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What is agile project management?

Agile project management is a way of working in which projects are driven forward across teams and in stages in short, time-limited cycles (sprints).

Agile project management is a way of working in which projects are driven forward across teams and in stages in short, time-limited cycles (sprints).

This means that you do not plan the entire project process, but concentrate on precisely defined sections within a project. This form of project management is suitable for all projects where it is important to be able to react flexibly to changes.

This form of project management is suitable for all projects where it is important to be able to react flexibly to changes.

True to the word agile, which translates as agility and flexibility. Those who are agile react proactively, quickly and flexibly to changes and unforeseen new events.

Definition: Agile project management
Agile project management describes a form of project management that reacts flexibly and proactively to unforeseen events, new requirements and changes. This applies not only to the structure of processes, but also to organizations and the people involved.

How does agile project management work?

The 5 phases

In agile project management, a rough concept is drawn up at the start of the project. The project team has high tolerances in terms of quality, scope, time and costs. In addition, the client is heavily involved in the project work and the focus of the work is primarily on the result and user acceptance. Economic requirements, such as adherence to costs and fulfillment of a specified service, naturally also play a role, but one that is subordinate to the aforementioned objectives.


In this phase, the project and the overall product are first designed and the needs of the end customers are determined. This phase also determines who is to work on the project and who the stakeholders are.


In this phase, the initial requirements for the product are drawn up. The teams work together to create a list of the features of the end product and then set milestones for the project schedule.


When working on the project, care is taken to ensure that the project specifications are adhered to, but the teams also investigate alternatives to fulfill the project requirements. The teams work iteratively on individual milestones before moving on to the next milestone.


The delivered results are reviewed and the teams adjust them if necessary. This phase focuses on changes or corrections that arise from the perspective of customers and employees. Constant feedback should be given to ensure that every part of the project meets the requirements of the end users. The project should improve with each iteration.


The results achieved are reviewed and the teams adjust them if necessary. The final project is measured against the updated requirements. Errors or problems that occur during the process should be reviewed to avoid similar complications in the future.

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What is change management?

American scientists first used the term change management in the 1930s. A short definition is:
“Change management refers to the implementation of selected measures to bring about far-reaching change in departments or the entire organization and to move from an initial state to a defined target state.”
If companies only optimize individual processes, this is not change in the sense of the definition. In change management, structures, processes and behaviors are changed “profoundly” and with a specific goal in mind.
Typical examples of change management objectives:

Success factors in change management

Business know-how, project management expertise, the right technology and psychological sensitivity – a number of different elements are needed to make change projects a success.

Three of the key success factors are:

Set specific goals

Sales figures are falling. The sales management therefore considers it necessary to change the incentive model and calls for a change project. What exactly should be achieved? How will success be measured? When should the model be introduced? In order for the team to develop effective measures, a clear goal must first be defined. SMART goal formulations have proven to be effective. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attractive and time-bound.

Involve employees
One location has been in the red for a long time and is to be merged with another. This brings critics onto the scene. Instead of just pushing through the new course, HR and project managers should listen to critical employees. They may well provide important ideas as to why it is worth retaining at least some tried-and-tested structures. As employees are directly affected by the change and have to support it, the change can only succeed if they are involved in the process.
Proceed methodically
The responsibilities between the various sales teams are to be redistributed. However, there are tensions in the new teams: Old privileges have been lost, some feel left out or would have liked a different position. How can HR provide support? Such situations are confusing and not easy to resolve. HR managers should not rely solely on their gut feeling. Clear planning and a methodical approach help to resolve such challenges professionally.

Risks for success in change management

What could cause your change project to fail?

Three major risk factors for change failure are:
Neglecting corporate culture
A common mistake is to plan change projects like normal projects. Organizationally, the merging of locations can perhaps be carried out within weeks. But the corporate culture only changes slowly. It can take months or years for the teams to fully adapt to the new situation. Such factors must be taken into account in the planning. Discussions, coaching and team workshops can be suitable measures.
Do not set priorities
The new CEO wants it all. He calls for a change project to achieve more innovation, customer proximity, agility and expansion at the same time. The result: due to the many changes, many mistakes are made, employees are insecure and demotivated. The company gets bogged down and ends up in a worse position. If you tackle too much change at once, you run the risk of making the situation worse. As a manager, you should therefore set clear priorities at the start of every change process and change individual areas step by step.
Plan too few resources
Not only does the budget for the change project have to be right – it also needs sufficient time, personnel and know-how for the change to be successful. After restructuring, employees need intensive training for new tasks. During this time, they cannot work on day-to-day business. Managers should carry out a precise inventory and plan existing resources realistically. Otherwise, the goals cannot be achieved; the will to change and the enthusiasm of the employees will quickly evaporate.