Agile project management has garnered a substantial presence in the world of business over the last few decades. Originally evolving from the Agile software development methodology, Agile best practices are now being actively applied across multiple industries and sectors, with most successful project managers being familiar with their benefits, if not the approach itself.
While Agile as a concept is not set in stone, its widespread use has led to the creation of several Agile frameworks, the most popular of which is Agile Project Management (AgilePM). This methodology offers the rapid delivery, flexibility, and adaptability of Agile along with the controlled environment of the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM).
AgilePM establishes the value of a project from the get-go, assessing the needs of clients and end-users to justify expenditure while also establishing the metrics by which success will be measured. These factors will then be assessed as the project continues, with incremental targets emerging as managers and team members continue to grasp the latest requirements for optimized success. The roles and responsibilities of team members are also established early on, with managers delegating a level of autonomy that greatly increases efficiency while still maintaining a level of visibility that allows them to track progress, keep stakeholders informed, and, when necessary, hold individual team members to account.
The AgilePM methodology has proven to be demonstrably effective and has long been growing in popularity. Even after 20 years, APMG International continues to update the framework to reflect the newest project management practices, requirements, and expectations, while also prioritizing an agnostic approach that makes AgilePM widely applicable.
That being said, AgilePM is hardly the only option out there, even as far as Agile frameworks are concerned. So, what is it exactly that makes AgilePM stand out? What are the benefits for potential AgilePM practitioners and their organizations?
There are some of the biggest reasons to invest in AgilePM training!
The benefits of earning an AgilePM qualification
As a skill, project management is undoubtedly in high demand. It is extremely relevant for companies across the world, both in terms of reaching short term goals and pursuing major long term strategies.
Studying an effective project management framework, particularly one as popular as AgilePM, can be an excellent way for a learner to get a leg up in their project management career. It can allow them to adopt best practices quickly, rather than relying solely on experience or trial and error. Earning a qualification will also demonstrate their understanding of the framework, while real-world experience will demonstrate their effectiveness in applying it, making them highly desirable for higher-tier management positions.
It is also worth pointing out that AgilePM is quite friendly to beginners, even those who have little experience in project management. It is often employed across teams, departments, and entire organizations, with practitioners being found at various levels of seniority. As such, not only can it help to get new project team members up to speed, but it can also be highly useful for experienced managers.
In short, gaining an AgilePM Foundation or Practitioner qualification can truly help a user stand out. Whether or not they already have management experience in which to frame their training, becoming strongly familiar with AgilePM can be a great way for a learner to take the next step in their career.
Efficiency is one of the main hallmarks of AgilePM. It encourages a collaborative culture, with team members all being well aware of each others’ roles, responsibilities, and goals. At the same time, the methodology also emphasizes the need for autonomy. Without needless management oversight, employees can achieve greater speed at both team and individual levels.
AgilePM also focuses on visibility. Project metrics are established early on, and the framework’s iterative approach requires team members to provide regular updates on their progress. This makes it far easier to detect issues, or even hold individual team members accountable for setbacks, though one of the biggest advantages by far is the simplicity with which AgilePM teams can update stakeholders on their progress. As any project manager will tell you, keeping stakeholders satisfied is an absolutely crucial element of success.
Producing high-quality end results and optimizing ROIs is obviously a major priority in any project. The question is simply whether or not a particular framework’s approach works.
AgilePM is demonstrably effective across multiple project types, sectors, and industries. To achieve quality, it employs continuous testing throughout the lifecycle of a project. This allows teams to keep reassessing not only the quality of their work, but also the project environment and even the needs of end-users. Testing is also automated as much as possible, increasing both its efficiency and reliability. Finally, teams will liaise regularly with clients and end-users, maintaining a consistent focus on whether the project can meet their needs.
Another important aspect of how quality is achieved by AgilePM is its focus on how end products will ultimately be implemented. It takes practical considerations into account throughout a project, with teams maintaining a greater level of focus on usability and support for end-users.
As a whole, it may be more accurate to say that AgilePM focuses on value, rather than quality. The end results may differ from those established earlier on in a project, but by following the AgilePM method, teams will ensure that the results are ideal for clients and customers.
The framework’s focus on iterative targets extenuates this, not only because short-term targets will reflect the project’s requirements more accurately than an inflexible predetermined goal, but also because stakeholders and end-users can benefit from results as they appear, rather than having to wait for the end product.
Before getting started with any project work, it is important to set your ROIs. This will not only firmly establish the benefits of the project, but also how to quantify them. After all, measuring success is crucial, both for satisfying stakeholders and taking lessons for future work.
For AgilePM, an essential element of this is the ‘Project Approach Questionnaire (PAQ)’, a series of questions given to project participants and stakeholders. This is employed early on to help gauge the project based on ‘Instrumental Success Factors (ISF)’ and feasibility.
AgilePM also treats predictability as an ongoing process. Timelines and budgets will be revisited again and again throughout a project. Project performance will also be predicted for individual short term targets based on new data, providing teams with a greater degree of accuracy than can be achieved purely with long-term speculation.
All of this makes it easier to predict the success of a project. Crucially, as data is made continually available to managers and stakeholders, they are also able to accurately decide whether or not a project’s costs are outweighing the benefits and cancel it if necessary.
The idea of amending a project to reflect changing environments or evolving client requirements may seem like common sense, but making changes to a stringent long term plan can be both expensive and time-consuming if handled incorrectly. In other words, optimizing success requires a certain level of adaptability.
AgilePM offers a great degree of adaptability and agility to practitioners. As we discussed earlier, AgilePM practices for automated testing and establishing iterative goals make it simple to respond to an impetus for change, whether it is a new customer requirement, a change to the market environment, or anything else. In essence, AgilePM makes managers far more capable of adapting to new information.
While the focus on ROIs is not lost, AgilePM teams can always adopt the best way of pursuing value, even if this means deviating from the initial plan or altering the ROIs themselves. At the same time, AgilePM also provides a number of best practices for adapting a project without unnecessary expenditure or delays, allowing teams to further optimize results.
A project without a goal is pointless! You must establish what you seek to achieve, the benefits of doing so, and why stakeholders should feel justified in supporting you long before work begins. This is hardly a unique trait of Agile, though the way in which AgilePM practitioners establish and pursue continuous benefits certainly stands out.
This is primarily because, when utilizing AgilePM, the benefits of a project are not restricted to fully completing it. That is to say, targets are conceived and met incrementally, allowing users to enjoy short term benefits. This could mean releasing a marketable service which will then be updated based on user feedback, gradually introducing structural changes to a company, and so on.
A common gripe that businesses have with incorporating new management frameworks is the difficulty of having to restructure established practices. This is true whether or not a business uses any framework whatsoever: upending established processes will still be painful if handled incorrectly.
One of the biggest advantages offered by AgilePM is that it is relatively simple to adopt. Courses are extremely friendly to newcomers, and online trainers like Good e-Learning provide practical insight into implementation based on the requirements of individual students and companies.
At the same time, AgilePM is also easy to integrate with other project management approaches, such as PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile. AgilePM can even be treated as an excellent starting point for employees experiencing Agile project management for the first time.