The digital age brought with it an era of boundless technological innovation. As a natural progression, the way projects get managed in the realm of software and IT had to evolve.
However, not all innovations were made purely in the digital realm.
Enter agile project management, a transformative approach that blends well with the dynamics of remote work. This article dives deep into its definition, history, its practical integration with remote developers, and the aspects that make it their go-to methodology.
What is Agile?
While the term 'Agile project management' is one of those buzzword-sounding philosophies, its core is straightforward. This methodology is about making workflow fast, efficient, and adaptable by cutting out unnecessary fluff in the process. Meetings are then taken to see how this workflow can be improved even further to maximize customer satisfaction.
Any method of work that adheres to these standards can be considered agile. The philosophy behind it is to do whatever is fastest for your team without sacrificing the quality of the work. It’s intentionally vague to allow teams the flexibility to apply agile however they want.
One popular agile system involves 2-week blocks of work completed in what’s called a sprint. Utilizing project management software, there are daily meetings, usually taking no more than 15 minutes. This is for checking overall progress and the team’s status with their tasks. After the sprint is done, the team has a final meeting detailing successes as well as things to work on for their next sprint.
Other notable methodologies that attempt to adhere to Agile’s fundamental principles are Scrum, Kanban, XP, and Crystal. As you see, there’s no “one shoe fits all” approach to agile because it was never meant to be. After all, no two businesses run exactly the same.
The important thing to note about agile is that it is open to interpretation. Even if you make up your own methodology, as long as it’s fast, adaptable, and reliable, it can be considered an agile system.
Why does Agile exist?
Agile exists because software development is an industry that was reaching critical levels of demand. There was simply too much profit on the table not to capitalize, so in an effort to maximize answering these demands, agile methodologies started to bloom.
The old method was called the “waterfall” model, which basically meant planning out work for the next year or so and giving a hierarchy. The flaw with this method was that if something goes unexpected in the middle of the plan, it’s not easy to adapt, because the plan was already set.
Since the software is an ever-evolving technology and demands constant change, the waterfall model was simply not feasible for modern software development. Waterfall systems were meant for products that had a clear-end goal and relatively stable foundations.
For example, art assets for a given product, such as video games, still adhere to the waterfall model. Finding out the best art processes is done from the start, and then it’s just a matter of creating all those assets with the processes chosen. The same really can’t be done with software development because of the aforementioned reason of constant technological change.
Agile understands that making software can be unpredictable. It lets developers be flexible, letting them change plans easily if needed. It's like giving them a roadmap but saying it's okay to take detours if they find a better route. Plus, the method keeps everyone in the loop through regular check-ins. This way, there are no surprises, and everyone knows how their work fits into the big picture.
Why is Agile so appealing to remote developers?
Agile is all about talking openly, getting quick opinions, and being able to change easily. This system is perfect for remote work culture. With today's online tools, like group work apps and video calls, teams can work smoothly from anywhere. Remote developers often come from different parts of the world with their own unique backgrounds.
Agile helps them manage their work while staying in tune with the team's main goals. Simple things like daily short meetings and quick updates help everyone stay connected. This way, everyone knows what the client wants and feels like a team, no matter where they are. In short, Agile aims to make distance a non-issue, creating a strong team bond.
There have been many ways to build software over the years. But combining agile methods with today's remote work feels like a perfect match. Agile is flexible and focuses on continuous improvement, which is great for developers working from different places.
On the other hand, having developers in different locations challenges Agile to work its best across different areas and time zones. As our digital world grows and changes, this combination helps make sure our projects keep up and stay innovative.