What is Agile Project Management?
Agile project management is an adaptive method of product development. It takes into account the iterative and incremental approaches of developing and delivering products to the customer. The focus of agile project management is on value creation and customer centricity. The other important aspects of agile project management are: its responsive nature to the changing requirements, its progressive outlook toward software planning, and leadership shift from command & control to servant leadership.
The scope of some of the projects is well-defined and certain. The traditional or waterfall model of managing the projects is used in such scenarios. The scope of some of the projects is uncertain, ambiguous, volatile and complex. The very nature of agile project management makes it complimentary to execute such uncertain projects. Project Management is a vast subject and involves many new concepts, processes, and tools. This PMP Certification Training Program involves comprehensive class activities based on real-life scenarios to help you understand the concepts well so that you can answer the PMP exam questions well as well as use these in your job.
5 Phases In Agile project management
This phase can be considered equivalent to the initiating process group in traditional project management. It helps create vision for the project. The vision focuses on the customers and the stakeholders involved in the project. It covers the why, what, how, and who of the project. It defines the product vision, scope, constraints, delivery methodology, and the stakeholders.
This phase can be considered equivalent to the planning process group in traditional project management. This phase expands the envision phase and encourages brainstorming, critical thinking, creative thinking, and collaboration to plan the execution of the project. It translates the product vision into product roadmap, to release level planning and iteration level planning. It determines the workload, product features, estimation, risks, and delivery.
This phase can be considered equivalent to the executing process group in traditional project management. It focuses on following the release/iteration plan (as prepared in the previous phase 2 called Speculate) and delivering project features; more specifically delivering potentially shippable products.
This phase can be considered equivalent to the monitoring & controlling process group in traditional project management. This phase focuses on inspection, supervising, modifications, changes, and corrections in the project lifecycle. The phases Speculate, Explore and Adapt are regularly revisited in order to improve the product delivery and project execution in each and every iteration. This means reviewing actual results versus planned results. This phase covers the improvements needed which are integrated into the next iteration.
This phase can be considered equivalent to the Closure Process Group in traditional project management. Per the definition of a project given in PMBOK, it has a definite start and a definite end. The expectations of the customers are set at the onset of the project about the endpoint of the project. Not doing so would result in the perception issues among the customers which would result in unnecessary fall-outs. Doing it right, would help celebrate the success of the project. However, before the team ends the project, ensure to analyze all the key findings, knowledge gathered, and lessons learned and pass these along to the next team so that they can benefit.
Agile Mindset & Manifesto:
The agile project management methodologies like Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, were already existing before the agile movement was formalized in 2001 with the publication of the agile manifesto for agile software development.
The original seventeen authors signed a manifesto which contained 4 values and 12 principles. The manifesto stated that:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
- The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months
- Stakeholders and developers must collaborate on a daily basis
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- Face-to-face meetings are deemed the most efficient and effective format for project success
- A final working product is the ultimate measure of progress
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility
- Simplicity, maximizing the work not done, is an essential element
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly
As per agile practice guide of PMI, agile is a mindset defined by values, guided by principles, and manifested through many different practices.
Characteristics of Agile Life Cycle for product development
The creation of agile manifesto started to simply product development in software industry. However, the characteristics of agile methodologies have made its impact on almost all the industries. The agile way of managing projects is not restricted to software industry only. It is critical to understand that the following characteristics are intrinsic to all kinds of projects, whether they follow predictive or agile (adaptive) life cycles. The focus here is on the attributes specific to the project characteristics managed in agile manner. These characteristics and their attributes are mentioned below.
- Requirements: The projects which are managed in an agile manner have an intrinsic characteristic of dynamism. The requirements and eventually the scope change occur often and to incorporate such kind of changes, agile and adaptive methodologies are adopted.
- Activities: One of the other most important characteristics of agile project management that the activities are repeated until near perfect solution is achieved. This can be referred to as iterative approach of creating product.
- Delivery: The delivery of products/features in agile methodology is done frequently with incremental deliveries. This delivery is potentially shippable product. This is related to incremental way of delivering product.
- Goal: The goal of agile project management is to deliver value to the customers via frequent delivery by incorporating early feedback.
In general, agile life cycle uses the project characteristics of both iterative and incremental life cycles, i.e., the project team iterate to create the product incrementally. This ensures that the team gets the visibility of the project and gain early feedback from the customer.
There are three major roles defined in the agile way of managing projects.
- Cross Functional Team members: The cross functional teams are also called as the development teams and are the most critical. Agile teams comprise dedicated team members. Cross functional teams consist of team members with all the skills necessary to produce a working product. The cross functional development teams consist of professionals who deliver potentially releasable product in time-boxed frame. They deliver finished work in the shortest possible time, with higher quality, without external dependencies. The teams are mostly collocated or the team members have the ability to manage any challenges based on location. The teams consist of generalists and specialists and usually work in a stable environment. Agile teams are self-organizing and they themselves decide how to best accomplish their work for each sprint.
