What is Agile Project Management? The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
agile-project-management

Project managers and organizations have work they have to manage for improved productivity and efficiency. Successfully managing multiple projects requires you to use a project management methodology. 

There are several project management methodologies available for project managers and teams to choose from. When you carry out your research to find the best project management methodology for your project needs, one word that will appear regularly is “agile.” 

The agile methodology is quickly becoming the most popular project management methodology used in the modern workplace. Is agile truly the best project management methodology for you? Do the mouthwatering benefits of using the agile methodology apply to your industry or business?

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about agile project management including its core values and principles, how it works, and its benefits.

Let’s get started.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management is an iterative approach of handling software development projects while focusing on team collaboration and customers' feedback throughout the iteration cycles

The procedure is repetitive and implemented from the beginning to the completion of the software development project. At the end of each sprint cycle is where you make the necessary changes and adjustments needed.

Two of the key benefits of using agile project management are flexibility and increased productivity throughout the phases of the project. Project development teams make use of agile project methodologies to work faster, improve their workflows, stay focused, and adapt to changes. 

Key benefits of using agile project management
Source: Apptio

Other benefits of using the agile methodology include quick response, collaboration, easy communication, simplicity, control, time-saving, goal achievement, and customer satisfaction.

The agile method adds value to every phase of the project management life cycle, reduces the risk of outdated features, and ensures customer satisfaction. Agile project management is applicable in other sectors asides from software development such as finance, marketing, construction, landscaping, and others

The agile method used
Source: Capterra

The five major methodologies of agile are: 

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Crystal
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Lean and Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Core Values of Agile Project Management

Agile project management originally focused on the development of software. The Agile Manifesto which contains the four core values of agile project management was created by software developers. These core values apply to your project needs irrespective of your industry. 

The Agile Manifesto Infographic
Source: ClickHowTo

1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools

The first core value of agile project management is to place individuals and interactions above processes and tools. This is due to the flexibility, creativity, and evolution of individuals compared to tools and processes. 

Agile places focus on people, their ability to create new ideas and find solutions to problems. While using agile, every person involved in the project is allowed to contribute, communicate and develop innovation. The use of processes and tools only can slow down progress and make it difficult to adapt to changes.

2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Documentation can be a huge hindrance to your project’s progress. According to the Agile Manifesto, product or project teams should select working software over comprehensive documentation. 

Working software is about giving the developers what they need to get the job done without overburdening them. 

This core value does not dismiss the importance of documentation, but rather focuses on creating documentation that provides value without hindering the team’s progress.

3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

Customer collaboration is the cooperation of developers and users to achieve a certain goal. This agile core value focuses on gaining the customers' trust rather than negotiating contracts. 

Contracts are important but delivering quality products is only achievable through spending time with your customers. Communicating with customers allows them to detect and tackle little problems on time.

4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

Agile supports continuous changes throughout the project’s life cycle. While designing a product, there is an estimated cost, designed pattern, and plan to follow. 

Although while following the designated plan, unpredictable occurrences can occur such as scope creep. Agile gives room for adjustments to the project and prepares the developer for possible outcomes. Team members must learn to adapt in time to satisfy customers and deliver the best results.

Principles of Agile Project Management

According to the Agile Manifesto, there are 12 principles of agile project management. Agile methodologies can be unique and diverse but these principles are what guide your product development and decisions.

1. Customers Satisfaction through Quick and Continuous Delivery of Software

The first principle is customer satisfaction and it is the most important priority. This principle of agile keeps customers happy by delivering quality products early, constant iteration, and getting feedback from customers. 

Using agile helps your customers gauge their expectations, make decisions and stay satisfied with the value of products developed and delivered to them. Customers' satisfaction leads to long-term patronage.

2. Get Used to Changes

During software development, required changes need to be made no matter what stage it comes up. No accurate predictions can be made from the beginning to the end of a product, therefore, teams must be ready to make changes. 

Either from the request of the customers or inevitable changes during production, agile makes it profitable, cheaper, and easier to make changes. With agile, you can easily make corrections and avoid mistakes that could lead to setbacks after production. 

Agile supports discovering changes, considering customers' needs, and adjusting plans. It is better to address changing requirements as development takes place instead of ignoring them.

3. Frequent Delivery

Another agile principle is delivering products frequently from a couple of weeks to a couple of months with a preference for a shorter timescale. The agile principle states that delivering products on time to your customers or the market results in successful outcomes and quick feedback. 

