Introduction to Agile Practices
Computers have been the most popular mode of getting personal and professional work done. For the past at least 20 years, information technology and the software industry have also been in the boom. Since then, using agile development practices has been a way of life for IT and software companies.
Agile teams have a few advantages when compared to the traditional teams:
- They are more constructive, and hence, productivity is more.
- They deliver better quality products and services.
- They are consistent regarding customer satisfaction.
Agile methodologies are defined by their values, principles, and practices. The agile practices guide is generally derived from Scrum and Kanban.
A few of these practices are:
- Collaboration: When a customer comes in, he has his own set of requirements. Moreover, s/he comes in with the expectation of his/her requirements being fulfilled. This makes collaboration with the customer very important. One must be in constant touch with the customer and update himself about the requirements and changes. This helps in delivering the exact service/product as per the needs and wants of the customer.
- Daily team effort: Agile techniques and practices can only be practiced with teams. Members work together as a team and come up with the final product. There are six requirements of quality teamwork: communication, coordination, the balance of team member contribution, mutual support, effort, and cohesion. These requirements of a team should be ensured for the agile practices guide to be incorporated.
- Motivated individuals should form a team: A team is formed by several individuals coming together. So, the ultimate service/product delivered to the customer can be of the best possible quality if and only if the team members are in a cohesive manner. All the members must put sincere efforts into the project to be successful. This is only possible if the team members are motivated and the project is built around them.
- Pass on information face to face: It is very important that rather than communicating through various means of communication, one should communicate directly to the required person. When an individual is given information through another individual, there are chances of the information not reaching the way you want it to reach the concerned person. For example, if a mail is sent to him/her, then there are chances of the mail getting lost or being missed out upon by the receiver. This makes a face to face conversation very crucial.
- Self-organizing team formation: In self-organizing teams, the team decides the execution of the project. Who is given what responsibility, and who does what is decided by the team and its members? Work is divided into small chunks called iterations or workstations, and they are completed every day. Management does not have to supervise the team. The management trusts the team by making the right decisions. Every team member has to be extremely committed to his/her job for the ultimate goal to be achieved. The team needs to share, not just responsibility and accountability. If the goal is achieved, then it is an achievement for the team, and if not, then the team learns to adapt.
- Make teams more effective: Performance appraisal is done on a daily basis by agile teams as they focus on continuous improvement. They are open to coaching but do not respond well to the commands of the management. Team members should be open to self and cross-evaluation. This is the key to the improvement and development of the team.
- Set up workshops for stakeholders: Workshops should be set up for the team involved in a project and the stakeholders related to the project. This allows stakeholders to have a complete experience of the mechanism of communication within the team and the meetings being held. For e.g., stakeholders can assess sprint planning techniques and listen to the arguments about the entire process, planning, and the final product/service. The team may receive valuable feedback about the deliverables and collaboration efforts.
- Emphasis on time boxing: Time boxing is a mechanism used by individuals to address their respective concerns in a short time span. Sprints last according to the specified timeframes. It generally takes somewhere between two weeks to one-month time. Scrum meetings are very precise, and they last for just fifteen minutes at maximum. It often involves having deliverables and deadlines.
- Meetings to be held regularly: This refers to the meeting regarding the final workstation and its development. All the team members are requested and expected to attend this meeting. Customer participation is also encouraged. Chances of improving the processes, the quality of work, tools used, etc,. are discussed in these meetings.
- Burndown chart: This chart reflects if everything needed to complete a project is going on as per the plan decided upon in several meetings or not. It demonstrates the schedule and timing of work being done. Burndown charts will also show the number of user stories per unit of time, below or above your plan.
- Requirement prioritization: Requirement prioritization is done in Agile product management to ensure which requirement is being fulfilled first and which has to be fulfilled first. Product managers also take it up to ensure risk minimization. In this case, experienced product and project managers use well-known prioritization methods and techniques.
This has been a guide to Agile Practices. Here we have discussed the Agile methodologies, which are defined by their values, principles, and practices. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –