7 reasons why remote teams need agile project management tools

Project leaders are may struggle to manage their distributed teams remotely. Here are just a few ways that agile team management helps remote teams.

Agile project management is a more practical approach to project management. As opposed to waterfall, agile project management seeks to review the feasibility of an ongoing project at regular intervals known as sprints. This iterative practice aims at making sure that the project is applicable in real life and that it correlates with the client’s needs.

According to the Association for Project Management (APM), agile philosophy concentrates on empowered people and their interactions and early and constant delivery of value into an enterprise.

Jim Highsmith said, "In an agile project the team takes care of the tasks and the project leader takes care of the team.”

Agile project management focuses on delivering maximum value against business priorities in the time and budget allowed, especially when the drive to deliver is greater than the risk. You can learn more by watching this short video.

Many project management firms, project managers and clients prefer to use agile methodology as it is known for its effectiveness. Going further, this iterative system is also known to be preferred when the project management team is remote CollabNet VersionOne's State of Agile Report, found that "about 97% of software companies are practicing Agile software development methods." In this article, we have gathered seven of the most prolific reasons why agile is better suited for remote project management. Fasten your seatbelts as we go further on the ride.

What are the Core Values of Agile Project Management

The core of the Agile methodology was developed by 17 people in 2001 in written form. Their Agile Manifesto of Software Development put forth a groundbreaking mindset on delivering value and collaborating with customers. The agile software development emphasizes on four core values.

  1. Individual and team interactions over processes and tools

  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation

  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Why Agile Project Management is Suitable for Remote Teams

1. Effective Planning

Like every other aspect of agile methodology, project planning is iterative. This means that sprints are planned after one another. Tasks are outlined for the next sprint after the previous one.

Agile helps in project planning by using the number of tasks in previous sprints to estimate workload that a team can carry in future sprints. Subsequently, the total time it will take for a project to be completed can be estimated. “A team can perform X number of tasks over a sprint of Y days.” With this information, the project manager can easily estimate the duration of the project.

Also, agile fosters effective planning by enabling proper scheduling of tasks. By analyzing how team members performed tasks in previous sprints, project managers can assign tasks that suit their strengths and abilities.

Generally, the large work of project management being broken down into sprints makes for easier planning for remote and physically distant teams.

2. Teamwork and Collaboration

Agile methodology works likes a relay race. Every runner does a short 100 or 200 metre sprint and passes the baton to the next runner. The fastest and most coordinated team ends up winning the race.

teamwork

Project team members in agile have been known to develop better collaboration. This, firstly, is due to the regular communication that creates camaraderie between them. Remote work systems could create an atmosphere of estrangement. This is because it is more difficult for people who do not know each other (and might never have seen each other) to work together. But, with agile, team members have to relay information about both progress and obstacles. In the long run, they become familiarity and a shared sense of identity that affects the project positively.

Agile requires for specific tasks to be shared between team members. Of course, waterfall project management also requires this. However, in agile, tasks are shared sprint after sprint. In many cases, the performance of one task depends on the performance of another. Therefore, team work between members is important for the production of a great project.

3. Regular Meetings and Reports

Due to the nature of agile methodology, meetings and reports are held regularly in order to review progress and decipher the way forward. These meetings are known as scrum meetings. The intervals in which scrum meetings are held depend on the project the team is working on. Daily scrum meetings are used more by remote teams as they help to keep a better track on progress.

Scrum meetings are held not only to track progress but to measure important data and metrics. At scrum meetings, budget, deadlines, and timelines can be communicated in order to carry everyone along. Specific data displaying the activities of the different project management professionals and how they contribute to the entire process is usually shared and analyzed at scrum meetings.

Another purpose of regular meetings is communication with the product or business owner. In most cases, the only way the clients get information is through updates; they are not usually part of the team. By attending scrum meetings, the product owner is kept abreast of recent developments in the project. More so, this applies more to remote situations where the product owner cannot interact physically with team.

Going further, accountability and transparency are great benefits of scrum meeting. Team members relay how they have used the resources allocated, and the results of their use. This is even more important in remote settings, because there is hardly any other way to keep tabs on resources.

The problem of not meeting deadlines is huge in the remote work sector. The main reason for this is that workers are not usually being reminded of their work and its importance by their immediate environment. Therefore, they tend to relax and work more slowly. When remote team members have to report regularly, they would be less inclined to be lackadaisical. Video conferencing facilities such as Skype and Zoom could prove very useful in situations like this.

