Two Harvard academics, Robert D. Austin and Richard L. Nolan, did a study on software projects in 1998 to ascertain the problems of the IT development and project management methods at that time. Their study found that software projects were generally approached with the same three assumptions:
These assumptions complicated projects by using inflexible methodologies, like Waterfall, that could not handle changes to the original plans. They also allowed for contingency timing and cost that encouraged the customer to switch companies or provided customers with a finished product that did not match their requirements. These assumptions kept customers in the dark about how their project was being developed and led them to believe a company was incapable of delivering their requested product.
This is why Agile project management was developed.
The agile methodology approaches projects, usually IT and software-focused, in incremental and iterative steps where each has the goal of producing a working product. Agile is open to changing requirements over time and encourages constant feedback from the end user during the design, implementation, testing, and deployment stages of the project.
Agile project management is a recent methodology that began when IT and software developers struggled by inefficiently working on large software projects. Agile’s characteristics are derived from the principles listed in the Agile Manifesto, which was drawn up in 2001 by supporters of iterative and incremental development methods.
As a result, the agile methodology implements the iterative approach at each stage, resulting in smaller cycles. The project gradually grows as new features are added after each cycle and confirmed, so the end product is very close to what the client wanted. The customer is, all the while, kept in the loop of the project’s progress. Flexibility and quick turnaround are essential in agile project management.
By using a methodology that encourages flexibility and intuitive collaboration, Agile facilitates a cross-functional team’s work on iterations of a product over a period of time. Their work is organized into a backlog that is prioritized based on business or customer value.
Scrum is a subset of Agile and one of the most popular process frameworks for implementing Agile. It is an iterative software development model used to manage complex software and product development. Fixed-length iterations, called sprints lasting one to two weeks long, allow the team to ship software on a regular cadence. At the end of each sprint, stakeholders and team members meet to plan next steps.
Today, there are a variety of agile project management tools available on the market, but many are using Acute360 for their research and development (R&D) needs.
Acute360 was developed as a solution to respond to the complexity of managing industrial and academic R&D projects while offering a coherent approach to doing R&D the right way. It is an intelligent and interactive web-based project management platform that manages projects and tasks based on the Scientific Method. The platform is about metrics: quantifying, measuring, recording, and making sure that people track their progress towards goals. To achieve this, Acute360 uses a very rigorous method for getting people to identify and report their results.
Acute360 is more agile and simpler in managing small to medium software teams and projects.