5 Agile Project Management Challenges and Tips on Overcoming Them

Dovile Miseviciute ·

Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space. 2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood. 2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.

agile pm challenges

Rapid changes in the business environment drive teams to implement Agile project management into their workflows to complete projects faster. With Agile project management, organizations can achieve greater adaptability, faster deployments, and better alignment with customer and business needs. According to this survey, nearly one in four of the highest-performing organizations completed their projects using an Agile approach. 

Regardless of its significant rise, the adoption of this practice and mindsets still brings in Agile project management challenges. It is especially challenging for larger enterprises because of mature organizational cultures, numerous legacy systems, and complex infrastructures. With that, here are 5 Agile project management challenges and solutions for leaders to consider in ensuring a smooth framework adoption.

1 – Resistance to Change

Getting everyone excited about Agile can be difficult because it requires your teams to change the way they work fundamentally. Therefore, leaders should approach the Agile transition proactively and provide sufficient training or resources for employees to understand how the change will work. You should also find ways to demonstrate why change is necessary and follow it up with ongoing communications and employee involvement. 

The communication of Agile transitions from the onset could make or break how well employees will respond to change. Changes mandated with little to no communications are often poorly received since employees may feel change is being shoved down their throats. Be transparent and seek feedback from teams to encourage synchronization and ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

2 – Constant Disagreements with Finance Department

Funding is one of the common Agile project management challenges that organizations encounter when initially making a transition to Agile. Unlike traditional projects that allow to have a business case, Agile requires constant iterations which could mean spending additional financial resources. This can be a significant change for finance departments who tend to have a more cautious and traditional mindset. 

Organizations can resolve this issue by promoting transparency and realigning the finance department, as well as other departments, to work more closely. Create a detailed plan of Agile project management challenges and benefits to make the change easier to understand for non-technical teams. You can also strengthen your case to finance teams by explaining how projects quoted traditionally can delay rollout and be over-budget. 

Lastly, suggest for your finance department to try out Agile solutions for themselves. By seeing how Kanban can be applied and improve financial team performance, they will be more likely to support the switch. Here is a Kanban board example for financial services and if you want to learn more about the features, see Agile for the financial sector.

3 – Lack of Dedicated Tools

Adopting Agile project management requires teams to perform continuous releases and incorporate feedback with every iteration. Handling these processes manually may decrease development speed and negatively affect your ability to better respond to market trends. It can also increase the likelihood of errors and repetition, which could affect your overall productivity. 

Therefore, organizations must use dedicated tools such as Agile project management software to embrace continuous improvement and produce expertly-honed end products. It also lets you initiate regular checkups and continuously find areas that need improvements throughout the development process, thereby eliminating the chances of complete project failure. You can check this Agile project management software benefits and importance guide to find solutions that can fit your operations well. 

Agile standup board template

4 – Lack of Ownership

The primary objective of Agile is to help team members take ownership of their work and break free of the habit of being told what to do. For Agile to work, team members must learn to take responsibility for their work and make educated decisions without waiting for guidelines. Project managers should encourage the team to communicate frequently and more openly and become more engaged with the project. 

Project leaders can also push them towards evaluating and coming up with their solutions when faced with an issue. This allows individuals to step forward in every situation because they feel confident and experienced in the project’s field and collaborate with other members about the work. 

Here is more on using Agile practices to improve your projects.

5 – Structural Problems

Preexisting Agile project management challenges and solutions, like failing to adapt to innovative ways of working with legacy systems and taking the wrong approach to rolling out Agile, can derail the practical introduction of Agile project management. Most organizations make the mistake of approaching Agile adoption with a central and in-depth mindset. 

While this approach provides a clear structure and determines the end goal early, it can lead to rollouts stalling. Businesses should start small and continuously adapt their systems and practices simultaneously when they roll out Agile methodologies. This allows enterprises to quickly spot structural pain points and make the necessary changes to avoid adoption problems.

Make sure to learn the differences of Product Manager vs Product Owner vs Project Manager before you set out.

Adopting Agile Project Management

Many businesses face the same challenges when adopting Agile methodologies into their workflows. Knowing how to respond to these common Agile project management challenges empowers business leaders to turn the adoption process into a positive experience. One way to ensure a smooth adoption is to use Agile project management solutions that provide modern methodologies such as feature-driven development, adaptive software development, Lean, Scrum, and Kanban. Not sure which of these solutions is right for you? See this comparison of Kanban vs Scrum vs Scrumban.

agile retrospective kanban

Teamhood is an easy-to-use project management solution designed to help professional teams visualize tasks and projects and collaborate remotely. It is geared with a Kanban-inspired dashboard that enables you to add team members and monitor progress to know where your project stands at the moment. Review actionable Agile productivity metrics and other automatically generated reports to push your efforts even further. Teamhood offers professional project management features for free.

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