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Portfolio Management and the Importance of Agile Project Planning

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/17/2013

The most significant activities of Agile management and software development include identifying and selecting the project, minutely monitoring and governing it, and, last but not least, IT inventory management

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    What's In Your Portfolio?

    The main objective of portfolio management is to help IT organizations improve in overall efficiency. Agile software development comprises various software development methodologies and is completely based on repetitious development. The requirements as well as solutions, in this case, surface through cross-functional teams, which are self-organized. Furthermore, this can simply be done by ensuring that all of the projects along with the existing systems are well-planned for and focus on the goals of the organization.

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    Background

    The contemporary definition of Agile management can be traced back to the mid 1990s. It's often defined as a reaction against methods that are termed as ‘heavyweight’. Those long-ago methods were known to be quite slow, inconsistent and demeaning, and they obstructed software developers from performing effectively. Agile methods can be truly defined as a comeback in the development practices and later came to be known as ‘lightweight methods’. In the year 2001, some prominent members in the Snowbird community named this the Agile method. Eventually, some of the prominent members from this community formed a non-profit organization called The Agile Alliance and its goal was to promote Agile management.

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    Significant Activities

    The most significant activities of Agile management and software development include identifying and selecting the project, minutely monitoring the project and governing it, and last, IT inventory management. Usually it happens that the IT departments look further than a single project requirement, and performing the various significant activities successfully can ensure higher returns on investments. For portfolio management practices, such significant Agile management activities hold extreme importance as they help in project documentation and task scheduling.

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    Primary Advantages

    Transparent metrics – Agile management helps to extract metrics that are relevant to the contemporary times and completely focused. This process focuses on a singular area which often resists being extracted. Standardizing and streamlining metrics helps the project managers gain a transparent overview when review meetings are held.

    Recurrent review meetings – Frequent review meetings is one important aspect of Agile management. The managers meet at regular intervals, at least once a month, instead of exchanging metrics passively. These meetings also provide the managers with a forum in order to measure the progress of the projects and also to implement case scenarios to exhibit in effective software. The review meetings are mostly held on a fixed date.

    Output and innovation – Agile management and software development not only address existing issues but also explore new avenues of innovation and output. The project managers also get the opportunity to accept and survey new project tenders with moderately low risks. Not only that, the decision maker also gets sufficient time to think before any large investment is made.

    In a nutshell, agile project management and software development are a valuable addition to the exisiting standards of portfolio management with pre-specified project metrics.

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    Agile management and software development make easy provisions for the project managers to treat their individual selection processes in a uniformly "agile" approach. Continuous development also helps the project to roll out efficiently. Agile management also motivates early investment returns through prompt reactions and feedback from the customers. Last but not the least, it also helps to know whether the features will be accepted in the marketplace or not.

    Agile management has not shot to extreme popularity until recently times and is considered to be the most misunderstood facet of IT actions, due to its cross-system scope, limited knowledge, and propagation at the practitioner level.