Agile Project Management Methodology Guide

Explore Agile Project Management: a flexible, iterative guide for managing projects efficiently, emphasizing collaboration and customer feedback.

What do software development, marketing campaigns, and product launches all have in common? Three words — effective project management.

However, with the ever-evolving agency landscape, traditional project management methods may no longer cut it. Enter Agile methodology, a project management approach that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer-centricity.

Developed in 2001 by a group of software developers who grew frustrated with the limitations of traditional project management, Agile methodology has since been adopted by various industries and agencies of all sizes, thanks to its proven effectiveness in managing complex projects with greater efficiency and success. 

But there is more to Agile than just a buzzword or trend — let's dive deeper into what makes this methodology a game-changer for project management.

What is agile project management?

Agile project management is a collaborative, iterative project management approach that incorporates continuous testing and responsiveness to change. 

To put it into perspective, let's take a look at the traditional Waterfall project management methodology, where the entire project is planned out in advance and follows a linear sequential approach. 

In this model, there is little wiggle room for changes or adjustments once the project is underway. The result? Projects that are often completed over budget, behind schedule, and with unsatisfactory results. 

Agile project management, on the other hand, follows an iterative and incremental process that breaks down projects into smaller, manageable chunks called "sprints" or iterations. 

Each iteration involves planning, execution, testing, and continuous feedback from the client, allowing for adaptation and course correction throughout the project's lifecycle. 

This flexibility and continuous feedback loop make Agile project management well-suited for various industries with rapidly changing environments, including software development, product development, marketing campaigns, and more.

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Most current agile project management methods have their roots in software development. Back in the 1990s, software teams were finding that the highly-structured “heavyweight” traditional project management methodologies (for example, Waterfall) just weren’t cutting it when it came to the way they needed to work.

They were finding that the pitfalls of these heavyweight methods — such as a lack of flexibility, adaptability, and even autonomy — made it more difficult for them to respond to change or incorporate their learnings as they worked. As the project plans were outlined at the outset, there was no room for surprise, and deviations could be costly.

But as opposed to industries where the process was fixed and the outcome was reliable and stable (think: a manufacturing process that creates the same product on an assembly line), change is a fundamental component of software projects.

Maybe stakeholder requirements pivot, or maybe testing reveals that something isn’t working the way it should once an end-user gets their hands on it.

Instead of being held captive by the project management plan they outlined at the start, agile project management methods meant that teams could take those changes into consideration to make the best possible product. To do this, they needed shorter development cycles (called sprints), a more iterative process, and continuous feedback and testing.

Then in 2001, a bunch of software developers got together to discuss the core tenets of agile and really drill down into the philosophy behind it. They came up with The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, a collection of values and principles that would be a North Star for teams wondering how to become agile.

What are agile methodologies and how do they relate to agile project management?

Agile methodologies are flexible approaches to software development and project management that prioritize collaboration, iterative development, and customer satisfaction.

In contrast, Agile project management is the application of these methodologies to effectively plan, execute, and monitor projects while adhering to Agile principles. It ensures that Agile practices are integrated into the project's framework, emphasizing incremental progress and adaptability to deliver value to customers efficiently.

The 4 core values of agile


As mentioned above, the earliest agile project management methods focused on software, and the Agile Manifesto was created by software developers. So you’ll see that word, and other related terms like “developers” and “customers”, throughout.

But don’t feel limited by that.

Whether you’re creating software or something totally different (like a marketing campaign), there are lots of takeaways you can apply, no matter what industry you’re working in.

The original Agile Manifesto declares that agile has 4 core values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

  • Responding to change over following a plan.

These core values are at the heart of all agile project management approaches, informing everything from standard ways of working to the 12 agile project management principles.

What becomes clear from the core values is that agile approaches are, above all, collaborative and people-driven.

That applies not only to the working processes (progress is made through “individuals and interactions” and “customer collaboration”, putting the human element front and center), but also to the finished products. That is, the goal is to create something functional that delivers the most value to the end-user.

The 12 agile project management principles

According to the Agile Manifesto, there are 12 key principles of the agile methodology. In the manifesto’s own words, they are:

1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of valuable software:

Delivering valuable product increments to customers early and consistently is a primary goal of Agile, ensuring customer satisfaction and feedback throughout the project.

