The Principles of Agile Project Management Explained for Business School Students

February 18, 2020

4 core values of agile project management

Group of people with an MBA in project management

Almost twenty years ago, a group of seventeen software developers wrote and released the Agile Manifesto based on their experiences and their vision of a more productive and collaborative approach to project management. Since then, businesses and organizations of all kinds have adopted this concept with great success.

Indeed, when Mission Bell Winery implemented agile strategies, it experienced a huge increase in productivity. This company, which ships 12 million cases of wine annually, saw a more than tenfold increase in efficiency over a period of ninety days. The results of agile management went far beyond their goals and expectations. Keep reading to learn more about agile project management.

The Core Four Values of Agile Project Management

Although the concept of agile project management may be more familiar to those doing an MBA in Project Management, the Harvard Business Review refers to the overall strategy as a “radical alternative to command and control style management.”

This is perhaps because of its core values. In the manifesto, these values are stated as the following:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Responding to change over following a plan

What this means for tech and non-tech business alike is that agile managers consider flexibility and collaboration to be valuable drivers of productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Mission Bell Winery began its agile transition with collaboration by soliciting feedback from workers. With that information, they created pilot projects, which lead to a 90 percent increase in annual finished goods inventory.

A team of masters in business admin is working on a project
Plans are important, but agile managers prioritize flexibility over rigidity.

Agile Practices Adapted for Professional MBA Program Students

Agile management is sometimes called iterative project management because of the way a project is broken down into iterations, or phases, in order to permit the team to adjust, improve, and consult. This allows for quick resolutions to problems and ultimately saves time that a team may otherwise spend backtracking to adjust or respond to a client request.

The main components of agile practices promote communication and efficiency. In addition to keeping a backlog of tasks that all team members and stakeholders can view and track, agile management calls for daily 5 to 10-minute meetings to check progress. The work is planned out in sprints, which are blocks of time (often 1 to 2 weeks), providing clear milestones and deadlines for tasks. Finally, a team will evaluate the successes and shortcomings of a project when it is complete to prepare for the next project.

pic of a professional MBA program student
Agile management provides a framework to see the bigger picture and all of its components

Agile Goals and Principles

For those considering a Masters in Business Admin, it will be clear that the values and practices of agile project management are adaptable to your management style and project needs if you follow the guiding principles. Saab successfully adapted agile management to produce new fighter jets, while National Public Radio (NPR) in the USA employed agile principles to lower costs and increase programming.

The common goals and principles of agile project management are to create quality working conditions for collaboration and efficiency to improve the quality of products and processes, adjusting to changes efficiently, and make more accurate timelines for project completion. These are worthy pursuits in any sector of business, especially when companies who employ agile strategies demonstrate results over and over again.

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