Project Planning, Monitoring & Reporting: 3 Key Factors for Agile Development Success

Project Planning
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Agile Development is a hypernym used for a number of incremental software and iterative development methodologies. Some of them include Scrum, Lean Development, Crystal, Extreme Programming (XP) and more. Each of the agile methodologies is unique and carries a specific approach. Though they share the common values and the core vision. Primarily all of them are engaged in rigorous planning, testing, integration and several other forms of necessary evolutions for both the software as well as projects. As compared to the traditional waterfall models, agile models are lightweight and genetically adaptable. They all focus on empowering the teams to plan, collaborate and decide effectively and within set timed constraints.

 Agile Development

Also Read: Leadership in Agile Project Management

Events associated with Agile Project Management

Almost every project has stages. Agile Projects includes 7 events and stages that are associated with product development. These events are described in the following list.

Planning a Project: It is the initial planning of your project and includes developing a product vision statement and a product roadmap. As little time as one day is required to perform the project planning.

Planning a Release: In this stage, a planning is done to release next set of product features and identify the anticipated product launch date. You plan one release at a time for agile projects.

Sprint: Sprints are short development cycles in which the team develops a potentially shippable product functionality. It usually lasts between one to four weeks. However, in some cases, it can last as little as one day, but should definitely not go beyond four weeks.

Planning a Sprint: A planning meeting is held at the start of each sprint where the team commits to a sprint goal. All the team members work in conjunction to identify various requirements that support the sprint goal as well as the individual tasks.

Daily Scrum: A 10-15 minute daily meet in a sprint, where the entire development team shares the tasks they have completed a day before and what they plan to do today. They also discuss roadblocks, if any.

Reviewing a Sprint: A review meet at the end of each sprint is escalated by the product owner. In this meet, the dev team exhibits the product functionality that was completed during the sprint cycle.

Retrospective: Last or final meet that takes place after the end of the each sprint. Here the scrum team retrospects and discuss the things that went well, what changes can be made and how to make those changes.

Also Read: 6 Ways to Boost Your Career Using Project Management Tools

Planning Monitoring and Reporting: The Three Kings

Project planning, execution, monitoring, controlling and reporting are the prime components of the project management life-cycle. Proper execution of these processes will lead to successful completion of the project. You can choose from a wide variety of free project management tools to make to timely execute all the Project Management Processes with ease. In this article, I’ll be focussing on project planning, monitoring, and reporting.

Agile Development

A Project Plan can be rightly termed as the lifeline of the entire project cycle. It sets out the phases, activities and the tasks that are required to execute the project successfully. Agile Project Plan also includes the delivery timeframes, resources, and milestones. During this phase, plans are created in the form of several project baselines for cost, scope, risks, quality, and schedule. All these project planning steps are the vital components to monitor the entire project progress. Effective project planning also offers the criteria for forming the decisions required for the change management process to keep the project on track. Many believe that Agile team does not require project planning. The truth is Agile project management requires a tremendous amount of project planning. However, the planning is completely different than that of the traditional or waterfall models. In Agile Development, planning is organized into iterations throughout the project life cycles. This facilitates the teams to start sooner and provide the opportunity to integrate the feedback from the stakeholders. It is often said that whenever a team or a business needs planning in Agile, it is done just-in-time.

If your Agile Development is missing on planning then your projects are destined to run over schedule and over budget. What’s heartbreaking, the project (if delivered) will not be able to match the exact needs and specifications of the clients, thereby resulting in project failure.

Monitoring and Controlling the projects aim at supporting the project management process. Project monitoring involves systematic and regular data collection which is used for further analysis and for strategic decision-making. Monitoring primarily focuses on project’s input, activities, and the outputs. It is believed that the pertinent planning is the prime ingredient to foster accountability in accordance with the performance and the outcomes of any project. Agile Monitoring tracks what software has been cumulatively delivered. The premier purpose of the project monitoring and control is to offer the project’s process understanding and simultaneously communicating that status. With accurate project analytics and monitoring, you can easily identify when your project’s performance deviates from a plan and when you require the corrective measures and preventive actions to ensure that things are right on track. It is performed throughout the project. Project Monitoring is a crucial aspect and no project manager can deny its role in ensuring a successful project delivery.

Real time Project Reporting is critical for the project management success. As a project manager, you have to take control of the narrative, which determines how the project will be comprehended from both progress and success point of view. Project Reporting must go beyond the regular templates and steps to share the actionable information in context and within set timed constraints. Project manager issues timely progress reports against the schedule, scope and budget. Team members, sponsors, budget holders and senior users reading this report must be well aware of the progress so that they could understand when their help might be required to keep the project right on the track. Besides, by sharing the updates with people they keep the entire project team intact, involved and committed.

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About Ankur Kumar 1 Article
Ankur Kumar is a content marketing expert and an experienced blogger. He likes to ideate and write on various topics including technology, digital marketing, startups and environment. An avid outdoorsman, explorer and nature lover who believes in minimalist lifestyle. You can find Ankur on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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