4. Flexibility

Agile project management is built around flexibility. Usually, what is envisioned at the beginning of a project is not what is found when the project is completed. This is because in agile, changes are made very regularly. As sprints and scrum meetings come and go, problems are detected and solutions are proffered.

flexibility

Today’s market is extremely fast paced. Agile flexibility enables a producer to make changes to his developing product if the market evolves. If void of characteristics that are needed in the market, a product in any aspect of the economy would not attract demand. This is most popular in the tech industry where changes are being noticed on a very regular basis. Software engineers in the process of creating an application understand their software might need change while still in the works. So, they opt for agile project management.

Mistakes are inevitable, especially among remote project management team members. Agile methodology provides a mechanism for correction of mistakes. For instance, a project manager mistakenly passes wrong information to the rest of the team due to poor communication. Scrum meetings would prevent this mistake from going unnoticed until the end of the project. Also, when the error is finally detected, a framework is provided for rectification.

Changes can be made at any given time in agile. This is because of the regular reviews and project checks. Remote team members do not have to wait until the end of the project to see if changes will be effected.

5. Risk Management

Agile methodology possesses a great device for risk management, especially for remote teams. This device works using four important steps; Risk Identification, Risk Assessment, Risk Responses, and Risk Review.

Risk identification happens when the risk is found out. One way through which agile instigates this is the enforcement of regular project checks and meetings. Project risks can be identified by any team member. Nevertheless, they are usually found out by the project manager. In many scenarios, the client/business owner also discovers risk. In addition, scrum meetings require project team members to look inwards and ask themselves question that would enable risk identification.

flexibility

Risk Assessment is measured by checking the probability of risk materialization and the damage it is likely to cause. Most risk managers use calculations and risk management software to access risk.

Risk Response is basically the solution to a risk. It involves the use of different methods to tackle the effects of a risk on an ongoing project.

The final step, Risk Review involves the application of Risk assessment and Risk Response recurrently. It is employed in order to prevent the reappearance of risk.

Early detection of risks helps in risk management and prevention of loss. Agile project management does well to make sure that risk identification happens early in order to initiate the other steps in the risk management process. Even without access to many physical factors in project development, remote team members are enabled to envisage risks. This is made possible by the agile methodology frameworks.

6. Milestones

Milestones are used to track progress; it is the amount of time it takes to complete a portion if work. In agile project management, we could simply refer to milestones as sprints or iterations. Measuring progress using milestones encompasses a great deal of what agile methodology is about. The information found from regular sprints enables the team to move forward and plan for future sprints.

flexibility

Discipline is an important feature in project management. In a team where the activities of one member could very well influence the outcome of the whole team, discipline is very much needed, more so, among remote team members. The planning of sprint timelines and deadlines subtly enforces discipline in project management teams. Having the mindset that there is a milestone to be accomplished, team members tend to lag less.

With agile methodology, achieving milestones is easier for remote teams. No matter how far apart team members are, they cooperate with each other and meet targets at the appointed time.

7. Specialization

Specialization is a very important part of project management. Over the course of a sprint, there are several tasks to be carried out. Achieving set goals depends heavily on assigning team members tasks that suit their expertise and skill set.

At the core of agile methodology is the production of quality resulting from a thriving collaboration between team members. This is made possible by specialization. When members of a team work on tasks that match their idiosyncrasies, quality output is almost always found.

specialization

Also, the specialization encouraged by agile methodology brings about speed. Achieving milestones would most definitely be faster when team members are allowed to work on specific projects.

Going hand in hand with specialization, is division of labour. Tasks in agile methodology are also divided evenly. The bulk of achieving a milestone should not fall upon the project manager alone. Risk managers, project owners should contribute as much to the process.

Specialization is even more expedient and applicable to remote teams. It is important to allocate special tasks when managing remote teams as there is less motivation to achieve milestones.

Conclusion

Agile Project Management is important for a number of reasons. Although we have explored only seven, there are many other advantages. Also, there are other situations that agile methodology is useful for, not just remote project management teams.

Away from project management in general, agile is also used in software development. In fact, the concept originated from software development. The agile manifesto was created by professionals in the tech field. In a recent tweet, International Scrum Assembly announced that 99% of communication service providers use Agile. In a nutshell, agile technique can be used in other fields.

The benefits of agile project management to remote teams have become so widely accepted that they are undisputed. At 500apps, we help in providing project management software that would help to completely navigate the benefits of agile methodology. This twitter user has a lot to say about the efficiency of our software. Like him, many other users have positive reviews. To learn more, visit our website, https://projects.ly/ today.

Get started with 500apps today