2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development:

Agile projects embrace changes in requirements, viewing them as a competitive advantage to provide better solutions.

3. Deliver working software frequently, with a preference for shorter timescales:

Frequent delivery of working software in short iterations (sprints) allows for rapid adaptation and feedback.

4. Collaboration between business people and developers throughout the project:

Close collaboration between customers, stakeholders, and development teams is essential for a successful project.

5. Build projects around motivated individuals; give them the environment and support they need:

Agile teams should be composed of self-motivated individuals who are empowered to make decisions and have the necessary resources and support.

6. Use face-to-face communication as much as possible:

While not always feasible, face-to-face communication is highly valued in Agile because it fosters clearer understanding and faster problem resolution.

7. Working software is the primary measure of progress:

Tangible working software is the most important indicator of a project's progress.

8. Maintain a sustainable pace of work for the team:

Agile encourages a sustainable work pace to prevent burnout and maintain consistent productivity over the long term.

9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design:

High-quality technical practices and good design principles should be maintained throughout the project.

10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential:

Agile teams should prioritize simplicity in both the product and the process, avoiding unnecessary work.

11. Self-organizing teams make the best decisions:

Teams should be given autonomy and responsibility to make decisions regarding how they work and deliver.

12. Regular reflection on how to become more effective, then tune and adjust accordingly:

Agile teams should regularly inspect and adapt their processes, striving for continuous improvement.

When it comes down to it, whether you’re talking about actual software or using it as a metaphor for whatever you’re creating (let’s call it “The Thing”), agile methods encourage you to deliver iterations of “The Thing” quickly and often — because it’s better for “The Thing” to exist in flawed reality than in perfect theory.

Another recurring theme in these principles? Get aligned, stay aligned, and work together. That goes for everyone involved: your own team, the “business people”, other departments, and stakeholders. Agile project management methods rely on a highly collaborative process and strong interpersonal foundations. So as Bill and/or Ted once said: be excellent to each other.

What are the benefits of agile project management?

Agile project management can seem like it’s just a trendy project management methodology du jour, but it’s proven itself to be more than just a flash in the pan.

That’s because the results speak for themselves. Agile project management principles have allowed teams of all types to work more iteratively and flexibly, empowering them to adapt to their project’s shifting requirements and deliver faster.

Here are some of the most commonly-reported benefits of agile project management.

One of the greatest benefits of agile methods is the ability to manage changing priorities. With agile’s iterative approach and emphasis on continuous feedback, you can get the data you need during the development process, not after, allowing the team to make more impactful choices based on actual conditions, not just predicted conditions.

And with designated short sprint cycles, clearer project visibility, and regular reporting updates, teams can improve project predictability and reduce risk.

You might remember that customer collaboration is one of the 4 core values of agile project management.

Well, one of the major benefits of this is that with greater customer collaboration comes greater customer satisfaction.

Agile project management methodologies foreground the customer and encourage you to work closely with them, as well as with other stakeholders, to ensure you’re creating something that actually solves their problem.

And because agile projects incorporate regular testing and review with each sprint, you can get their real feedback, in real-time, with each iteration of your working product.

Agile teams are more autonomous. That is, they’re often granted a freedom to suggest new ideas, innovate, and problem-solve that can be lacking in traditional project management methodologies.

With that kind of responsibility, people are trusted to get the job done and encouraged to see themselves as integral team members who can make a tangible difference to the project’s bottom line.

Not only that, but the emphasis on collaboration and communication can help to foster more transparent, efficient, creative — and, yes, happier — teams.

How to become agile

Higher-quality outputs, more satisfied customers and users, and improved team morale — it can sound too good to be true.

But here’s the thing: agile project management isn’t a magical cure-all that’s going to solve all of your project management ailments. And it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

For the agile methodology to have this sort of transformative impact, you need support, buy-in, and some truly exceptional people on the team.

So if you’re wondering how to become agile, here’s what you need to bear in mind.

Agile project management methodologies rely on hiring great people and empowering them to do their best work. It’s even outlined in the agile core values: people over processes.

That means that you need to focus on recruiting and hiring the right people first and foremost. Find the right people and free their talent to solve problems, not mindlessly follow orders, and you’ll already be halfway there.

