Agile project management is different to traditional project management, lean principles can be utilized to manage at the value stream level and reduce waste.
Agile teams are self organizing – team members have a clear set of responsibilities, and they have the control and power to fulfil them. Trust the team, and they will learn to self organize, it requires a shift in mindset.
Often in large organizations, much of the agile mindset is already happening at grass roots level. Agile adoption just makes it explicit.
It is important in agile project management to manage at the value stream level. This concept comes from lean software development and manufacturing principles. This is the job of the agile project manager.
In traditional waterfall project management, work was done in large batches: design, dev, test, rework – there is a lot of “inventory”. In contrast with agile, small pieces of work move more quickly through the system. In agile projects, the focus should be on project throughput. Reduce utilization – developers should work on only one project at a time, and focus on only one story to avoid the waste in switching tasks.
With more trust between customer and team, a lot of waste in the process is reduced through collaboration. With agile, requirements do not need to be bloated upfront since change is allowed – this lifts a load since corrections are easy and fast.
Reflections, or retrospectives, should be used in agile projects to analyze, adapt and improve processes and practices. The team should answer the questions: what’s going well, what can we improve, and what obstacles or issues are facing the team.
- Manage at the value stream level.
- Reduce utilization of developers – they should only work on one story at a time, one project at a time.
- Reduce waste through collaboration, and investigate other techniques.