Agile

What is agile? Agile is an iterative approach to deliver a product (often software) incrementally instead of trying to deliver it all at once. It breaks projects into manageable bits of user functionality called user stories, prioritizes them, and then deliver them in short cycles called sprints (or iteration, usually running 1-4 weeks). The list of the outstanding user stories to be developed is called a backlog. Agile is different from the regular lengthy waterfall approach projects that try to get all the requirements upfront and complete the project at once.


Agile values the following concepts:

  • Customer collaboration over negotiations
  • Individuals and interactions over tools and processes
  • Functioning software over detailed documentation
  • Responding to change over adhering to a plan

Agile principles include:

  • Develop small, incremental releases and iterate
  • The team empowered to make decisions
  • Active user involvement and collaborative approach between stakeholders
  • Requirements evolve while the time is fixed
  • Apply the 80/20 rule and capture requirements at a high level (use visuals)
  • Focus on frequent delivery of products and complete each feature before moving to the next
  • Testing is done throughout the project – test often and early

Agile Approach

Agile Diagram

Critical Path

Critical Path – The below diagram depicts the critical path for a given project. Critical path analysis is a widely-used project management tool for scheduling projects and allows to see which actions impact the overall schedule.

In project management, a critical path is the sequence of project activities which show the longest overall duration of the project and thus the shortest time possible to finish it. Critical path activities have 0 slack (or float), i.e. one cannot be late on any of these activities without delaying the whole project.

A simple example of the critical path: imagine you need to take your car to a mechanic and the repair takes 2 hours. In those 2 hours, you need to walk to the nearby store and purchase some gifts, which should take you no more than an hour. Afterwards you are going to a party and you don’t want to be late to. Mechanic’s work is on the critical path, i.e. if it takes more than 2 hours, you are going to be late to the party. Gift shopping is not on the critical path, even though it is still required. There is slack of about 1 hour because you are waiting for the mechanic.

The example below also shows a critical path with black arrows and non-critical path with light blue arrows. Duration of each activity and individual paths is also shown on the diagram.

Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder Management Analysis (or a Stakeholder Map) is a framework for identifying stakeholders and understanding their needs. This is key to change management, project management and day-to-day activities of the business.

The stakeholder management includes identification the stakeholders, stakeholder analysis, stakeholder engagement, stakeholder information flow, abiding by agreements, stakeholder debriefing. Stakeholder mapping is the process of mapping stakeholders in terms of their power (influence) and interest. Another related framework is The Pig a metaphor that shows that everyone sees the pig differently, the butcher, the piglet, the farmer, the environmentalist and the store owner, etc.

stakeholder management

Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart – Gantt Diagram – Gantt Analysis – Gantt charts (also sometimes spelled as a gant chart) is a project management method of displaying multiple project activities in a single view. This includes the duration of activities, dependencies and milestones against calendar timelines.

Gantt charts are useful project management tools because they conveniently display project tasks against one another. Below, we include a sample gantt chart.

gantt chart

Project Priority Matrix

Project Priority Matrix – Project Priority Matrix Analysis – Project Priority Matrix Framework – Business are often facing a number of competing projects. Prioritizing between projects becomes essential in order to maximize benefits for a company.

A project priority matrix is a great management tool to selecting those engagements that carry the highest benefits to an organization. The matrix divides all projects by the ease of implementation and their impact. Highest impact and the easiest to implement projects should be completed first. The projects are divided between quick wins, must haves, low hanging fruit and money pits. See the priority matrix below.

project priority matrix

Project Management

Project Management – Project Management Analysis – Project Management Stages – Project Management Framework – Project Management Business Methodology – Project Management model is one of the top business frameworks used for managing and leading projects and other kind of engagements. The model brings some structure to the project phases and makes it more organized.

The project stages include initiation, planning and design, executing or implementation, monitoring and controlling, closing. There may be other stages depending on the nature of the work. Work planning varies depending on the resources assigned, project timelines, etc. Below sample images are examples of Project Management stages.

project management

Project Cycle

Project Cycle – Project Cycle Analysis – Lean Project Cycle – Project Stages – Project Cycle Framework – Project Cycle Business Methodology – Project Cycle model developed as part of Lean methodology and is one of the top business frameworks to structure a lean six sigma project.

Project stages are as follows: Request, Scoping, Planning, Training, Redesign, Implementation, Review and Feedback. Below sample images are examples of Project Cycle used for lean project management.

project cycle