Values in Traditional and Agile PM

Agile project management takes an entirely different view on values than traditional project management. The latter believes in delivering value in one, big chunk, and does not make customer value part of the project lifecycle. Although traditional project management defines effect goals, it does not talk about how valuable the final delivery would be to end users. To measure the product’s usefulness, a new, follow-up project has to be started in order the evaluation to be done.

Agile project management, on the other hand, is radically different and makes value delivery a number one priority. This methodology believes in a continuous flow of values on both sides. On the incoming side, feature ideas are coming in and are placed on the product backlog, on the outgoing side, complete, working, valuable features are delivered.

It is also important to take a look at how the two methodologies think about work itself. Traditional management considers the unit of management a task: tasks are created, assigned, followed up on, in one word: managed. A task can be highly technical (building the object model necessary for Hibernate), which the end user does not have to care about and has no interest whatsoever in. In agile, the unit of management is a feature: a functionality of the software that creates value to the end user. Such a way, traditional PM cares more about the project, agile about the product.

As a result of the previous differences, the delivery methods are entirely different. Traditional project management believes in delivering one final product, designed and analyzed at the beginning of the project. Changes are hard enough to carry through. Agile, on the other hand, delivers working software every 14 – 30 days. This means end users can enjoy a limited set of features after an extremely short time. Changes are welcome anytime which makes the process adaptive and flexible.

Agile project management also employs lean thinking: everything that does not add customer value is waste, and therefore has to be eliminated. Reports, bureaucracy, useless meetings are all considered waste, as they add no value. It is important to remember that activities like code refactoring, even though create no immediate customer value, are considered value added tasks, as they have a positive impact on the future product.

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