This principle impacts the first principle which states that satisfying customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software is the highest priority. Delivering products to customers on time provides solutions and more suggestions on adjustments or decisions to make.

4. Break the Silos of Your Project

The management and development team need to work together to cover more grounds and be productive. Good teamwork encourages contributions from members, the creation of good and standard products, proper organization, and solutions to problems and customers' complaints. 

Agile supports cross-functional teams. Team leaders manage cross-collaboration by encouraging good communication, appointing duties, constant encouragement, and rewards, organizing meetings to discuss and develop new ideas, goals setting, extra training, and setting boundaries.

5. Stable Working Environment

The design of the agile working environment should include the necessary tools and equipment needed by employees to function productively. Multiple workstations should be provided to allow individual space and flexibility. 

A stable working environment in agile can easily adapt and accommodate changes in demands. Workers should be able to move freely, barriers are not necessary. Good lighting, tech, and furniture are also required.

6. Face-to-face Communication

Face-to-face communication is essential while discussing or exchanging information. This procedure helps the team to communicate easily. Explain complex issues this way for better results instead of relying on texts or emails. 

Communicating face-to-face is an effective and efficient method of passing information and finding solutions to problems. With this communication method, you can easily define goals, ask questions and get answers with broad discussions and detailing, receive feedback, and proffer solutions and improvements. 

Face-to-face discussions could be physical, through video conferencing or phone calls. However, the best form of face-to-face communication is to implement in-person communication.

7. Working Software is the Primary Measure of Progress

The 7th principle of agile project management states that no matter how much time you put into your project, the number of problems fixed, and the number of tasks your team accomplished, if the project deliverable does not meet the expectations of your customer, the project is a failure.

Frequently delivering working software to end-users helps you easily detect bugs, fix bugs, and make improvements. Run unit testing and integration on products before they are sent for full-scale production. 

Working software safeguards progress and shows stakeholders that you are on track. It measures the success of the product and makes changes according to feedback.

8. Sustainable Working Pace

Agile promotes sustainable development and the development team should always maintain a sustainable pace. The whole team should work at a pace that would make the outcome of the product predictable and stay focused to achieve consistent results. However, take caution to avoid overdrive or setting unachievable goals. 

While planning the workplace, leave out time for recess or a break. Project managers are to watch and consider the state of mind and health of their team members.

9. Great Designs and Attention to Details

Agile focuses on delivering products of high quality on time. Pay attention to every detail involving the project to make the development process better and flexible. It adds to adaptability and productivity. Paying attention results in doing things right and well without over-performing or underperforming. 

Great designs help in preventing errors thereby delivering good value. You will find it easier to communicate and show the functioning and features of a product with good designs. 

Other benefits of technical excellence and good design are good time management, improvement, high-quality products, and predictability.

10. Simplicity

The principle of simplicity maximizes work not done. This principle is the understanding, development, and improvement of a project according to the requirements made by the customers. 

Using simple methods that are easy to understand, maintain, and change during development is necessary because it saves time, reduces costs and risks. Avoid making the mistake of neglecting procedures due to oversimplifying. 

Reviews and end of sprints should not appear complex to product owners or end-users so they can easily make decisions in the future.

11. Promote Self Organization Within a Team

The development team takes responsibility for the project and tracks its daily progress with or without monitoring. Team members work hand-in-hand to manage their workload by dedication, enhancing their skills, and communicating. 

They openly ask questions for comprehension and complete understanding of the task at hand. Self-organization is important to complete pending tasks, find solutions and achieve goals.

12. Reflection and Adjustment

From time to time, the team reflects on ways to improve and makes adjustments accordingly. The need to always make improvements brings about a successful business. This principle is a form of evaluation to make amends, make changes and be accountable.

Key Components of Agile Project Management

1. Agile Sprints

Agile sprint is a short period during which the development team accomplishes specific tasks. Break down these tasks into different sprints to make them easier and faster to complete. 

The agile methodology group tasks into sprints ranging from a week to four weeks. At the beginning of a project, hold a meeting to determine the number and length of sprints.

Agile Sprints Infographic
Source: StartInfinity

2. User Stories

The user story is a short and informal explanation of a feature or functionality written by and from the perspective of the user. User stories are in the form of a summary and not detailed. They are the smallest unit of work and a building block in agile. 

In scrum, add the user stories during the sprints. Working on user stories will result in accurate sprint planning and forecasting. For Kanban, include user stories in backlogs, thereby managing workflow and Work in Progress (WIP).

