As it becomes increasing difficult for companies to compete globally, they look to project managers to help them get products or services to market both faster and in ways that better anticipate client needs. In turn, project managers seek the best methodologies to deliver on stakeholder expectations. The Agile methodology of project management offers numerous benefits over traditional waterfall, not just in the software industry, but also other product and service industries.
Project teams, sponsors and stakeholders alike ultimately want the same things: products and services delivered on time, within budget, and with the quality expected. Agile provides all involved participants with the following benefits to increase the chances for success.
1. Faster Turnaround Times
As a result of Agile’s condensed, focused, and iterative process, necessary changes can be made more expeditiously. This creates opportunities for teams to identify issues, make product or service changes, test those changes, and make additional adjustments much quicker than using waterfall.
2. Improved Product or Service Quality
Since teams are able to get quick feedback from stakeholders on deliverables and modifications, it allows them more time and opportunity to make the necessary changes. Through the iteration process, Agile aims to focus on product or service quality faster and better than waterfall.
3. Faster Error and Defect Isolation
The Agile process creates a way to detect defects or errors much earlier and more often by the simple repetitive practice of collaborate, design, develop and test. With waterfall methodology, defects and errors are more likely to be isolated closer to the latter stage of a project.
4. Increased Levels of Collaboration
As focused teams engage in this highly repetitive process, their level of involvement and accountability increases and works to create a better functioning, more cohesive group capable of increased collaborative efforts and productivity. The end result is improved deliverables.
5. Improved Project and Team Agility
Continued practice of the Agile methodology enables teams and team leaders to then become much more flexible and agile themselves. They are able to make faster and better decisions, deliver higher quality deliverables, and pivot with greater ease as things change.
6. Increased Visibility and Confidence
Agile provides a way to increase stakeholder and team visibility. Expectations can be voiced and managed much earlier in the process. Teams are able to respond and address issues and concerns as they occur instead of after the fact. This creates a greater sense of visibility and involvement where it matters most, increasing confidence in all parties involved.
7. More Control
The highly iterative nature of Agile provides the ability to better monitor and control timing, quality, cost, and resources, among other things. This increased control significantly reduces risks and offers a greater chance for teams to deliver on project requirements.
8. Process Improvements and Efficiency
Multiple iterations grant teams with practical application opportunities to improve the way they work, how they collaborate, and how quickly they can respond to change. This in turn improves the entire Agile process and creates additional efficiencies at various levels.
9. Better Use of Resources
Once process improvements have been successfully realized, it also allows for more efficient and effective use of all resources. This leads to additional improvements and efficiencies and becomes a loop of continuous improvement ingrained in project teams and culture.
10. Reduced Risk
Risks are always better detected and addressed sooner rather than later, and Agile offers a way to do this. It ultimately decrease risks in terms of project outcomes, deliverables, and missed objectives. Risk mitigation is a significant factor in the success or failure of projects.