No matter how good we are at planning things out, for some reason or another we often have to complete work under a tight time limit. It brings stress and uneasiness in most teams and managing such projects can often be a challenge. While there are many ways to try and avoid these situations, once you’re in one, they will not help. This is why instead I want to discuss what can help you get out of it in one piece.
Managing your projects in one of the Agile methods is not only great for productivity, but is also very beneficial if you are ever in a situation like this. The search for value in Agile creates great pathways for prioritizing and optimizing work which is extremely important under a time constraint. Curious for more? Here is how Agile can help you.
One of the most important things under a time limit is knowing what you have to do at any given moment. While this is important in any project, when there is no time to waste your team members really have to be in the loop. Agile is great at this.
Depending on the Agile method you choose there will be different ways in how priorities are visualized – it can be priority columns, separate sections on the board or simply numbers to represent their place in line. Either way, your team will always know what comes next and won’t spend time trying to figure out what happens now. Thus saving the limited hours you have.
Another thing that no project manager can live without is understanding where your team and project is at all times. With visual task boards and various reports, Agile really delivers.
It is easy to see how much of the work is done simply by looking at your task board and if you ever need additional data it is all in the reports. Such information is critical in a situation when there is limited time available as you can make important decisions on what parts of the project will be delivered in time and what will have to wait.
Understanding the speed at which your team can deliver work is another great advantage of practicing Agile. After a couple of project cycles you will be able to tell what is your team velocity and thus better predict what actually can be completed.
This again brings greater insight into a situation where time is limited. Allowing the better estimate the outcome and prepare both your team and your clients. Team velocity takes the guessing game out of the project managers hands and instead gives real information to rely on.
Shedding Dead Weight
The last Agile tool to help a project manager better control the project outcome is realizing what work is actually important. All Agile methods ask teams to divide the tasks into musts and nice-to-haves. Thus creating a clear core that has to be completed and additional work that can be done if there is time.
When you are under time pressure, this is great. You and your team already know not only how much you can do, but also what you should do. So even if you cannot complete all the work client wants, you can deliver a minimum viable project that will satisfy their core needs. Thus shedding the dead weight that only looks nice but serves no core function.
Focused and Involved Team
Lastly, Agile methods bring one more great thing to the table – focused and involved team. Most Agile methods ask for the teams to self manage, meaning the members are more included into the process and feel more responsibility for its outcome.
Clearly, when you feel like you are in control, you also feel the need to succeed. And with the team members behind the steering wheel, they are more likely to push and make the deadline as it is their responsibility as well.
Have your own thoughts on Agile in tight deadline projects? Share in the comments!