- Scrum Master: This role can also be associated with the role of servant leader. This can also be called a project manager, team lead, team coach, team facilitator, or process facilitator. The basic and foremost responsibility of this role is to remove impediments, blockers and barriers during the project execution. This ensures that the sprint stays on track by monitoring progress and facilitating meetings. The servant leaders become teams’ advocate and help them communicate with the stakeholders. All agile teams need servant leadership on the team. People need time to build their servant leadership skills of facilitation, coaching, and impediment removal.
- Product owner: The product owner represents the voice of customers or users. She helps define the product roadmap, backlog, release plans and goals of each iteration. She ranks the work based on the business value of the features and product. She acts like a lighthouse for guiding the direction of the product. She works with the teams daily by providing feedback and direction of future releases. Sometimes, she requests help from people with deep domain expertise, such as architects, or deep customer expertise, such as product managers. Product owners need to be trained on how to organize and manage the flow of work through the team.
Common Agile Ceremonies
The ceremonies in agile project management methodologies are events. Some of these events are planning-based and some of them are feedback-based events. The ceremonies are:
- Backlog Preparation: An ordered list of work in agile methodology is called as the backlog. This backlog is presented in story form so that the teams can understand it. The backlog preparation takes the form of progressive elaboration and in this agile way of managing project, there is no need to create all of the stories for the entire project before the work starts—only enough to understand the first release. Product owners might produce a product roadmap to show the anticipated sequence of deliverables over time. The product owner replans the roadmap based on what the team produces. The backlog preparation is one of the layers of the Agile Planning Onion; it is the third layer in the onion. In this, the strategy forms the topmost layer, followed by portfolio, product, release, iteration and daily.
- Backlog Refinement: The product owner works with the team to prepare some stories for upcoming iteration in the middle of the iteration. The reason for such meetings is to refine enough stories so the team understands these stories and compare them with other stories in the backlog. These meetings help the team understand the potential challenges or problems in the story. The teams can use spike to understand the risk. There is no consensus on how long the refinement should be.
- Daily Stand-ups: The ultimate goal of daily stand-up meetings is to ensure that all the members of the team are on the same understanding of the project and its progress. The members use this meeting to commit to each other, share problems, and ensure a smooth workflow. This meeting is timeboxed for no longer than 15 minutes. During this meeting, everyone answers the following questions:
- What did I complete since the last stand-up?
- What am I planning to complete between now and the next stand-up?
- What are my impediments (or risks or problems)?
It is the responsibility of the process owner to not let the daily stand-up meetings become status meetings. Besides this, let this meeting not become a problem solving event.
- Demonstrations/Reviews: This ceremony helps periodically demonstrate the working product to the customer. This event helps the team gain early feedback on the features (in the form of user stories) of the product. Since the product owner represents the voice of customers or uses, it is her responsibility to check the demonstration and either accept or reject the user stories. As a general guideline, demonstrations happen at least once every 2 weeks. Demonstrations help the teams to set in the right direction if they are progressing in the wrong direction. This becomes a basic component of agile projects (incremental delivery based on iteration/flow). The ceremony of demonstration/review refers to the principle # 7 of Agile Manifesto.
- Retrospectives: Principle # 12 of Agile Manifesto is: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.” Post demonstration/review ceremony, the iteration asks for a meeting which would help team understand the improvement areas, correction areas, and the behaviours, actions and work to keep for the next iterations. In general, the team looks back to learn, contemplate, improve and adapt to the best practices. Teams need to learn about the product and/or process. The meeting is all about looking at the qualitative (people’s feelings) data and quantitative (measurements) data to uncover the root causes, developing contingencies, mitigation strategies, and action plans.
The management of projects in agile manner reflects non-traditional ways of executing projects. It embodies the 4 values and 12 principles as laid down in the agile manifesto. The 5 ceremonies compliment the effective and efficient ways of delivering values to the stakeholders which in turn takes the holistic approach of 5 phases of agile project management.
About The Author
Techcanvass is an Information Technology certifications training Organization for professionals. It offers internationally recognized certifications in the fields of Project Management and Business Analysis. It is a premier Authorized training partner (ATP) of Project Management Institute (PMI), USA and a premier Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) of International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Canada. Founded by IT professionals, Techcanvass is committed to making learning a more structured, practical and goal-oriented exercise. We also provide consulting services in the fields of Project management and Business Analysis.
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10 top reasons to use the best electronic door lock
Why not let the door-locking industry that safeguards all the hard-earned valuables at homes and offices get digitized when most industries already do it? Electronic door locks are the answer to the above question to leverage the advancing technology to benefit in many ways. From residential to commercial properties the need for sophisticated keys with the help of the latest technology is increasing worldwide.
So, in this article, let us check out the increasing importance of electronic locks and the many reasons to use them for protecting properties like homes, offices, hotels, and so forth.
The increasing importance of electronic door lock
Until a few decades ago, locks were in geometric shapes to fix on doors to open them with keys made accordingly. And to open the locks there were only one or two keys which was difficult for homes with many members and offices for many were allowed to open it. Also, there were chances of many losing their keys and waiting for locksmiths to open them or break them to have a new lock and key. The advancing technology and others helped the thieves to make duplicate keys to enter the property illegally and steal valuable things.
