Agile companies are ambitious. Agile teams seek to reach new heights by employing an iterative approach.
While agile project management is an extremely popular project management framework, it’s not wholly understood. More importantly, misusing the methodology can spell disasters for teams. Agile organizations have to be careful especially when hiring promising project managers to lead a new team.
Here are 5 project management mistakes agile organizations should avoid at all costs:
1. Communicating irregularly
In order to be a nimble organization, you must have an excellent communication strategy. Without continual, concise, and clear communication agile projects inevitably fall apart.
Why is communication so important? Moreover, why do agile startups need to keep contact structured? Change is constant for agile startups. Welcoming change is a strategy that helps manage complexity.
Basically, the problem is known, but the solution is slowly uncovered throughout the course of the project lifecycle. For this reason, constant communication between team members is vital. Everyone has to be on the same page, and things are liable to change from week to week.
2. Failing to track change
Change is integral to iterative processes like agile project management. While it’s of the utmost importance to welcome change, acceptance of change isn’t enough to make your project a success. The team must adapt and, to adapt effectively, change has to be cataloged, tracked, and reviewed.
It’s necessary to track change so that your team can effectively analyze progress and prevent scope creep. Project management software products like Trello and Jira help you judge your team’s pace with useful tools like burndown charts. Your project managers should be utilizing comprehensive digital project management products to track changes and keep the team on schedule and organized.
3. Sticking to a plan over welcoming change
Most project managers have a natural disinclination to embrace change. The predominant predilection is to prevent change and keep to a plan. However, this is fundamentally opposed to the agile philosophy.
While there’s a feeling of safety afforded to those who choose to lay out comprehensive documentation and follow that documentation rigidly, it could be dangerous for agile organizations. Agile teams are focused on dealing with complexity, refining features through versioning. Therefore, resisting change is counterproductive for the team and for the organization as a whole.
4. Hiring inexperienced project managers
No matter how great your processes are, nothing can compensate for bad leadership. While you may be tempted to hire project managers with little experience to save on costs, you’ll end up spending more in the long run.
Project managers are the captain of the ship; they will steer your project to either success or failure. It is crucial to employ experienced project managers that understand how to best lead a unique set of individuals with patience, enthusiasm, and intelligence.
5. Overburdening project managers
We depend on project managers for a lot. Agile project managers are expected to be mentors, facilitators, and mediators. Project managers are not draconian overlords or authoritarian autocrats. Agile project managers are teachers, guiding the project with gentle yet firm leadership.
Agile project managers have exceptionally rigorous job descriptions. For that reason, it’s all too easy to overburden them. As a product owner, client, or executive, you may be tempted to set expectations sky high. Remember that effort is an easily exhaustible resource, and you will do well to reign in expectations.
Instead of sticking to a plan, writing up extensive documentation and doling out tasks in a predefined way, agile organizations jump right into development with a spirit of cooperation, innovation, and inspiration.
Nothing worth doing is easy, however, and the same can be said for agile projects. Agile project management comes with its own set of pitfalls. Agile organizations must watch out for and carefully avoid the 5 common project management mistakes listed above.
Communicating regularly, welcoming and tracking change, hiring experienced project managers and setting appropriate expectations upon the project manager can help you steer clear of disaster.
About the Author: Megan Harris is a business writer focused on productivity and new media. When not writing, she's working on her first novel. You may connect with her on Twitter.