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20+ Expert Tips for Agile Project Management

Agile is the most desirable of project management methodologies.

Confident. Ambitious. Impressive.

With the agile approach, teams start projects from a 30,000-foot view that ultimately leads to opportunities for responding quickly to change, collecting customer feedback throughout development, and prioritizing collaboration over processes. 🤩

Whether you’re seasoned or brand new to agile, the most common dilemmas are shared between both groups. There’s a lot that goes into understanding Agile project management: what it is, how it’s structured, and the benefits. 

Perhaps the biggest question is: how can agile work for your team? 🤔

We’ve gathered a handful of the best tips from professionals with agile experience to help answer this question. 

Let’s start by unpacking the meaning of Agile project management. 

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What is Agile project management? 

In essence, Agile project management is an iterative and flexible process that breaks a large project lifecycle into short achievable phases.

The agile method focuses on:

  • Customer collaboration
  • Self-organization
  • Adaptability in changing environments
  • Team and stakeholder transparency
  • Continuous improvement throughout a project lifecycle

These days, you can use modern project management software to manage and automate all of your agile processes. That way, you can execute Agile tasks at lightning speed!

Bonus: Check out this guide on agile epics!

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When you should (and shouldn’t) use Agile project management

In today’s growing digital environment, organizations across all industries can benefit from Agile project management.

When approached correctly, agile working gives teams creative freedom and transparency to share ideas and improvements throughout the project’s development.

Done wrong:

that doesn't make sense gif

Done right:

purple cobras gif

However, it’s important to know which projects are appropriate for agile. After all, using the agile method defeats the purpose if it overcomplicates and confuses the project process. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Project characteristics suitable for agile:

  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Appetite for transformation
  • Customer feedback is integral during the development phases
  • The dedicated team has some practical experience with Agile

Project characteristics not suitable for agile:

  • Fixed requirements and deadlines
  • Cannot be reasonably allocated in short time frames
  • Customer requirements are satisfied the first time with no future improvement needed

With this in mind, it’s time to hear from other professionals and their experiences with agile project management. 🎙

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Tips for Agile project management

It’s important for a product manager to explain the business value that’s needed to satisfy the customer and meet company objectives.

When I can, I share Lean canvas work, customer survey and interview results, so the development team can also get the real flavor of what customers are saying.

On the company objectives side, I explain how solving this customer problem will help us increase revenue, customer loyalty, or market share, again based on the market and competitive data I have available.

Colleen O’RourkeThe 280 Group
Principal Consultant & Trainer of Product Management
Certifications: Agile Certified Product Manager

The best advice I can give to someone working on agile project management is to focus on outcomes rather than the rules.

With Agile it’s really easy to spend a lot of time and energy debating what is and isn’t Agile and to lose track of the goals you’ve set for using agile which is improved outcomes.

When bringing in the process it’s best to make sure that you embrace the spirit, values, and philosophies of Agile while avoiding focusing on rigid processes.

Ryan ViceVice Software, LLC
Co-founder and CEO

Do your best to get everybody on board and believing in the agile workflow.

In order for it to be most effective, team members and leadership have to understand why they’re working in an agile environment, and really believe in the benefits it has.

Only then will they embrace it and you’ll be able to fully reap those benefits that agile offers. If your people don’t have the mindset, you’re never going to get the most out of your agile workflow.

Derek HarringtonEntrision
Founder, Lead Engineer

Organization is key for successful agile project management. Everyone needs to know all the steps to complete each sprint’s tasks.

And so everyone needs easy access to the company’s Standard Operating Procedures so they can complete their work efficiently and reliably.

As one of your team’s SOPs, you should create a communication process so that everyone knows where to chat about issues or risks the team is facing – are you doing this in Slack or a productivity tool like ClickUp?

The more organized the team is, the easier it will be for the team to complete their work each sprint.

Meagan BeltekogluNew Leaf Digital
Certified Director of Operations

Get buy-in from product management and the executive team for incremental delivery and the need to support a tight feedback loop. Driving a culture of continuous improvement and also allowing a team to ‘stop the production line’ to focus on bottlenecks has allowed us to reduce unplanned work, which ultimately allows for better estimates and higher quality deliverables.

Alex RadkaSentient Digital, Inc. Engineering Manager

Don’t micromanage. While daily scrums provide a good opportunity to get quick updates and stay abreast of the project’s progress, don’t give into the urge to turn them into interrogation sessions.

Ravi ParikhRoverPass Campground Management Software

Keep in mind the value you want to deliver. This is a focal point that unites all team members.

Agile is a great way to deliver complicated products where customers’ feedback is a crucial part.

We have a lot of loyal customers that are happy to provide feedback in the early stages.

Lilia Gorbachik
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Product Manager

Effective Product Manager

Team collaboration is key. A good working relationship between the product owner, scrum master, and product manager ensures successful agile project management.

In this trio, each member has a very crucial role to play for a successful implementation of agile methodologies within the organization.

The scrum master ties the teams together and plays an essential part to enforce the agile scrum practices within the team.

