Agile project management has gone from being a popular trend to being a mainstay of product development and release for all kinds of companies. Agile project management can help teams release products faster and more efficiently while adjusting for problems along the way. Many tools exist to help Agile teams work collaboratively, communicate, track issues, and more. Adopting a new project management system can be difficult since teams want to be able to cover all their needs in a single platform.
Agile project management is meant to apply Agile principles to the organization and development of large-scale projects, turning them into tasks that can be assigned and worked on more efficiently. Project management software should aid in this goal rather than get in the way. There are several common challenges that can get in the way of using an Agile project management tool.
- Multi-person tasks
Agile is based on the philosophy of breaking projects down into manageable tasks, often assigned to a single person. As such, many popular platforms for project management such as JIRA only allow tasks to be assigned to a single person. However, some tasks can be completed more efficiently with multiple people working on the same task at once.
Some project management tools will only allow clumsy solutions to this problem such as having additional contributors add their work through comments and chat, but this can lead to disorganization and make it harder to track progress than before. In addition, it can degrade contributors’ attention to following the Agile process consistently, leading to problems in the long run.
- Dealing with Integrations
Companies use a wide variety of software, apps, utilities, and collaborative environments when working on projects. This means dealing with a project management tool is more attractive when it includes integrations with the other tools they use. Common integrations include codebases like GitHub, customer service platforms like Zendesk, communication tools, collaboration services, and more.
However, platforms that lack the right integrations or don’t implement them effectively can create obstacles for teams. When the tools aren’t integrated, teams can get out of sync and lose many of the organizational advantages of Agile. Scrums and other meetings may be complicated by the need to track where important materials and tasks are being worked on.
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- Difficulty with Communication
Agile can improve the team’s awareness of issues and problems, reducing the role of a project manager. However, it makes communication between team members a vital part of everyday work. Tools need to support clear and effortless communication between team members, including the ability to share the issues they are observing. Tools that have clunky and inefficient communications systems can interrupt the flow of information.
Working remotely or in separate areas can also make the Agile process difficult due to the limits on communication. Teams that hope Agile project management tools will help them collaborate remotely may have unrealistic expectations and end up unable to work efficiently without the regular face-to-face meetings that the process ordinarily expects from teams.
- Lack of Progress and Iteration Indicators
Agile expects there to be multiple iterations of projects, using milestones to track progress. Project management tools may not organize tasks effectively, hiding the level of progress from the team so they rely on estimates rather than concrete data on their achievements. This can be discouraging and leads to disorganization. Tools that help teams visualize their workflow like Kanban are seen as very valuable for this reason. Team members can identify bottlenecks and obstacles as tasks move between members with different specialties.
- High Prices as Teams Scale Up
Companies that find the right tool may find that it doesn’t fit their long-term budget as they adopt it for larger teams. Agile works better when every team member is involved regularly and contributing to their own role, but many popular tools like JIRA and Trello charge per user per month, which can add up and discourage adding new members. Finding a tool that offers a reasonable fee even as the needs of the business change is essential.
Agile project management can be aided by the right tool, but the need to find one platform that addresses the many needs of a growing business can pose obstacles. It’s important to balance between cost, ease of use, and effectiveness when selecting a project management system.