3. Backlog

A backlog is a list of tasks the development team needs to improve the project. Backlogs help to discuss the prioritization of work to be done by the team. 

The project manager manages the backlog. Move stories in the backlog into the sprint for completion during the iteration. Another importance of the backlog is assigning tasks. 

There are three types of backlogs:

  • Sprint backlog consists of user stories to be completed within a period.
  • Product backlog shows features that are yet to be prioritized for release.
  • Release backlog shows features that need to be implemented for release.

4. Stand Up Meetings

This is a short meeting held to discuss details of important tasks. Stand up meetings are daily meetings that involve every member of the development team. There is a fixed time and these meetings must be brief without exceeding 15 minutes. 

Generally, it is advisable to hold stand up meetings on foot to speed up the meeting. The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss the current progress of the project.

5. Agile Board

An agile board is the visual representation of tasks to be completed by the team. The purpose of an agile board is to plan, visualize and track progress made. It could be a physical board or in the form of software. Place the agile board at a visible point for all the team members. 

This agile board can serve as task reminders and a progress tracker. Different columns such as ‘Done', ‘In-progress', and more are used to highlight categories. Also, the agile board can be in the form of software.

6. Team Roles

Members of the development team get assigned different roles. 

  • The team lead is responsible for managing the team, finding solutions, and securing resources.
  • Team members are the developers, programmers, copywriters, designers, and more responsible for creating and developing a project or product.
  • The product owner represents the stakeholder. The individual is responsible for the team, the backlog, and giving out information.
  • Key project stakeholders fund the project and are responsible for providing the necessary resources for the completion of the project. It might be an individual or a group of people.

Agile Team Roles

Agile team roles may vary from one agile methodology to another in order to adhere to the project management framework. Specific team roles may also vary based on the type and the needs of the project.

1. Product Owner

The product owner serves as the representative of the stakeholders. He or she is responsible for creating and maintaining the product backlog. The product owner takes the lead, directs, and prioritizes the needs in the development of the project. 

Product owners are the key master overseeing the development stages of the product. They organize meetings with the team members to discuss processes and improvements, organize the needs of the clients, inspect, and evaluate the products.

2. Scrum Master

The scrum master is the leader of the agile development team. This individual is in charge of meetings, reviews, and other project meetings. He or she supports the team members, educates the members, enforces discipline, and resolves issues. 

Another duty of the scrum master is to gather information to assist the product owner with the product backlog. An agile scrum master must have skills such as communication, organization, problem-solving, and adaptability skills. He or she must have knowledge of business analysis, software development, and management.

3. Development Team Members

Development team members are those who create the product or those involved in the project. Team members could be developers, programmers, designers, data engineers, copywriters, and more that contribute throughout the development process. 

The development team makes quick decisions, creates new ideas, self-organizes, and finds solutions on short notice. They participate in important meetings such as daily scrum meetings, sprint reviews for progress, discussions on shortcomings, proffering solutions, and more. The development team must be cross-sectional and capable of making corrections.

4. Key Project Stakeholders

The stakeholder is responsible for financing and supporting the whole project. This role is purely informational.

Key project stakeholders can either be an individual, executives, end-users, an organization, or a group of people all depending on the project type. Involve or communicate with the stakeholders throughout the development process. 

During the sprint, the stakeholders work together with the product owner to bring feedback, deliver goals, and make necessary improvements.

Key Project Stakeholders Roles
Source: Ambysoft

5. Other Agile Team Roles

There are extra team roles that large scrum teams may need.

  • The integrator works independently on integrating the subsystems of a project.
  • The architect owner who makes decisions and architectural planning.
  • Technical experts and an audit team.

6 Key Steps in the Agile Methodology

The agile methodology involves using shorter development cycles and frequent product releases to enable your project team to react timely and efficiently to your client’s needs. Although there are different agile frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban, they all follow the same key process.

1. Project Kickoff

The project kickoff is the first meeting held to discuss the development plan of the project. This meeting is between the development team, the stakeholders, and everyone involved in the project. Project kickoff involves making introductions and establishing connections between all members. 

One important reason for holding a project kickoff meeting is for better communication. Communicating with one another promotes contact for updates, success, and progress of the project. Allocate topics such as the timetable of the sprint meeting, commencement, duration, and resources during this meeting. 

The main purpose of the sprint kickoff meeting is to assemble all involved on the same page, thereby resulting in a problem-free start.