Ruchi BahadurTempo
Director, Product in R&D

Team leaders and members should completely trust each other.

Agile teams are cross-functional and self-organizing, where members are often working on different components of the same usable deliverable.

Without trust, an Agile team will not be able to manage their own work as a cohesive unit, transparency will be lost, and the Agile processes will be difficult to maintain.

Callum CarlileAutomation Consultants
Agile ConsultantCertifications: BEng, PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner, Professional Scrum Master

Always expect change.

Not only is this a part of one of the agile four core values, “Responding to Change Over Following a Plan”, but it also should be your guiding mantra while traversing a project with a lot of risk or unknowns.

Don’t plan all of your work upfront – plan and respond throughout the entire project until it is done.

William Chin-FookTELUS Digital
Senior Product Manager

Don’t invent your custom agile processes. Follow the agile manifesto, carefully implement all necessary ceremonies and give it time to roll out.

If you feel that Agile methodology doesn’t help solve your problems, you need to research a bit more.

For example, some branching techniques like the Scaled Agile Framework help scale and adopt Agile for more giant corporations.

Anton YarkovAccess Softek Inc
Senior Software Engineer, Chief of Staff

Start doing the Agile method for a pilot project and, later on, let the same individuals become agile ambassadors within the organization to spread the method.

Agile requires daily and constant communication between all stakeholders – the development team, business owners, and users – so starting with a pilot project with committed members that honor key interfaces prove that Agile can be cascaded to an entire company.

David BittonDoorLoop
CMO & Co-founder

Through stand-ups, constant feedback loops, sprint reviews and retrospectives, agile methodologies help break down silos.

Agile emphasizes helping others and clearing roadblocks, not just within one team but across all development teams.

Ívar Haukur SævarssonTempo
Technical architect, R&D

Practice makes perfect. The process will be painful at first.

My number one tip is not to quit, at least not before 4 to 6 sprints or scrum periods.

The whole nature of Agile is to improve every time, finding the best ways of working through feedback ceremonies and collaborative works.

If you stop too soon, you won’t reap the real benefits.

Marcos Ortiz
Project Manager
Certifications: Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)

You want goal-oriented people so that you can be confident that every action and decision they make is directed toward the achievement of a specific goal.

Furthermore, you want team members who are adaptable, as new technologies emerge all the time, and your team should not be afraid to embrace these changes.

This will ensure that your team reduces redundancies and eliminates errors that are common when using outdated methodologies.

Andriy Bogdanov
KeyUA Limited

Online Divorce

Only schedule meetings if you can make every minute count. Overstuffed and non-critical meetings are the enemy of successful Agile implementation.

They kill employee motivation, interfere with sprints, and often distract participants with non-essential tasks and discussions.

My rule of thumb is that if I can’t make every minute of a meeting critical, I don’t hold a meeting.

New Agile PMs often want to prove themselves, and they hold a lot of meetings as a demonstration that they are on-task.

I would recommend the opposite: show you’re on-task by only holding meetings when something needs to be addressed in order for the pace of work to continue.

Daivat DholakiaMojio
Director of Product

Accurate and adequate planning will bring far-reaching consequences: it impacts the speed and quality of features you are going to present to your customers.

Sometimes, it will pay off more to step aside from the original plan and show flexibility to change tasks or their priority, or both.

The key objective is to deliver an outstanding experience to customers.

Vitaliy Vashchuk
Help Desk Migration
Product Manager

While deciding on the best agile workflow (e.g., Scrum, Kanban), don’t forget to also set up a communication workflow with other teams, e.g., customer success and sales.

Get a Scrum master to help you and your team set up a workflow. It’s going to save your time and allow your team to focus on what’s really important—tackling essential issues.

Simon EdwardssonV7
Co-Founder & CTO

Consider pairing Agile and Lean Growth. When we use agile methodologies, it’s important to remember that agility alone isn’t enough.

It teaches you how to build quickly and safely, but it doesn’t tell you what to build or why you should build it.

This is where Lean enters the picture. It’s all about finding out the best collection of features to get the best return on investment with Lean.

Thilo HuellmannLevity
Chief Technology Officer

Make sure that you have the right piece of software to help you track your projects. Agile has helped us immensely.

In all honesty, we probably wouldn’t be functional without it at this stage. It helps to manage expectations of project completion across the board.

Being able to reassess our position at the end of sprints is also extremely helpful, because it means we can often find more efficient ways of doing things and can better prioritize where to channel our efforts.

Ronen YeminiEyedo
Founder & Product Manager

A big thanks to all our participants for sharing their time and tips with us! 👏🏼

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The Big Picture

The Agile project management methodology has a network of communicative people, guiding principles, and a mindset for continuous improvement. 

It’s desirable because it demonstrates how consistent transformation creates added value for customers. 

If you’re longing to leverage agile project management for your organization’s goals, ClickUp is a great Agile tool to get you there. 

Sign up for a free account today to start optimizing your way of working. We can’t wait to hear your tips in the near future! 🚀

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