6 Agile project management pitfalls

Whether you already use agile management methodology in your development projects or are looking for ways to innovate with a more versatile and dynamic approach to day-to-day workflow, the process is not without its faults. According to Medium, only 58% of organizations worldwide understand the value of project management, with only 22% of them using specialized platforms in their workflow.

While you can certainly benefit from introducing agile project management into your company, there are several noteworthy pitfalls you should keep in mind before doing so. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the mistakes in agile project management implementation and how you can avoid them for the continued benefit of your teams and business as a whole.

What is agile project management?

As they say, “the devil is in the details”, so what better way to start things off than by defining what agile project development actually stands for? An agile environment consists of individuals with a clear goal but no set job descriptions. Its aim is to allow professionals to assist each other, fill roles for one another and achieve a common goal without the restraints of typical project management.

This approach is commonly associated with software development and the IT sector (although not exclusively so). Eddie Seymour, HR Specialist at WoWGrade put it this way: “If your employees are experienced and know the ins and outs of each other’s JDs, there is no real reason to keep them away from an agile work environment.” Agile project management is not without its faults however, as we will soon discuss at greater length.

Benefits of agile project management

There are good reasons for agile project management’s wide appeal. The methodology is highly flexible and relies on the expertise and collaboration between individuals more than standard team management does. If we had to break down the direct advantages this approach to project management can bring a company, we could list several beneficial aspects of agile, including the following points:

  • Mid-development testing – ensuring higher end-product quality
  • Minimalized micromanagement – increasing employee morale and productivity
  • Streamlined development process – short, informative and frequent team meetings

1. Lack of clear milestones

Now that we have a clearer idea of what agile project management can do for your business, let’s take a deeper look at potential pitfalls which come with it. When it comes to goal-setting, agile is no different than any other project management methodology. Mathew Coons, Chief of Human Resources at Studicus spoke on the matter: “Whether your employee is a senior developer or an onboarding junior, you should make sure that they have clear KPIs and deliverables presented to them. Once they’re clear on their goals, an agile work environment can take shape more organically.”

In order for your team to bridge the gap between points A and B, you need to provide them with a prototype or a vision of the end-product. Once the milestones are in place, a team can manage their own workflow and collaborate in order to achieve the set goals in a streamlined manner.

2. Agile for the sake of agile

One of the worst things you can do for your business is to introduce agile as “the next big thing” without properly addressing the proverbial elephant in the room – “what is agile and how do we use it?”

In order to avoid this, you should make sure that your employees are briefed on the basics of agile, specialized management tools and other factors which will play a pivotal role in future development. It’s also good practice to assign senior members to oversee the initial onboarding phase for less experienced employees in order for everyone to learn as much and as quickly as possible about agile.

3. Assuming agile is quick & simple

Agile project management is more efficient and fast-paced than traditional development – it is not however fast-tracked or quick and simple to implement. Make sure that you are aware of the processes of agile development and all the factors that go into its integration before assuming otherwise.

Cynthia Lowell, Project Manager at Supreme Dissertations spoke on the topic: “Trends can be dangerous when it comes to in-house implementation of buzz-worthy methodologies and theories. Contact an established professional who is familiar with the agile project management theory before applying it to your teams without more in-depth guidance.”

4. Lack of manpower or resources

Even though agile development consists of interchanging assignments and workflow, you’ll still need proper manpower and resources to do it. Agile management requires just as many individuals for it to work as with any other methodology and the same goes for development resources allocated to the project.

The role of the project manager is also somewhat unique when it comes to agile since they are in charge of supervision and hands-on development same as with other management principles out there. Build your teams’ rosters so that individual skills can be used in tandem with other employees and where each member can pitch in with various activities such as QA testing or code development.

5. Uneven individual engagement

Agile workflow means that every team member is engaged in active development in any given moment. This means that individuals should be in charge of different development activities throughout the project’s duration. Once an operation is complete, individuals should quickly shift to other tasks in the development environment to shorten the turnaround time and assist their colleagues in collaboration.

Tim Brook, Head of Content Department at IsAccurate had this to say on the matter: “Uneven engagement across the team can lead to further productivity drop-off and a general loss of motivation to work further. With that said, the project lead should always be on the lookout for their colleagues whose work is nearing its completion and find new ways to engage them shortly.”

6. Scrapping the project mid-development

Lastly, the point of agile project management is to “keep all doors open” when it comes to the final product you develop. What starts off as a dedicated cloud-based service may transform into a premium app for mobile devices throughout its development – and that’s ok!

Agile project management will allow you to steer your product in the right direction as you learn more about what it is that your team is trying to communicate to the market. Abandoning your project mid-development is counterintuitive and goes against agile development principles.

In Summary

Even though there are certainly pitfalls to be mindful of in regards to agile, the methodology is quite intuitive and allows for a plethora of modifications based on your team’s preferences. Make sure that you are familiar with the theory behind agile before you jump into it and a new world of project development will open itself up to you. Before you know it, you will find creative ways to efficiently collaborate with your colleagues and deliver higher quality products to the market without much effort thanks to agile.

About the author: Estelle Liotard holds a Master’s in English Literature and is a Content Marketing Specialist at Trust My Paper. She firmly believes that online content can be both witty and useful to readers across the globe. Estelle has dedicated her professional career to delivering reliable and research-based content to her readers as a Senior Writer at Best Essay Education. In her spare time, she enjoys occasional hiking and cooking a variety of dishes.

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