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According to the 13th Annual State of Agile Report, the top three barriers to adopting or scaling agile project management practices are all rooted in organizational culture issues. They are:

  1. Organizational culture at odds with agile values

  2. General organization resistance to change

  3. Inadequate management support and sponsorship

For agile to work, you need to get buy-in and commitment from everyone — including leadership. Survey respondents praised internal agile coaches, executive sponsorship, company-provided training programs, consistent practices and processes across teams, and implementation of a common tool across teams as the top 5 tips when it came to rolling out agile project management methods across the company.

There’s a common misconception that agile is just an “anything goes” free-for-all — but that’s absolutely not the case. Agile isn’t the absence of methodology; it’s a type of framework in itself.

If you’re committed to agile project management, you can always invest in getting an agile project management certification to learn more about the agile values and principles and get a great insight into how they can work for your team.


Not only is the implementation of a common tool across teams one of the top 5 ways to scale your agile practices, it’s also essential for helping your team to become agile in the first place.

Look for a flexible agile project management tool that supports your way of working, rather than dictating it. has everything you need to give everyone on your team the visibility, flexibility, and collaboration they need to keep work moving forward, whether you favor Scrum or kanban boards — and when it’s time to scale, it can scale right along with you.

What are the main types of Agile methodology?

There are several different types of Agile methodologies, each with its own set of practices, roles, and principles. Some of the most prominent Agile methodologies include:

  1. Scrum: Scrum is one of the most widely used Agile frameworks. It employs time-boxed iterations called sprints, typically lasting 2-4 weeks, and includes specific roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, Development Team), events (Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective), and artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment) to manage and deliver work incrementally.

  2. Kanban: Kanban is a visual workflow management method that focuses on the continuous flow of work items through a process. It doesn't prescribe fixed iterations and emphasizes visualizing work, limiting work in progress (WIP), and optimizing flow.

  3. Lean Software Development: Inspired by lean manufacturing principles, Lean emphasizes the elimination of waste, fast delivery, and continuous improvement. It focuses on value stream mapping, reducing lead times, and maximizing customer value.

  4. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM): DSDM is an Agile framework that places a strong emphasis on user involvement and timeboxing. It provides guidance for project management, requirements engineering, and system design.

  5. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD): DAD is a process decision framework that combines elements from various Agile and lean approaches. It offers flexibility in selecting the right practices for the project's context.

These are some of the most well-known Agile methodologies, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Organizations often select or tailor an Agile methodology that best fits their project's size, complexity, and specific requirements. Some even use a combination of methodologies to suit their unique needs, which is sometimes referred to as "Agile hybrid" or "Agile at scale."

Agile vs Scrum: what’s the difference?

We’ve covered the most common types of agile project management methodologies above, but of those many agile methodologies, there’s one, in particular, you might want to brush up on.

Scrum is undoubtedly one of the most popular agile methodologies used today, with a whopping 72% of respondents to the most recent State of Agile Report saying they use “Scrum or a hybrid that includes Scrum”.

Like other agile project management methodologies, Scrum abides by the main agile values and principles (iterations, responsiveness to change, all that good stuff discussed above).

However, there are a few Scrum-specific terms and processes you need to know if you’re thinking about implementing agile project management with Scrum.

There are three main roles on a Scrum team:

Product Owner

The person responsible for maximizing the value of the work completed by the Development Team. One way they do this is by managing the Backlog.

Development Team

A small group of people who are ultimately working on The Thing. The team has a flat hierarchy and it’s self-organizing; once the goals are set, team members are free to tackle them however they choose.

Scrum Master

Works to facilitate and support the Scrum process across the Product Owner, the Development Team, and importantly, the organization at large.

Here’s a rough overview of how it works:

  1. Everything that the team needs to do (for example, everything that’s needed in a product) is listed out in a Backlog and ranked in order of priority by the Product Owner. The Product Owner’s job is to optimize the Development Team’s work by ensuring the Backlog is the best Backlog it can be (i.e. clear, accessible and organized for success).

  2. Scrum uses sprints of a fixed duration (usually a few weeks, always less than a month). Each sprint has a predefined Sprint Goal. Items from the Backlog are identified and worked on as part of each Sprint.

