Agile has moved from being reserved for software development and it has become an approach that companies from a variety of industries have started to employ to become more adaptable and efficient. People who are looking to find employment in an Agile environment must hone their skills. In other way, they have to become that elusive, highly sought-after Agile project management expert.
Read on and find out how to do it.
Familiarize yourself with the Agile method
The road to becoming an expert in Agile project management may be long and sometimes even difficult, but it's certainly quite exciting. In order to begin from somewhere, you should familiarize yourself with the Agile methodology if you haven't done so by now.
Therefore, what exactly is Agile? The agile method is the process of software development that focuses on speed, reliability and efficiency. It is designed to streamline software development in a way that will make identifying, as well as fixing of issues seamless and fast during the product development cycle. Agile development is based on shorter development cycles (usually between two and four weeks) called sprints.
The purpose of Agile is to maximize the value of the product for the end-users. The Agile method has been around since the early 1957 but only in 2001 with the emergence of the Agile Manifesto was the Agile method been able to gain the recognition it deserves. Today, Agile is being adopted more and more by various industries due to its revolutionary advantage in software development. The more you familiarize yourself with the Agile method, the easier it will be to master its project management skills.
Try an Agile project management workshop
Attending an Agile workshop can be quite beneficial in learning Agile practices for project management. Simply put, it's a training course to help you familiarize yourself with the Agile methodology and working in an Agile environment. There are various workshops you can explore that will help you apply Agile practices, develop the right products, improve your working speed, deliver value to clients and so on.
For example, you'll be able to learn how to work in the Scrum framework, the most widespread and popular of Agile approaches. In addition, you'll familiarize yourself with the use of so-called "Kanban". Kanban is yet another Agile approach that focuses on the transparency of work and real-time communication, as well as collaboration.
This framework is based on visualization of work displayed on a Kanban board so that every team member to see the state of every piece of work at any given time. Through Agile workshops, you'll be able to learn how to be a part of an Agile team, as well as how to manage a project in the Agile software development process. Moreover, if you're planning on obtaining a certification in Agile project management, you'll need to spend some hours in Agile training.
Attend an Agile project management seminar
Attending an Agile seminar for project management is yet another training course that can help you learn advanced skills based on Agile principles. You can find various seminars online and attend those that ideally suit your needs. Seminars oftentimes encompass topics and training courses regarding the most important aspects of Agile practices. For instance, here's an example of what an Agile seminar course can cover:
- The Essentials of Agile Project Management.
- How to adopt an Agile approach in Project Management.
- Agile Methodologies Overview.
- Agile Planning - Gathering Requirements and Initiating a Project.
- Agile Planning - Conducting Estimates and Finalizing the Release Plan.
- Monitoring and Planning Iterations in an Agile Project.
- How to Lead the Agile team.
- How to Manage Stakeholder Engagement in an Agile Project.
- How to Ensure the Delivery of Quality and Value in an Agile Project.
In essence, you get to learn what it means to be an Agile project manager and what your responsibilities are.
Gain some experience
Knowledge is considered power but real knowledge comes from experience. If you truly want to master Agile project management, you must work with an Agile team and learn from the experience you'll obtain. Knowing things, in theory, is different from putting your knowledge and skills to the test in a real project environment.
Fortunately, you can easily find an Agile team or an Agile project to work on. You can even volunteer on different projects, in order to gain the necessary experience that will be immensely beneficial to you in the future. If you've worked on traditional projects that are based on the waterfall method, you'll soon realize that Agile is unlike anything you previously worked on. That being said, having a perspective will help you adjust to the new way of doing things and help you understand the value of Agile methodology as well.
The final step towards becoming a master in the Agile project management is to obtain proper certification. You can have as much experience as you'd like, but you'll still need a certificate to prove your worth. Although many companies prefer to test your skills rather than go through your paperwork, it's still better to have a certificate just in case. Consider it a cherry on top.
You can get certified from a number of sources with PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) offered by The Project Management Institute (PMI), which is an apex body for Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and The Agile Project Management Program offered by The Project Management Association in collaboration with the DSDM (Dynamic System Development Method) Consortium being the most reputable sources.
However, before you can actually take an exam to get certified, you'll have to ensure that you're able to meet the following requirements.
- Secondary degree or a high school diploma, associate's degree or global equivalent education level.
- 12 months of working on Agile projects with the Agile team that you managed to earn in the last 5 years.
- Additional 8 months of experience with Agile projects or techniques that you've earned the last 3 years.
- 21 of contract hours in Agile Practices.
Agile methodology and practices are quite easy to understand but quite difficult to master. You'll have to make an effort and dedicate yourself to learning everything there is to learn about the Agile project management. If you're willing to go through with it, you might just become an agile project management expert.
The most important thing, though, always keep learning.