Successful projects with agile teams
In today's fast-paced business world, the ability to adapt to change while delivering high-quality results is critical. In this context, agile methods have proven to be revolutionary for project work. Agile approaches enable organisations to respond more flexibly to changing requirements and market conditions, while maintaining high productivity and customer satisfaction. The key to success lies in the implementation of agile principles and methods by interdisciplinary teams.
Productive without hierarchies
Many companies use project managers for project work, and they are still widely employed in software development. However, it makes sense to move away from the traditional approach of a project manager working with a team on a project to an agile approach such as Scrum.
In contrast to traditionally organised projects, where the project manager is at the top, agile projects focus on self-organisation and transparency. The more self-organised the teams, the better the development results. The team is interdisciplinary and made up of different experts who have the knowledge needed for the project. The team also makes and communicates its own decisions.
In addition to the developers, there are the roles of the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. All the tasks necessary for the successful completion of a project can be carried out independently by a well-organised agile team, without the need for a project manager.
From traditional to agile
Many people find it difficult to switch from traditional methods to agile approaches. If you are used to hanging a project plan on the wall at the beginning of a project and then simply working through it, you need to rethink when using Scrum. A major disadvantage of traditional approaches is that it is difficult to incorporate changes in the environment or customer requirements. This is where agility, self-organisation and transparency can help. But how does the change from the traditional to the agile approach work?
Agility in practice
Agile working means staying flexible at all times. Say goodbye to the project plan that is drawn up at the beginning and worked through to the end. Instead, plan regular short iterations and keep setting new sub-goals so that changes can be incorporated regularly and flexibility is maintained. The goals are not set by one person, but by the whole team. Everyone is constantly involved in the changing definition of the goals. At the start of a project, it is advisable to hold a kick-off workshop with everyone involved before the first iteration. The focus is on clarifying the framework for everyone involved, e.g. what the product should be able to do and what level of maturity it should have. The workshop also gives team members the opportunity to question and understand the customer's requirements. It is also possible to define together what needs to be done to complete the project. Any change is part of the process and is not seen as a hindrance, but as motivation for a better product. Lessons-learned sessions, which take place after each iteration and look at the strengths and weaknesses of the previous weeks, are also helpful during the process, and it can be decided together how to proceed.
Self-organisation in the agile team
Self-organisation is at the heart of agile and productive working, as well as a continuous learning process that improves from iteration to iteration. During the various iterations, the project and its goals are constantly reflected upon and discussed within the team. The work to be done during the iterations is organised by the team itself by assigning tasks to individual team members. In order to achieve the goals, it is important that all team members are behind the goal. If problems arise that cannot be solved by the team itself, help can be accepted. But even if the team is self-organised, it cannot choose which team members it consists of.
The key to success
An agile approach aims to avoid assigning time-critical tasks to people who have different expertise. Therefore, agile teams are always made up of different experts. If an expertise is missing, a new team member can be added during an iteration. For this reason, agile projects have regular meetings at short intervals. In Scrum, these are the Daily Scrum Meetings, which are used to identify deficits immediately. It is also very important that the team does not withhold any information from each other, as this is necessary for the distribution and processing of tasks. The more everyone knows and the better informed everyone is about the current status, the greater the chances of success and the faster the team will move forward. Transparency is key to success.
But involving the client from start to finish is also an important success factor and is part of the transparency theme. It is important that the client knows what is happening and is kept informed.
Agile is not just a passing trend, it is a fundamental paradigm that is changing the way we approach projects from the ground up. The agile approach goes beyond traditional approaches and enables organisations to adapt to a rapidly changing world while efficiently achieving their goals. The success of agile projects is built on a strong foundation of agile principles: Flexibility, close collaboration, transparency with each other and with the customer.
However, it is important to recognize that adopting agile frameworks can also bring challenges. Moving away from traditional ways of working often requires a shift in mindset and an open attitude to change. The role of management and a willingness to adapt are critical to reaping the full benefits of agile.
Keywords: Project management, Agile