Many product managers consider Agile project management the holy grail since 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was created.
The buzz is real. According to the VersionOne 2016 State of Agile Report 98% of participants claimed that Agile projects have helped their organization achieve success. Similar studies have shown that Agile approaches can increase productivity by 16% and speed up delivery times to market by 37%, according to other studies.
Agile is not so much a question of “Should it be tried?” (as the results speak for themselves), but rather “How can Agile work for us and our project team?”
During research for our Agile guide on software project management, we spoke to five successful Agile teams. We’ll be sharing some of their strategies to turn the Agile Manifesto into a reality, starting with a flexible and accurate project budget.
This video explains the benefits of Agile portfolio management.
Flexible processes result in accurate project budgets
A software development project is usually launched because one of two things happens: either the stakeholders have an innovative idea they want to implement or they have a problem they need a solution to. The decision of whether the stakeholder will approve or deny the project is largely based on whether it’s a good investment.
Furthermore, one in six IT projects has a cost overrun by 200% and a schedule that is almost 70%. This means stakeholders will want to see the budget for the project, both in terms of implementation time and cost.
Software is not an easy product. There’s always the possibility of change, which could lead to a significant increase in your budget. You might find a competitor while you’re developing the product. Perhaps the IT solution to the problem is too complex for your stakeholder team. This could lead to a redesign.
These risks can be offset by Agile teams.
Four strategies to establish a project budget that is accurate
These four strategies will help Agile teams be flexible, incorporate input from all stakeholders at each iteration, deliver a refined product within the budget, and provide guidance.
1. Ensure that all key elements are included in the scope of the shared project
To create a realistic budget for a project, your team must first understand the expectations and needs of your stakeholders. U.K. software development company IT Enterprise creates project mind maps for each project and shares it with their client during the consultation stage.
Thomas De Vos, founder of IT Enterprise, shares that “having client requirements displayed visually immediately demonstrates how complex the project is to both us and our client.” “Linking different sections allows the team visualize interactions between project areas while also defining the client’s user story and how they will achieve it.”
A budget planning guide for agile people
The team discovered that client requirements could sometimes slip through the cracks during the initial planning stage. This meant that certain features could have been missed in the initial project plan or budget, which led to difficult conversations and cost recalculations later.
Your project team can share a visual representation of the project scope with clients before any agreements are signed. This will ensure that your stakeholders are satisfied with what is included in your project scope (and budget).
Then, you can provide a realistic budget for the project and ensure that all key features are included in it.
2. Establish a proces