Agile Project Management and Scrum


Agile Methods in Projects Have Been Successful for Many Years

Agile methods are used in more and more projects—in software product development already successful for many years, in other project types we are still at the beginning. However, the trend clearly shows that more and more companies are interested in agile methods or are already introducing them. Even in traditional industries, such as automotive or aircraft construction, projects are already being carried out successfully. Examples are Toyota, BMW or SAAB Technologies.

Recently, agile methods have been tried to be used in other business processes than in projects. This is an exciting challenge, which will strongly influence the entire corporate culture, management systems and collaboration. But I am not so sure whether many large companies will make this step in the next few years. Small businesses are much more adaptable in this respect.

Learning and understanding agile methods like Scrum is relatively easy. However, incorporating and living the agile values and basic principles is a lot more difficult—and many companies still have and will have difficulties. Scrum is now the most widely used agile method in software development.

Here you get an overview of Scrum

Agile Methods Lead to Radical Changes

The success of agile methods at the corporate level is ultimately only achieved through radical changes within the organizations and here we are still far from making much progress. At the project level, however, we are already well advanced.

Agile methods have a radical impact on management and compensation systems in companies. Managers lose power and influence in self-organizing teams. This will not make change easy, especially in corporate culture.

The principle of self-organizing and cross-functional teams, bosses as coaches without leadership functions and the dismantling of management levels, was already an “interesting topic” decades ago. I hope we will be more successful in the coming years.

In software development with Scrum agile methods have been successfully applied for several years. So a first, important step has already been taken!

What is Agility?

Agility is the characteristic of speed, light weight and adaptability. This includes:

  • The ability to innovate and adapt in a rapidly changing business environment.
  • The ability to quickly reprioritize resources as requirements, technology and knowledge change.
  • React quickly to market changes and emerging trends through intensive customer contact.
  • Use evolutionary, incremental and iterative methods to deliver an optimal customer solution.

Combined this means: Be agile, with the goal of maximizing business value, with the right solution at the right time.

Agile Methods

Many new methods have been developed in project management, but almost all of them are tailored to software development. The first approaches to agile software development were developed in the early 1990s. Agile software development first became popular in 1999, when Kent Beck published the book Extreme Programming Explained. In the industry, agile methods are mainly found among automotive manufacturers.

In the following list you will find some important agile methods in software development. The higher up it is, the more widespread and well-known it is.

  • Scrum
  • Extreme Programming(XP)
  • Unified Process(RUP, AUP, OUP)
  • Feature Driven Development(FDD)
  • Adaptive Software Development(ASD)

The Rational Unified Process (RUP) is seen by many representatives of agile methods as a non-agile, heavyweight process. However, this is controversial. Therefore, efforts were made to develop an agile variant of RUP with the Agile Unified Process.

Learn More About Scrum and Agile Project Management

Want to learn more about how to make your agile projects even more successful? My book “Scrum – How to Successfully Apply Agile Project Management and Scrum” takes you an important step further