Typically, project managers and team members will complete each phase of a project in a methodical, logical set of steps. However, if changes need to be made, or something requires reworking, more often than not the process will need to be started over from the beginning with these adjustments in mind.
Because of this, more time must be spent during the planning stage to carefully minimize the number of errors and potential changes needed to ensure that projects can run as smoothly as possible and are completed on time.
Undoubtedly, this can be a lot of pressure. On the other hand, Agile project management allows for the opposite. Unlike the waterfall method which tends to be more sequential and rigid, Agile allows for a more incremental, interactive method of managing a project. So, what are the pros and cons of switching to Agile project management?
Change is Welcomed:
Unlike the waterfall method where changes can lead to big problems, Agile projects are designed to change all the time. Nothing is permanent until it has been tested, retested, and approved. This means that if a certain aspect of your project isn’t working out as expected, it’s easier to pivot and adjust the project rather than having to start over or scrap your project altogether.
With the waterfall method, it could be months before your product or service is ready – running the risk of it already being outdated by the time it is available to the market. Thanks to the constantly evolving nature of the methodologies, Agile provides a strong solution to this. It allows you to add new features, benefits, services, and more throughout the entire development process, allowing you to ensure that your features will be up-to-date at launch regardless of how long the entire project takes.
Get Feedback Sooner:
The main reason that you and your team will be able to remain up-to-date is that with Agile project management, the feedback loop is much shorter compared to traditional project management methods like the waterfall method. Instead of waiting weeks or even months to get feedback from your team, you can get it at every step of the way. This makes it easier to ensure that you are creating an end product that will be satisfactory to your end-users and meet customer expectations.
If you choose the traditional waterfall for projects such as software, app, and website development, there’s usually a very short window of time at the end of the development process to allow you to test for errors and bugs. Chances are that using this method, certain errors and bugs might be missed, or you run the risk of finding something big that will end up delaying the release date by quite some time.
On the other hand, using Agile project management methods means that you are constantly checking for errors and bugs, allowing you to spot them as soon as they arise and deal with them throughout the development process rather than testing if everything works as one big batch right at the end. Check out Kanbanize, a huge online resource for Agile methodologies, to learn more about how Agile project management works for various projects and product development.
Meet Targets and Deadlines:
As long as your project is running smoothly, another major benefit of using Agile methodologies is that you have a much better chance of hitting your targets and deadlines. When the process is made up of smaller iterations compared to larger phases, it’s easier to manage your team throughout the project lifecycle and deal with any problems that arise as quickly as possible before they are given the chance to grow and potentially derail your project.
Downsides to Consider:
As with any methodologies and strategies, there are some downsides alongside the pros to consider. First of all, you could still end up over your budget, even though Agile means that you do tend to get a better handle on what’s going on with your project at any time. Constant changes, unforeseen updates, and daily testing can lead to overspending if it is not carefully managed.
In addition, Agile projects are also more likely to deviate from the initial plan as things come up during the development process. Depending on how you look at it, this isn’t always a downside and it could often mean that you end up getting better results than what you expected at the start.
If you are working in an industry that often changes quickly, have a team of people who prefer to be in control and think independently in regards to their work, and need a method that allows you to do things in smaller increments and reduce the risk of having to start all over again if something needs changing, Agile strategies could be the best solution for your projects.