Project Kickoff Checklist
Source: Projectmanager

2. Product Backlog

The product backlog is a list of work obtained from the roadmap and requirements of a project. It includes short descriptions of functionality wanted in the product and used by the development team. 

They are usually well prioritized for easier iteration. Arrange important items from the most important down to the least important, letting the team know what to first deliver. Product backlogs are essential for the first sprint after which the product can evolve based on feedback from customers. 

The product owner compiles the product backlog list and it is later worked on by the development team. The information available in the product backlog are the features, technical work, various bugs, and knowledge acquisition of the product. 

Product Backlog vs Sprint Backlog
Source: Projectcubicle

3. Backlog Grooming

Backlog Grooming, also known as Backlog Refinement, is a meeting for agile development teams including the product owner, which discusses the product backlog items. The meeting involves conversations concerning strategies backing the items in the product backlog. 

The product owner, scrum master, or any other team member leads these backlog refinement meetings. Also, the duration of this meeting should not exceed an hour. You can save time by tracking the conversations. 

Holding a backlog grooming meeting keeps the team focused and working towards the progress of the product. This ensures the team reviews user stories and prioritizes them for sprint planning. At this step, the team attends to questions, user stories, and makes the needed adjustments.

4. Sprint Backlog

The sprint backlog is a list of items compiled by the development team from the product backlog to be completed or worked on during the next sprint. Sprint backlogs are not reversible during the sprint. Divide items moved to the sprint backlog into smaller tasks. 

After the sprint, return the uncompleted tasks to the product backlog. An important aspect of the sprint backlog is the daily scrum meeting. Update the progress of the sprint, task estimation, and the sprint backlog during the daily scrum meeting.

Address user stories during the sprint backlog. For a successful sprint backlog, discuss tasks, make joint decisions, address all aspects of the project, and frequently update the tasks and backlog. 

Sprint Backlog Infographic
Source: PMworldnetwork

5. Sprint Development Cycle

The sprint development cycle is the structured series of stages a product undergoes. There are six different stages in a sprint development cycle. 

  • Concept: This stage is where you determine the project scope. The product owner estimates the cost and discusses the requirements with the shareholders. This stage in the sprint development cycle determines if the development of the project would commence or not.
  • Inception: After the concept, the next step is to recruit the development team. Make check-ins to ensure necessary resources are available to start developing the product.
  • Iteration: Also known as the construction phase, it takes longer than other phases. All cross-functional team members perform their respective roles at this stage. After the first sprint, build the foundation function of the product and add other improvements at later sprints. 
  • Release: During this phase, the products are ready for an introduction to the market. The development team runs tests in the presence of the stakeholders to ensure the products function well. This step is where the project team detects and corrects bugs. After this, the product is ready for production.
  • Maintenance: After releasing the products to the market, organize new agile sprints to maintain, upgrade and resolve any issues with the product.
  • Retirement: You only retire a product if there is a replacement or if the product becomes obsolete over time. Inform users about the retirement of the production. The development team will end support for such products.

6. Review and Retrospective

Sprint review and sprint retrospective occur at the end of each sprint. 

  • The sprint review shows the stakeholders the result achieved and gives feedback to the entire development team.
  • The sprint retrospective takes place immediately after the sprint review. This points out the performance level and improvements to be made by the team members.
Sprint review vs Sprint retrospective comparison
Source: Wrike

Benefits of Working Agile

Agile project management is more than a trendy project management methodology. The benefits of using the agile methodology are the reason why it is so popular and adopted by many project managers, teams, and organizations.

1. Increased Productivity

A higher productivity rate is a key priority. Agile improves productivity because team members focus on particular tasks thereby leading to effective performances. Collaboration, flexibility, easy flow of information, good communication with customers, quick delivery of products all contribute to increasing the rate of productivity.

2. Cost Savings

Agile has proved cost-effective because it helps minimize costs associated with errors during the project life cycle. Tackling issues during the different stages of production lowers the cost and reduce time wastage. Agile is not complex which makes it easy to complete tasks without overspending. 

There is no need for comprehensive documentation resulting in no extra expenses spent on documentation. Agile places more focus on the product value.

3. Team Collaboration

Team collaboration is the act of working jointly or together to complete an assigned task. Agile places emphasis on people and encourages collaboration between teams across iterations. 

Collaboration is important to compile various ideas, suggestions and build solutions quickly. This encourages the sharing of skills and suggestions to achieve results or a common goal.

4. Increased Flexibility

Agile teams can adapt and adjust to change at any point. There is room for changes within short notice. During the project or product development, feedback and demands from the clients can influence changes because the user stories must be prioritized.  

