Agile project management is trending across lots of industries. People talk about sprinting, scrums and minimum viable products like they’re new concepts – but they’re not.
Agile has its roots in IT and software development, going back into the 1950s. It gained traction in the 70s, but it wasn’t until the 2001 agile manifesto that it came back into vogue and started getting real attention from outside the tech world.
It remains to be seen if it’s a lasting trend for other industries, but it’s part of the IT landscape and will keep developing as tech moves at a faster pace than ever.
As part of this project methodology, work can involve short development cycles—you ‘sprint’ to a minimum viable product (MVP), release your product or service to the world, and let the reaction and user feedback show you where to go next.
Why? Because real-life user testing is the smartest way to move forward. At the heart of the agile approach is the notion of always making your product or service better—continuous improvement with your audience kept in mind.
How the methodology is applied in practice can differ between industries and individual companies. But one thing is certain: agile is here to stay in IT and it needs leaders with qualifications to back up their real world experience.
Staying agile keeps the focus on users
The key to understanding this whole methodology is focusing on the user. If you let the customer get their hands on something ‘unfinished’ you’re engaging them in the product development process. It’s not just user testing, its building brands.
This whole approach also comes to the fore in the new world of work, where more of the workforce is becoming freelance or ‘gig’ based—decentralised and specialised. This type of working model can suit the agile methodology, but it needs qualified leaders with the project management skills to bring it all together and manage diverse skills. Now more than ever, agile project management is crucial for success and innovation; brands are forced to evolve quickly in fast moving consumer markets.
Do more than keep up
Getting across agile project methodologies is about more than just keeping up with the terminology of scrums and waterfalls. The day-to-day of how agile projects are managed can be easy enough to pick up, but leadership is the opportunity to make your mark. Starting with a course that nails down how to lead these projects means you’re doing more than keeping up – you can be the one to take charge, to be the decision-maker who understands when to pull back, when to release, when to iterate and when to move on.
Refresh those skills and find that spark
The world of agile project management moves fast, just like everything else these days. If you’ve had your head down in real world projects without a lot of space for innovation or development in your workplace, you might feel like you’ve been left behind. That doesn’t have to be the case.
What did you love about IT when you started? What types of projects did you love to work on, and how did you wish you could do it? Becoming a leader in being agile could be the key to getting back to that place—to remembering the types of work that got you out of bed in the morning, excited to see real progress and change every day in the workplace.
Fortunately, you can get excited again, but sometimes that means putting a little bit of upskilling up your sleeve. Learning about how to become agile can help you find that spark again, and the best way to do just that is through a course like the Bachelor of Information Technology.
Study on your own terms
The best way to start is by actually taking an agile approach to your study. Don’t wait for a perfect time to start. Here’s the first few steps you need to take:
- Don’t be overwhelmed by balancing life, work and study—break it down into manageable tasks
- Start with one unit that takes you a step closer to your undergraduate degree or the postgraduate degree that’s going to boost your career
- Start using the knowledge you get from your course units straight away… don’t wait until you finish your qualification to flick a switch; you’re learning right now
- Start bringing value right away to your job, or to the next role you have your eye on.
Moving forward and staying fresh
If you’re starting out with an undergraduate degree, look for one that includes project management skills, not just a focus on specific technical programs and applications, which are changing all the time. A course like the Bachelor of Information Technology is reviewed quarterly by an industry committee to ensure currency and relevance, which is crucial for the IT industry in these fast moving times.
If you’re looking for a way to solidify your project management skills developed on the job, and refresh skills from your undergraduate degree, consider a postgraduate course in Project Management. Whether you stick to purely tech roles or want to branch out into other sectors, courses like these will give you project management and leadership skills in demand across the job market. You’ll learn about methodologies, but also key skills in communicating with staff and how to manage virtual teams—something that’s more and more common in the modern IT workplace.
Tech moves fast—there’s always something else to learn, a new app for tracing your project, new systems to deploy, new security issues, and new technology to streamline every industry and keep it user-centric.
With qualifications like these, you won’t be keeping up with agile methodologies; you’ll be taking charge.