How to transition to an agile project manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

More and more companies are making the move to Agile project management. With an estimated 52% of companies using Agile for around half of their projects, and with a success rate of around 64%, it isn’t hard to see why.  The Agile approach uses short development cycles, called sprints, which offer a focus on improvement that is continual. Becoming an Agile project manager has some benefits, but there are also a fair few challenges along the way. If you are looking to transition to Agile, then here are some tips from Parallel Project Training to get you started.

Learn to delegate more

One of the main aspects you will find with Agile is that every team member is responsible for the project being a success. This is now a decentralised responsibility and something that isn’t always easy to get used to. Some control points will remain however, there is more of a shared feeling with Agile project management.

Support everyone

It is the role of the project manager to support all of the team members throughout the project, ensuring that everyone is focused on their responsibilities and role.

Create an environment that is right

APM, PMP and PRINCE2 training courses will all tell you one thing, and that is that you must foster a collaborative environment. This is one that creates a mindset that accepts small failures and uses them as a learning tool for the future.

Encourage an environment of open communication

In order for any project to be successful, there needs to be good and open communication. It is an essential ingredient in the Agile method. It is important to have a communication plan in place and ensure that there are guidelines for your team, so they are aware of all the methods available and that they use them to keep other team members fully updated on progress throughout the project.

Practice dependency management

Dependency management is another critical element of agile project management. This will help to lower project slippages. There are several ways in which you can do this, from dependency boards to periodic meetings.

Handle risks as soon as possible

Both Agile and more traditional forms of risk management techniques require the project manager to monitor the project risks. The difference with Agile is that risks are addressed as soon as they are noticed. The nature of Agile allows for the tackling of risks head-on.

Utilise a pragmatic approach to documentation

Adopting a pragmatic approach to documentation is important for all project managers. It is important to make sure that the right amount of useful documentation is created and that this can evolve incrementally during the life of the project.

Take a training course

One of the best ways to fully understand the Agile methodology is to take a training course. This will give you a greater depth of understanding on how you can implement the different ideas into your projects and help to switch you to the right mindset.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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