Agile is a concept that includes many different approaches and frameworks used in project implementation. Since its appearance, Agile approach to software development have become extremely popular. Understanding the basics, however, is not enough – only by practice can one say that the organization is truely agile. How do you achieve that? We give clues!
What is Agile?
According to Agile Alliance:
“Agile is the beility to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, uncertain and turbulent environment”
Today, almost everyone, no matter what industry or position, faces uncertainty and volatility. Everything is changing faster, so the strategy of companies must respond to this dynamics without compromising the quality of work. This is where the concept of Agile methodologies comes in handy.
How to be Agile?
It is definitely worthwhile to gather knowledge on your own. The more material, videos you watch on this subject, the more questions you’ll see that over time will cause you to say, like Socrates: “I know that I know nothing (about Agile)”. And this is really a good starting point to take part in training sessions, to consult with agile coaches – especially if you are the decision maker and have undertaken the initiative to implement agile in your organization. Despite training and certifications, many organizations face the challenge of understanding the real Agile. Employees who quietly complain about “false Scrum” or being “Agile only by name” show that the company does not benefit from this management model.
What you might miss, the benefits of being Agile
- More efficiency through iterative work model
- Improved quality of delivered solutions
- Team spirit and mutual trust gained thanks to self-organization
- Improved communication through numerous meetings
So how can you really be agile?
Hundreds, if not thousands, of companies around the world are asking this question. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Companies face different challenges and are at different levels of Agile maturity. However, there are some aspects that can help everyone to improve their Agile project management techniques.
- Remember that Agile is a Mindset – to implement any agile framework, be it Scrum, Kanban or Extreme Programming, people really need to have an understanding of what an Agile approach is all about, and have the will to use it. If a framework is implemented „by force” without first talking to those interested (developers, testers), the effect may be counterproductive. It may be that in a team working on a particular project, the traditional methods (Cascade Model, Waterfall) will work better. It is important that the approach is implemented in accordance with the team spirit and needs of the project and not influenced by desire to follow trends, impress competitors or customers.
- Use the sources not their interpretation – for example, in the Scrum framework, the Scrum Guide is one such source that describes the principles of action in an easy-to-understand way. In Scrum, the Scrum Master is the person who makes sure everyone uses the Scrum rules, and in case of doubt, you can ask him for help.
- Ensure time for meetings – many people are complaining about the increasing number of online meetings in their calendars, especially after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each meeting can bring added value, provided that members are focused on its subject, does not exceed the time and it is attended by appropriate and engaged people. In agile frameworks such as Scrum, meetings form the pillars for communication. They take place at fixed times and are part of a larger cycle and therefore complement each other. For example, Daily Meetings help you focus on short-term goals, Review – review activities, and Retrospective – find places to make improvements. Avoiding meetings is one of the enemies of productivity and agile action.
- Appreciate the power of the team – last but not least, Agile is about people. Remember the “People and Interactions over processess and tools. Principal included in Manifesto for Agile Software Developmen. Your team consists of brilliant, mature specialists. You can trust that they will do everything possible to achieve the goals. The team in agile framework should be small but complementary. If you give your team room for self-organization, a truly agile approach is sure to emerge.
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