Implementing the agile method to manage your projects allows seamless changes without affecting the project's success.

5. Quality Products

Splitting the development of a product into different stages affords more time and focus to perfect the product. After each iteration, conduct tests and make necessary improvements to the products. Also, provide solutions to problems and detect bugs. This helps to improve the quality of the products.

6. Improved Teamwork

Working as a team becomes better when using agile. The main foundation of agile is to achieve goals through teamwork. There is better communication, accountability, transparency, and cross-functioning among the team, stakeholders, and others involved in the project. Team members learn to take responsibility for one another leading to discipline and self-organization.

7. Good Customer Services

Agile focuses on involving the customers during the development phase to participate in making decisions, giving feedback, and suggesting areas where you need to make improvements. 

This helps to deliver products of high quality to customers and satisfy their requirements. Customer satisfaction results in long-term patronage leading to a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

8. Predictability and Control

Predictability is the ability to plan in advance and deliver. A predictable team leads to increased performance and more productivity. Because you deliver products on time without delay, your relationships with customers will improve. Agile helps you quickly predict and solve problems or risks.

Project managers are in control of the project. You can guarantee the quality of the product because the product owner, stakeholders, and team members are involved.

Differences Between Agile and Waterfall Approach

Agile and waterfall methodologies are two distinct software development management approaches. They help developers and project teams to develop high-quality project management processes and end results.

Differences Between Agile and Waterfall Approach
Source: Researchgate

Knowing the differences between agile and waterfall approaches can help you pick which one of them works best for your specific project requirement.

1. Work Process

Agile project management divides the development process of software into different aspects known as sprints. You have to work on and complete each sprint before proceeding to another one. 

Waterfall project management is a traditional method of developing software. In waterfall, the product's development is in phases and they occur sequentially. They move in phases like a waterfall.

2. Testing Process

In agile, testing of products occurs during production or at the end of each sprint. During testing, the team members, product owner, and stakeholders are present. Testing processes overlap and occur after every iteration. 

On the other hand, testing is a different phase in Waterfall. The testing process occurs after the completion of the product. There is no overlap of testing processes.

3. Teams

Agile teams are relatively small with cross-functional team members. Communication is a key factor during development and the whole team takes part in these meetings. There is no team leader because the members are self-organized.

Waterfall uses structured teams and each team member gets well-defined roles. The team leader is responsible for the project's outcomes.

4. Customers Interaction

Projects handled with agile engage the customers. Agile also aims at communicating and receiving feedback from customers to improve the quality of products during development.

The waterfall methodology does not give room for feedback made by customers during the course of production. In this case, if there are any shortcomings with the end product, changes are either costly, difficult, or impossible.

5. Flexibility

The agile approach is very flexible. You can make changes at any stage of the product or project development. Products developed using agile depend on the demands and needs of the users. End results can end up being different from the envisaged results. 

However, the waterfall approach is very rigid. The phases occur in sequences and there is no room for turning backward. There is also no room for feedback until the completion of the product.

Overall Comparisons between waterfall and agile
Source: Plutora

How Scrum Works

Scrum is an agile project management framework used to manage software development projects using sprints. The reference ‘Scrum' originated from a sport known as rugby. Scrum illustrates the importance of teamwork in the rugby team that keeps them winning. 

Scrum Working Process
Source: Researchgate

Some of the best scrum tools for agile project management include Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, Jira, Smartsheet, Bitrix24, and nTask. Eight processes are integral to Scrum.

1. Sprints

A sprint is simply the short period within which a scrum team completes work. A scrum project is separated into different time intervals called sprints under which they must be completed. 

The sprints range from a few hours to a few weeks, at most 4 weeks. A developmental team consisting of the members works hand in hand to achieve these goals. Examples are software developers, engineers, analysts, and more.

2. Sprints Planning

Sprint planning is a meeting held to select certain items from the product backlog and deliver the items during the sprint. The whole scrum team organizes the meeting set within a particular period. Sprint planning time varies according to the duration of the sprint. If a sprint is to take 4 weeks then sprint planning should be around 8 hours. 

Here, you make discussions and decisions concerning the prioritized product backlog items, estimations, techniques, and assign tasks to team members. Sprint planning takes place before the commencement of each sprint in the presence of the product owner, scrum master, and development team.

Sprint Planning Activities
Source: Scrum

3. Sprints Review

The sprint review is an important aspect of the scrum that takes place immediately after the sprint.  Feedback is the reason for holding sprints reviews. 

