When it comes to project management, success metrics can vary significantly. Of course, the viability of a project relies on its ability to meet predefined requirements without overspending or failing to meet deadlines. But success also depends on client satisfaction, lessons learned, team feedback, and several other factors, even with traditional management methods.
So why is it supposedly any more difficult to measure success in Agile projects? The easy answer is this: style. Agile frameworks tend to set goals more iteratively and flexibly while also giving teams more autonomy and freedom from management oversight. This creates an environment of adaptability that, when utilized correctly, can produce working, value-producing results far more quickly. At the same time, teams responding to client feedback can amend targets over the course of a project to arrive at the most lucrative endpoint possible.
Unfortunately, this flexibility also has its drawbacks. The relative lack of managerial oversight within Agile teams can raise red flags on particularly crucial projects, especially within strategic change programs. Agile teams can also run the risk of losing sight of strategic goals when shifting short-term targets.
‘Agile Project Management (AgilePM)’ is a highly popular framework created by APMG International and the Agile Business Consortium. Combining the pillars of Agile with a solid governance system, AgilePM enables managers to enjoy the benefits of the approach with a more reassuring level of transparency and strategic direction.
With this in mind, how exactly do AgilePM practitioners measure success? What are the signs of successful utilization of the framework? Let’s take a look at some of the most important AgilePM metrics.
Agile is flexible and adaptive by nature. Within an Agile project, targets are altered to focus on delivering maximum benefits to clients, even as circumstances and priorities change.
A successful AgilePM project will deliver value as defined by clients, with frequent testing and feedback helping to update this definition on a regular basis. Because of this, the end results of a project can differ significantly from targets established early on.
However, this also brings us to a potential drawback of AgilePM, which is why a successful practitioner will prioritize…
Most companies don’t take on projects out of kindness alone. Ultimately, the rule for gauging the value of any project is how much it will contribute in terms of the organization’s own definition of value. This should be outlined in the ‘Agile Business Case’ and will remain a consistent factor throughout.
For a project to be successful, it must remain aligned with strategic priorities. This applies not only to targets but also expenditure and, of course, value generation. While elements like client feedback will still be important, they should not be pursued at the expense of a company’s own interests.
Simply ask yourself, “As an AgilePM practitioner, who am I creating value for?”
Goals and Productivity
Agile projects are made up of several short-term goals, each based on an assessment of requirements and client feedback. Because of this, an AgilePM practitioner can judge the success of a project based on how quickly and effectively goals are being met. While Agile teams cannot lose sight of a project’s ultimate goals, longevity ultimately depends on the success of short-term initiatives.
In AgilePM, prioritizing and completing key tasks will often involve the use of tools such as Timeboxing and MoSCoW Prioritization. If targets are not being met, a practitioner may want to investigate just how often teams are utilizing tools and best practices. Tangible improvements here can be an excellent sign of the successful implementation of AgilePM, which can raise stakeholder and user confidence for further usage.
Within Agile projects, it is important to have a clear understanding of the Business Case and how quality is defined. Clarification is also important on a team level, as colleagues must clarify roles and responsibilities to be able to take advantage of Agile autonomy without losing sight of workloads and team capabilities.
In a successful AgilePM project, managers will maintain a clear idea of what team members are working on, how targets relate to high-level goals, and how stakeholders are feeling. Information will flow freely and regularly, and there will be no confusion over what is expected.
When utilizing a framework like AgilePM, it is important to make sure users are fully on board. Agile has been around for a long time, and certain colleagues may have different ideas of how to apply it in practice. Others may prefer a traditional project management approach, with more input from managers and less ground-level agency in terms of choosing targets.
Ultimately, the success of AgilePM depends on users. AgilePM practitioners work to understand the capabilities and preferences of their teams, offering help where necessary and taking on feedback regarding the framework itself. In a successful AgilePM project, managers will be checking in with teams on a regular basis, and employee feedback will play a major part in gauging targets and customizing how AgilePM is implemented.
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