Building PM skills with Agile Project Management Training

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals.  A successful Project Manager must simultaneously manage the four basic elements of a project: resources, time, money, and most importantly, scope. All these elements are interrelated.  Each must be managed effectively. All must be managed together if the project, and the project manager, is to be a success.

A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.

In today’s business environment, the skill of project management is key to the success of specific projects. Agile project management is a specific form of project management that focuses on managing the design and build activities for engineering, information technology, and new product or service development projects in a highly flexible and interactive manner.  It requires capable individuals from the relevant business, with supplier and customer input. Agile project management training (APMT) builds a manager’s knowledge and skills in the agile approach to projects.

How Does Agile Project Management Help You?

Agile project management training focuses on teaching the role of the project manager, product owner, and business analyst on agile projects.  It focuses on teaching techniques for building and managing a Product Backlog of user stories, and techniques for estimating and prioritizing requirements for releases and iterations.

Using hands-on activities and real case studies, students will learn the conditions of success for agile methods, how to scale the agile approach for large teams, and how to adapt your current business analysis methods to become more agile.  Course can also be taught on-site for a project team. The team’s project can be used as the basis for the course activities.

Agile project management training is often used by software development teams; many of the certifications are aimed at IT project managers who are looking for additional credentials beyond basic project management credentials.  Most managers in large organizations are required to have the project management skill set; adding specialized training such as APMT makes a project manager, and subsequent team stand out.

Agile Project Management training is aimed at those working or assisting on projects that need to be able to react to an issue that occurs throughout the project at any given moment. The Agile methodology enhances the individual’s ability to change, respond and to be more decisive about making that all important decision, therefore saving time and in addition resulting in the project(s) not going over budget or being delayed. In the current economic climate this is the most sought after project management methodology.

Basics and training

Most Agile Project Management training courses focus on providing the Agile Basics which include values and principles, contrasting methods, roles and responsibilities, the agile business analyst and project manager, the agile team environment, defining agile requirements and planning processes, iteration zero activities and defining the vision.  Once Agile basics are understood, training then becomes more specific, looking at identifying user roles and creating a persona, creating product backlogs, user story components, business analyst activities, and managing user stories with agile tools.

The agile product backlog refers to a prioritized features list, containing short descriptions of all functionality desired in the product.  Often times, as more information about the project and customer is known, the list becomes more specific and detailed.  Agile project management training provides the skills to effectively manage and evolve this backlog.

Another key component to Agile Project Management Training is the focus on providing the skill set to analyze and prioritize customer needs.  Understanding the customer’s needs, identifying their future goals and being able to interpret their needs from working closely with them is possibly the most important aspect of the agile method.  Project managers will be given the skills to create a product roadmap, prioritize needs and financial impacts, user stories and key functionalities.  They will also learn to adapt agile methods and self-organize teams for the greatest effectiveness.  The reality of any project is that the success of it will be based on the effectiveness of the team and the ability of the project manager to manage both the team and the project.

This article was written by Mark Stevenson, who is glad that he took an Agile Project Management Training course – it got him his promotion, and helps his team work together much better.