Key Issues for Agile Project Management

Agile projects are generally tough to manage if not handled well. There are many roadblocks that emerge which need patience, time, and imagination to tackle in agile project management

What is agile project management?

Agile project management is a flexible, incremental, and iterative method of managing project members in information technology, engineering, and other business areas. It usually involves self organizing and cross-functioning teams which include capable individuals who can also be decision makers. People from the relevant businesses and departments also function in a non hierarchical framework. It also uses high level of customer involvement in the evolution of the project in terms of periodic and stable inputs.

Issues faced during agile project management:

Despite this method being conceived in software development, it soon found application in enterprise as well, although often it becomes complicated to handle.

Transition from software based projects

One of the major hurdles to cross for agile projects is the crossover from software based projects to enterprise based projects. The principle it is based on has been developed by software engineers for software projects, and when projects are not software based people hit dead ends.

Software Product Owners

A lot of agile projects tend to focus on software product owners and the ones who are not highly focused with the concerned projects have the burden of holding two full time job positions. The product owners pet agile project can work but not if that person is appointed specifically for it. Since it’s the product owner’s role to significantly represent the customer in the project appointing more than one person could be a solution.

Difference between product and project management

Terms ‘project management’ and ‘product management’ have a major differentiating point with the former having a defined end point and the latter without. Project management has the goal of generating a particular product or service whereas product management is an ongoing process. Software agile project management was successful with the latter as a constantly evolving process. Products are expected to evolve with new features and other add-ons with a vaguely defined scope. Whereas a project without a clearly defined scope and allowed to evolve without direction can lead to roadblocks.

The key is to assume every product release as an individual project which leaves room for innovation and evolution.

Leveraging the roles for the agile project manager

Lack of definition of the project manager role is a major hurdle that traditional project management techniques find hard to cross. The agile project managers are like the traditional project managers except that they pick roles and change forms more regularly from process owners to product owners and other such roles.

Inefficacy in large projects

Agile management methods fail when applied to large organizations and large projects as its non sequential method of working starts getting beyond control with too many members and voices. It is observed that agile practices in large organizations tend to be chaotic and stabilize only when a plan driven approach accompanies it.

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