topic, although not as complex as project management overall, because at the heart of it, and the reason for the word “agile” in the name, is that you avoid a lot of project management complexity by being, and in order to be, agile, i.e. able to adapt quickly.

The best work I ever read about software development is Philip Armour’s The Laws of Software Process. Google it, you should be able to find the first chapter online, and that’s 80% of the value. In a nutshell, Armour points out that software development is a process of knowledge discovery. You discover knowledge by exploring the requirements, codify that knowledge in software, test that codification by having people use the software, and use that testing to discover more knowledge, which you then feed back into the next iteration.

Agile project management increases productivity largely through three factors:

avoiding unnecessary work

“working clean”

better rapport with the end user

“Avoiding unnecessary work” isn’t pithy; there’s probably a better term or phrase, but in essence, most traditional project management systems try to deal with the inevitable change by trying to suppress it, or plan ahead for it, or add lots of ceremony around it. All of these generate lots of extra work.

A huge part of that extra work is in planning ahead and building code you think you’ll need. Instead, Agile says that modern programming languages, tools and techniques are sufficient to enable us to cope with those new requirements when we get to them, instead of trying to get it all nailed down ahead of time – which is doomed to fail anyway, and in the process will make you do a whole lot of extra work.

“Working clean” is a concept from the cooking world (in french, “mise en place”) and it’s the idea that you actually go faster by constantly cleaning up your table, knives, cutting board, etc. It seems like that extra work would slow you down, but instead it enables you to go much faster.

In software, “working clean” is about keeping the code “clean”, i.e. uncluttered, as simple as possible, as “clean” in design and structure as possible. Besides avoiding unnecessary code, a huge part of this is refactoring.

Much of the worst of software messes is caused by a shift in the purpose of the system, based on newly acquired understanding that is not also reflected by the architecture of the system. Refactoring aims to keep the architecture of the system in sync and congruent with the purpose, which helps keep the rest of the code clean.

“Better rapport with the end user” is, again, not the pithiest way to phrase it, but it’s accurate – you can’t avoid unnecessary work unless you know (and decide together with the customer/end user) what’s actually necessary. A lot of the practices of various agile project methodologies are aimed at overcoming the gulf that separates the developers from the people who actually have to use the software. This includes things like the Onsite Customer and Planning Game from Extreme Programming, and other techniques from other agile methodologies”.

Sheraz Pervaiz, former VP at Coeus Solution GmbH (2014-2015)

“It’s question with wrong perspective , Agile has nothing to do with Productivity rather it’s way to reduce risk by ensuring early demo able Software rather than waiting long for working Software”.

Henrico Dolfing, Certified Scrum Professional, CSM and CSPO. 10 years of doing Agile PM

“Agile in general is not about increasing productivity. It is about working on things that have the highest value and not on other things. Funny enough this will lead to the perception of a higher productivity level because the output has a higher value with the same amount of working hours put in.

When you talk about (Agile) Project Management I agree with Victor. There is so much more around managing a project than the “building” process that is used. See www.project-checklist-review.ch for example”

Victor Han, Director

“Project manager is always doing the same thing no matter following any process.

PM must do:

Timeline management

Scope/change management

Stakeholder management

Budget management

Resource management

Reporting

ETC.”

Conclusion

At the end I can hope that you have gained very insightful knowledge about Agile Project Management Practices. Many people even gave their perspective as if thing like Agile does not even exist while others contradicted and said that in some environments Agile methodology is really helpful in gaining results at faster pace for meeting requirements in more competitive and rapid environment.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. What is productivity? How do you measure it?

    Without answers to this question, the whole debate might as well be about how many angles can fit on the head of a pin.

    The goal of Agile is to increase value delivered, not the quantity of work delivered. Hopefully, we can measure value actually delivered, even if it we have to wait months or years for that measure. Measuring estimated value is as unreliable (and political) as measuring surrogates for throughput or productivity.

    • Agile is all about delivering effective products and results in a fast manner while bothering less about efficiency, Jason Fried said “The longer it takes to develop something the less likely it is to launch”.

    • You are right Steven the article is at core focused on productivity while it also covers Agile methodologies effectiveness.

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