A Short Journey Through (Agile) Project Management and Technology | TopMBA.com

A Short Journey Through (Agile) Project Management and Technology

By QS Contributor

Updated August 14, 2014 Updated August 14, 2014

Tahiarah M. Gettis

You may be wondering, “What does the broad field of project management have to do with the equally broad field of technology?” Surprisingly, both industries have been expanding for some time, but project management in particular has gained momentum in recent years.

While use of the term ‘project management’ has increased exponentially, a precise methodology for project management surfaced several years ago and has been gaining traction in varying industries. Pairing this with the acceleration of technology, the two processes blend well in daily use. Just as the project management process can serve as a roadmap towards solving any problem, the same could easily be said for technology.

How the project management process plays out in an agile work environment

You may then ask, “How does this process actually work? What is the literal function of the combination?” The most representative answer depends on where you work, the project type, as well as a company’s individual policy for managing projects. Even then, the process can vary.

Most of my project management experience is in agile work environments --  I am currently working in a waterfall environment which we jokingly refer to as ‘watergile’. Webster’s Dictionary defines agile as: “able to move quickly and easily”. In this context, the agile project management process involves iterations and MVP releases.

Here’s a typical scenario from an agile work environment:

1: A stakeholder—this person can have several titles -- submits a request for a project. Depending on your company, you might use a variety of software to manage the project management process, from Microsoft Office to something more specific, or my own personal favorite, Google Drive.

2: The information gets submitted to a product team (which may consist of several people) who then take the request and develop a vision and scope, often referred to as a ‘business requirements document.’

3: With this request or ‘ask’, the product team (primarily a product manager) captures details of what the stakeholder(s) is requesting. This is then followed by discussions, the addition of functional or technical requirements, several meetings, sprint planning sessions and finally, stakeholder sign-off.

4: Software engineers or developers will then write the code based on the agreed-upon vision.

5: Graphic designers, as well as front end and back end developers, may also have a part in this agile project management process.

6: Ultimately, in an agile project management process, the code should have reached the point during a two-week sprint whereby an MVP result for a particular product can be formed.

7: During this time, code is released to QA (quality assurance) and/or UAT (user acceptance testing) to confirm the code written is up-to-par and deployable.

8: After posting a QA green light, code relating to a particular project or MVP portion of a project is then implemented, and referenced as deployed.  

While this might seem like quite a filtered process, it’s more granular than one would imagine.

In case you’re wondering how project teams in agile work environments break the monotony of sprints throughout the year (and code, code, code), they acquire motivational names. For example, one development team may be Optimus Prime while the other might be known as the Autobots.

Technology’s role in the project management process

The validity of technology in the project management process is primarily about convenience. I personally prefer Google for its collaborative component, something that Microsoft Office may never offer. It’s a web 2.0 function, the ability to connect online with someone literally anywhere in the world and work on something simultaneously.  

You could run agile project management processes without technology, I’ve done it – it is possible! However, how functional would a project manager or process be if everything has to be written out and then handed off? Not typed, but written!

Technology offers a refreshing blend to the art of project management similar to what lemons can offer those who enjoy their tea or water infusions. More important than this, however, is the transparency of your project team. The people who actually run the projects have to be agile themselves to contribute to a methodology which plans, organizes and delivers results.

About Tahiarah M. Gettis

Tahiarah M. Gettis has worked in the digital space for the past several years, working with product and software engineering teams, and holds a Master of Science degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has served primarily as project manager for those groups and has been fortunate to use her project management skills to champion any situation.

Tahiarah has an interest in instructional design and technology for higher education and the private sector.  She had the opportunity to serve as adjunct for the University of Phoenix and, most recently, served as manager for the Instructional Design and Technology Studio at the University of Memphis.

Tahiarah enjoys philanthropic and civic engagement to which she welcomes opportunities to get involved in her community and to connect with other young professionals. Tahiarah is a member of the Junior League of Louisville (community), National Association of Women MBA’s-Louisville chapter (professional) and interACT (arts).

This article was originally published in July 2014 . It was last updated in August 2014

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