The Agile model in project management is the preferred one for many professionals in a variety of industries. As we will see below, it began in the software industry but its dynamism and versatility led to its incorporation in other sectors.
In our Master in Project Management students learn to work with agile methodologies. More importantly, they learn when it is appropriate to apply the agile model and when it is more convenient to use traditional models.
Origin of the Agile model
The origins of the Agile Model in Project Management go back to the mid-20th century. At that time, we were already working with repetitive development models with continuous improvements. In the following decades, adaptive models gained strength, where more emphasis was placed on an adaptive process than on planning.
This philosophy or management model emerged out of necessity in software development projects. This evolved until a group of experts met at the beginning of the 21st century and decided to create the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
This manifesto was based on the values shared by those experts. Tools and processes were important to them, but having a competent team is paramount. Good documentation is useful in software development, but it is essential to develop software. A contract is important but knowing the customer’s needs is more important. Finally, it is clear that planning is important, but it is even more important to know how to adapt to changes.
Based on these values, its twelve principles were proclaimed. They are very much oriented towards the software industry, but project managers in other sectors of activity who are subject to frequent changes have been able to adapt them. The objective remains to identify, adjust and resolve problems, requirements and defects more quickly to satisfy the client.
Interestingly, during the 1990s, several agile methodologies emerged, which, although they were prior to the manifesto, ended up forming part of the Agile model in project management. We refer to methodologies such as: Rapid Application Development (RAD), the Unified Process (UP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Scrum, Crystal Clear, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Feature-Driven Development (FDD).
All of them emerged naturally in contrast to the prevailing methods that were more rigid. Currently these methodologies and some more are framed within the Agile model.
They aim to prioritize people and satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery. They work in small, self-organized groups that meet frequently for adaptive planning. This allows for evolutionary development with continuous improvement and the ability to respond quickly and flexibly to changes.