Hence, the need for electronic locks increased as the living standards, and the number of businesses rose worldwide. For example, the increasing number of hotels and rooms require electronic locks to give guests a good experience. So, the importance of electronic door locks has been rising in recent years and will increase more in the future.
Ten reasons to use the best electronic door lock
Like all locks, electronic locks also use a latch to run across the door and its frame to prevent unauthorized access. But technology has changed the way it gets controlled and the way to open it radically. Though cars used this new form of electronic door lock to prevent thieves from stealing them easily, it is now used in many homes, offices, hotels, hospitals, industries, and others for increased security and easy use. The following are a few reasons to use the electronic lock.
- Helps many sectors like the medical industry to keep track of the logistics and medicine supply to avoid any wrong usage that could be crucial to cause even death
- Supports business that wants to keep documents and another valuable information safe in lockers with many security tiers for additional protection to not let them land in the wrong hands
- Limits access only to authorized persons to open the electronic lock and, with frequent changes of codes, can regularize the use to avoid any unauthorized entry
- No more worries of losing keys or keeping them under flower vases and other places for the family members to use to make the property and its hard-earned valuables vulnerable to theft
- With a battery operating system, it is easy to open the electronic lock even without a power supply with no need to wait for it
- A wide array of electronic locks in many forms to fit many doors from UPVC, wood, aluminum, glass and others to make it all safe.
- From biometrics to opening with fingerprints, RFID cards, codes with numbers or passwords, and other ways to open the electronic lock door enhance their security.
- Easy to make the locks smart to fix alarm system to alert of any theft, to operate from a smartphone and many more benefits
- Automatic locks enable employees not to ensure the locking of doors while entering offices or secure rooms.
- Increases the appearance of the doors and hence the property to improve its value and establish the attitude
Award-winning Dorset from 1995 makes millions of electronic door locks from its 200 000 sq ft facility in Gurugram to supply throughout India and many countries.
Know all about floor spring door, how it works, how it differs from door locks and reasons to use them
Gone are the days of using door closers that open only on one side and have a protruding look. In this modern world where not only offices, malls, hospitals, and others have glass doors, homes also have it and need the best floor spring. It gives an aesthetic look to the place and avoids scratching the door on the floor. With more glass and heavy doors used in residential and commercial buildings, the need for floor spring door is rising. But buying the best floor spring is essential as it has rough use for opening and heavy closing doors.
Let us discuss floor spring doors, their differences from door closers, the many floor spring, and the noteworthy reasons to buy them from reputed companies.
What are floor spring doors, and how does it differ from door closers?
Every house, office, industry or other property have doors worldwide and need door control products to become essential accessories in all peoples’ life. Door closers and floor springs are the most common door control products to open and close to the original position in time and accurately. But there are differences between door closers and floor spring door. The noteworthy of them is door closer opens the door in one direction, whereas the floor springs open the door in two directions. In contrast, the door closer is a hydraulic spring-like device on top of the door head to close by release and compression. Many public places and homes use door closers, but a hydraulic door closer floor spring is ideal for glass doors with weights up to 150kg in malls, hospitals, offices, and others.
What are the door floor spring types?
Depending on the application, residential and commercial door floor spring help the door open only to an essential extent and close the door slowly. Hence it avoids any shutting slam of the doors to cause untoward incidents in commercial buildings like hospitals, hotels, and others. Also, depending upon the degrees of opening and closing, there are three types of door floor springs.
- 90-degree stop floor spring door has a unique locking mechanism to lock the door only to 90 degrees and is best for properties like schools with high traffic volume
- 105 degrees stop floor spring door that opens up to 105 degrees for those wanting to open the doors over 90 degrees and is ideal for both commercial and residential buildings
- Non-stop floor spring door does not stop opening or closing until reaching their minimum or maximum extension, and used in places where slow and controlled door movement is essential, like in hospitals.
Five reasons to use floor spring doors
Floor spring are hydraulic doors closed with a turbine to compress the spring, unlike the rack to rotate forward and backwards to open and close in both directions. As a mechanical door-closing device, it finds use in glass doors with patch fitting to be ideal for malls, business parks, hospitals, etc. The following are the reasons to buy the floor spring door.
- Helps to open and close heavy doors even in places with high wind to avoid injury to people and damage to doors
- Ideal for rough use of even 150 kg doors with seamless opening and closing without scratching the floors
- Avoids slamming the doors as the mechanical device closes in a controlled manner with the faultless mechanism
- Offers an aesthetic look with no intrusions like overhead door closers or door holders and being embedded in the ground to see only the chrome steel or other finishes
- Easy to install in any structure and flooring type, and with many models available, they are best for single and double doors.
Dorset, for over 25 years with over 12000 touch points across India offers many more reasons to use floor spring door, like, ceiling to ground, with high quality at affordable costs.
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