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Agile Project Management Tools: You Too Can Be Agile

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Agile Project Management Tools: You Too Can Be Agile

Does your Agile team need a jump start? Consider trying project management tools that can help streamline some of the processes.

· Agile Zone
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The amazing thing about Agile project management is that while it drives governance and discipline in every phase of the project it can easily handle changes along the way. Agile project management addresses a big challenge for project managers in finding the right balance of discipline without choking creativity and innovation.

Baby Steps

When working on a project, the best way to ensure that you reach the desired goal is to divide the project into manageable chunks of tasks, create a checklist/success criteria/acceptance criteria or even a subset of todo lists that define the completion of the task. Assign the task to the right resources and then monitor the progress through appropriate reporting, team collaboration and communication throughout the process by using formal reviews/meetings and/or real-time feedback loops. By breaking up all your Goals/Projects into tasks you are better able to prioritize and manage the project resources. When done right, these simple steps can result in successful and cost effective projects with little or no rework.

Feedback-Input Loop

One of the essential elements of Agile projects is the collaboration among team members on a continual basis that is not limited to the project’s early brainstorming phases. It is imperative that project resources are able to communicate their concerns, issues, and ideas to the project manager and other related team members in time. Effective and timely communication not only reduces rework but fosters inclusive behaviors resulting in creative solutions, and, above all, successful projects.

Template It!

When you have found the right recipe, the right process, the right set of tasks for running your oft repeated projects, then template it. Templates promote standards across the organization, reduce errors, and take the guesswork out of processes/projects that are repeated. Consistency promotes efficiency.

What Risk?

No project is without risk. Not to say that risk cannot be managed, all it takes is that you understand your risks and plan around them. Even though every project can have its unique challenges and risks, a few are common across most projects and can be mitigated upfront.

  • Resource utilization: Resouces are probably the most expensive item in your project bill, thus their effective utilization is imperative to success. Ensure you have a way to assign tasks to individual resources or sub-teams as required and then not only be able to monitor their progress but also be part of the Feedback/Input loop and catch any concerns or issues and take timely action.
  • Time Recording: An understanding of your project burn rates is crucial. Time recording, submission, and approval capability is key to keeping the project books current and your team happy.
  • Meetings: A point always overlooked and later regretted. Minute all your project meetings so you don't forget anything.
  • Work Smart: Don’t be a slave to your calendar and task lists, let the software work for you through automated reminders and alerts, freeing you to focus on more productive stuff.

Software that can help to promote individual accountability, team interaction, and encourage review and feedback, helps to template repetitive tasks/projects, provides timely reporting, alerts, and reminders can be key to you keeping your sanity.

Good luck in your next project, may the force be with you!

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Topics:
project management ,productivity tools ,task management ,agile development

Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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