  3. Before a Sprint can happen, you need to do some Sprint Planning to figure out what your Sprint Goal will be and how you’re going to accomplish it.

  4. Once the Sprint is underway, the Development Team has a short daily standup — called a Daily Scrum — to report on the previous day’s progress, what they’ll be focusing on today, and any risks they’ve identified.

  5. At the end of each Sprint, the team holds a Sprint Review (sort of like a Sprint-specific post-mortem meeting) to assess their performance and inform the next round of Sprint Planning.

  6. Iterate, iterate, iterate.

Common agile project management challenges and how to overcome them

Agile project management offers many benefits, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common challenges faced during Agile project management and strategies to overcome them:

  1. Changing Requirements: Frequent changes in requirements can disrupt project flow and timelines. To overcome this obstacle, teams should maintain a prioritized backlog, conduct regular sprint planning meetings, and communicate changes effectively throughout the project.

  2. Scope Creep: This can occur if changes are introduced without considering the project's constraints. Avoid this by clearly defining the project scope at the outset, and prioritize backlog items to provide visibility into the work ahead.

  3. Team Dynamics: Maintaining effective team dynamics, especially in cross-functional teams, can be challenging. The best way to build a collaborative team culture is through fostering open communication, trust, and respect among team members. Conducting regular retrospective meetings to identify and address team issues can help smooth out problems quickly and avoid repeating them.

  4. Time Management: Adhering to time constraints in Agile can be challenging when stakeholders have unrealistic expectations. One way to address is by using time-boxed iterations (sprints) to manage time effectively. Doing this will help to establish a predictable cadence for activities and reviews, and set clearer expectations.

  5. Lack of Metrics: Measuring progress and performance in Agile projects can be less straightforward than in traditional projects. Our top tip would be to define meaningful Agile metrics, such as velocity, lead time, and cycle time, to track progress. By continuously monitoring and adjusting these metrics, you can focus on outcome-based metrics that reflect customer value.

Overcoming these challenges in Agile project management requires a combination of effective communication, collaboration, adaptability, and a commitment to Agile principles. It's important to tailor solutions to the specific context of the project and organization while maintaining a focus on delivering value to customers. Regular retrospectives and continuous improvement are key to addressing challenges and optimizing Agile practices.

Which agile methodology is right for me?

If you’re still trying to decide which methodology you should go with — agile vs Scrum vs Kanban vs Scrumban vs some other hybrid? — remember that you can start by borrowing the principles and processes that make sense for you and your team.

Keep your projects on track with

Agile methodology encompasses a set of principles, values, and practices guiding flexible, customer-centric, and iterative product development or project delivery. While many variations of Agile processes exist, all share the same core philosophy of prioritizing customer satisfaction through continuous collaboration and adaptability.

Using an integrated project management tool like can help you stay on track with your Agile projects. With features that support Agile methodologies, such as Kanban boards, time tracking, customizable workflows, and collaboration tools, is your one-stop-shop for all things Agile. 

Ready to streamline, connect, and collaborate? Sign up today and experience the power of Agile project management with

Agile project management: FAQ's

What is the difference between Agile Methodology and Agile Project Management?

Agile Methodology encompasses a set of principles, values, and practices guiding flexible, customer-centric, and iterative product development or project delivery. It serves as the philosophical foundation for Agile practices. Agile Project Management, on the other hand, is the application of Agile principles to the management of specific projects, focusing on aspects such as organization, timelines, scope, and resources, to ensure that projects are planned, executed, and monitored in alignment with Agile values and principles.

Is Agile Project Management limited to Software Development?

Agile Project Management is not limited to software development but is widely applicable across various industries and domains. Its principles and practices, rooted in collaboration, adaptability, and customer-centricity, can be effectively employed in diverse projects, including product development, marketing, construction, healthcare, education, government, nonprofits, financial services, and retail.

What are the challenges typically encountered in agile project management?

Challenges commonly encountered in Agile project management include managing changing requirements effectively to prevent scope creep, addressing team dynamics and collaboration issues, managing time constraints and unrealistic expectations, scaling Agile practices for larger projects or organizations, and establishing meaningful Agile metrics for progress and performance tracking. Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of effective communication, collaboration, adaptability, and a commitment to Agile principles, with a focus on delivering customer value efficiently and continuously improving project management practices.

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