During this meeting, the project team analyzes the sprints and makes discussions to improve the product and learn more about it. Conversations are between the stakeholders and the team. 

The scrum master, product owner, stakeholders, and development team should take part in the sprint review. Team members make demonstrations and receive feedback from the product owner and stakeholders. You also review the project and identify and discuss risks. 

The main purpose of the sprint review is to show the stakeholders the result of the sprint and make a comparison with the intended results envisioned from the start of the sprint.

There is a time duration for the sprints review meeting, an hour or less per sprint week. That is, a three-week sprint has three hours of review and so on.

Sprints Review Meeting Example
Source: Hygger

4. Daily Scrum Meetings

The daily scrum meeting, also known as the standup meeting, is a short meeting usually held at the start of each working day. All team members are to participate and discuss progress, delays, and future arrangements. 

Daily scrum meetings take between 10-15 minutes and mostly, team members stay standing throughout the meetings. Scrum meetings must be face to face, held at the same place and time, kept short and straight to the point. The focus is on solutions to problems, updates, and new ideas.

5. Sprint Retrospectives

The sprint retrospective is the very last step in a sprint. The development team discusses and makes plans on improving the quality of products made. At the end of the sprint retrospective meeting, you also identify improvements for future sprints. 

This is an opportunity to improve working processes and boost productivity. The sprint retrospective meeting is shorter than the sprint reviews with a duration of two hours per 3 weeks sprint.

Sprint Retrospective Infographic
Source: Infinity

6. Product Owner

A product owner is the main stakeholder of a project. He or she is accountable for creating the product backlog, ordering necessary items, and communicating the needs of the project. 

Duties of the product owner include decision making, interaction with the development team and stakeholders. The product owner might be a single person or group of people.

7. Scrum Master

The scrum master is an expert that leads a team from the beginning to the end of a project while making use of agile project management. He or she directs the team, ensures perfect work is done while following the right processes. The scrum master maintains a good relationship between the product owner and team members.

How Kanban Works

Kanban, an agile method, is a virtual tool used to track the workflow of the project. Its illustrative approach helps people understand the progress of a project, the completion of the project, and forthcoming projects. 

This agile project management framework allows the development of software in a large development cycle. Unlike Scrum, Kanban is an example of an agile methodology that is not iterative. 

Here, you display cards on a board to illustrate the workflow, easily recognize disruptions, and address them before they escalate.

The Differencees Between Kanban and Scrum
Source: Agiletech

Kanban is a popular tool for managing projects. Some of the best Kanban software include Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, nTask Board, Celoxis, Jira, and Kanbanize. 

There are four core principles of Kanban.

1. Visualize Workflow

Visualizing workflow is the representation of the workflow in an easily visible way through the use of the kanban board. The kanban board is an agile project management tool used to manage work on a visual level. 

Cards show the flow of each stage of the work process. You can move these cards around to show and depict progress, columns for work to do, work in progress, work completed, work awaiting, work ongoing, and work done. 

Workflow visualization is important to a team because it allows transparency, paints a good understanding of the project, and gives the project manager good insight.

2. Limit Work In Progress (WIP)

This is the process of reducing the load of work items that are in progress at a time. Placing work in progress on a limit is an essential principle that prevents getting stuck in a particular stage. 

To see limits, the team member must ensure there is no multitasking and every individual gets a task. What determines the limit is the capacity of project tasks and the number of members in the team. 

Before implementing a work in progress limit, you need to take precautions.

  • Let your team focus on completing tasks
  • Do not take on too many unfinished tasks
  • Encourage cooperation between team members

3. Focus On the Continuity of Workflow

Focusing on your workflow is concentrating on production and its processes. While managing your workflow, you learn to make changes bit by bit, inspect, and adapt these changes. Changes made should be done collaboratively while carrying the whole team along. Focusing helps to discover stuck points while working and also the causes and how to stop or avoid being stuck in the future. 

The kanban board is a valuable tool to observe progress and how progress is achieved. With it, you can discover, prevent, and easily solve delays in the normal workflow.

4. Continuous Improvement

An important part of kanban is improving the processes continuously. The kanban board requires continuous monitoring even after the completion of the work.

Kanban is in the form of evolution and a continuous flow process that lets team members keep working until they complete the task, after which, they pull out new tasks.  

Benefits of continuous improvement of kanban include improved quality of products, increased productivity, integration, and agility.

Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.