Agile project management is an iterative approach to
managing software development projects that focuses on continuous releases and
incorporating customer feedback with every iteration.
teams that embrace agile project management methodologies increase their
development speed, expand collaboration, and foster the ability to
better respond to market trends.
is everything you need to know to get started or refine your agile project
Stemming from Toyota’s lean manufacturing
concept of the 1940s, software development teams have embraced agile
methodologies to reduce waste and increase transparency, while quickly
addressing their customers’ ever-changing needs. A stark change from waterfall
project management that focuses on “big bang” launches, agile
helps software teams collaborate better and innovate faster than ever
agile project management can be categorized into two frameworks:
scrum and kanban. While scrum is focused on fixed-length project
iterations, kanban is focused on continuous releases. Upon completion, the team
immediately moves on to the next.
How scrum works
|Sprint Planning||Sprint Demo||Daily Standup||Retrospective|
A team planning meeting that
determines what to complete in the coming sprint.
A sharing meeting where the team
shows what they’ve shipped in that sprint.
Also known as a stand-up, a
15-minute mini-meeting for the software team to sync.
A review of what did and didn’t go
well with actions to make the next sprint better.
Scrum is a framework
for agile project management that uses fixed-length iterations of work,
called sprints. There are four ceremonies that
bring structure to each sprint.
It all starts with the backlog, or
body of work that needs to be done. In scrum, there are two backlogs: one is
the product backlog (owned by the product owner) which is a prioritized list of
features, and the other is the sprint backlog which is filled by taking issues
from the top of the product backlog until the capacity for the next sprint is
reached. Scrum teams have unique roles specific to their stake in the process.
Typically there’s a scrum master, or champion of the scrum method for the team;
the product owner, who’s the voice of the product; and the scrum team, who are
often cross-functional team members in charge of getting s@#$ done.
The four ceremonies of scrum
The scrum board
A scrum board is used
to visualize all the work in a given sprint. During the sprint planning
meeting, the team moves items from the product backlog into the sprint
backlog. Scrum boards can have multiple steps visible in the workflow, like To Do, In Progress,
and Done. Scrum boards
are the key component for increasing transparency in agile project management.
How kanban works
Kanban is a framework for agile
project management that matches the work to the team’s capacity. It’s
focused on getting things done as fast as possible, giving teams the ability to
react to change even faster than scrum.
Unlike scrum, kanban
has no backlogs (usually). Instead, work sits in the To Do column.
This enables kanban teams to focus on continuous releases, which can be done at
any time. All work is visible, scoped, and ready to execute on so that when
something is completed, the team immediately moves on to the next. The amount
of work is matched to the team’s capacity through WIP
limits, which is a predefined limit of work that can be in a single
column at one time (except the To Do column).
The kanban board
A kanban board is used to visualize all
the work that’s being done. It’s also used for planning resources allowing
project managers to see the work and develop timelines accordingly. A kanban
board is structured into columns and lanes that stories pass through on their
way to completion. Stories sit in the To Do column until the WIP
limit allows for the next task to be worked on. The list of work should be
split into relatively small issues and organized by priority. As you can see in
this example, lanes can help keep the higher priority items separated from
Estimate, report, and plan
Whatever agile framework you choose to
support your software development, you’ll need a way to see your team’s
progress so you can plan for future work or sprints. Agile project estimating helps both scrum and kanban teams
understand their capacity. Agile reports show the team’s progress over time.
And backlog grooming helps project managers keep the list of work current and
ready for the team to tackle.
Agile project estimating
Project estimating is an extremely
important aspect of both kanban and scrum project management. For kanban, many
teams set their WIP limit for each state based on
their previous experiences and team size. Scrum teams use project estimating to
identify how much work can be done in a particular sprint. Many agile
teams adopt unique estimating techniques like planning poker, ideal hours, or
story points to determine a numeric value for the task at hand. This gives
agile teams a point of reference to refer back to during sprint retrospectives,
to see how their team performed. Jira Software can be customized to
capture your teams’ unique project estimations.
Project estimations come into play at the
beginning and end of each sprint. They help teams determine what they can get
done at the beginning of the sprint, but also show how accurate those initial
estimates were at the end. Agile reports, such as
Burndown charts, show how many “story points” are
completed during the sprint. Jira Software offers dozens of out-of-the-box
reports with real-time, actionable insights into how your teams are
performing. Having data to support your retrospectives is an invaluable way for
agile teams to improve.
Backlog management and grooming
A product backlog is
a prioritized list of work for the development team to do that comes from
product roadmap and its requirements. The development team pulls work from
the product backlog for each sprint.
Grooming and maintaining your backlog
helps teams achieve their long-term goals by continually adding and removing
items based on the team’s long-term capacity and changing business objectives.
Jira Software lets teams groom huge backlogs with multi-select ranking and
order user stories and bugs by dragging and dropping issues. You can
also filter with Jira Software’s flexible search to find a particular user
story or bug.