When I started my software development career, I was introduced to the world of agile best practices. At first, I was skeptical of the claims that agile methods could lead to superior quality work. However, after seeing the results for myself, I became a believer. Here are 5 reasons why adopting agile best practices can lead to superior quality work:
Agile Best Practices
Countless best practices, strategies, and methodologies have been developed for agile development teams.
Just as crucial are the best practices regarding how a group of people can better work together, improving communication between software developers, users, and the business is crucial for delivering valuable software.
Let’s discuss agile practices.
Collaborating with the clients
To ensure we’re delivering what customers want, developers have created various methods for discovering what customers need.
Previously, most businesses had their customers’ orders recorded at one end of the cycle, then delivered their products at the other end, with virtually no communication.
An agile team is in constant communication with its customers. By constantly collaborating with them and making sure they fully understand what will be delivered, they can deliver a finished product that fully meets the client’s needs.
Regular communication between your team and the customer ensures that you meet their needs and exceed their expectations. However, this can lead to them asking for too much, so you and your team must collaborate on how to address those requests.
The development team and the client work closely together to develop a better product. This may not match exactly what they originally had in mind, but the final product will be more sustainable and innovative.
Working together daily
The Agile Alliance states that many people often confuse a group working collaboratively as a “team.” A “true” team is one where all members work together towards a common goal.
Researchers from organizational sciences have identified the six components that make up teamwork quality.
Researchers have found that there are six different components to successful teams. Communication, or the ability to share and exchange information, is one of the most important. The ability of the team to be organized, efficient, and work together is also important. Finally, the amount of effort each individual puts into the project and the unity of the group are also important factors.
There is a strong correlation between the quality of a team, their performance, and the success of a project.
In agile development, team members are encouraged to work together to produce the best product possible rather than relying on processes or tools.
Working as a team helps everyone feel empowered and encouraged to take creative risks.
In agile, valuing individuals does not mean operating in isolation. Instead, it means being a team player and working with your team.
In order to deliver the most value to your customer, agile development teams need to interact with your business stakeholder constantly.
Brainstorming with your key stakeholders about new features, functionality, and user-friendliness is a great way to get fresh insights.
Business stakeholders are invited to offer their input in the agile teams’ “war rooms,” but they’re not there to tell the team members what to do.
Put together a team of highly motivated people.
In order to develop software efficiently, agile teams are motivated, focused, and supportive of one another.
When there is trust and mutual respect between team members, an Agile team can establish a steady, productive pace for their work. Establishing this type of environment requires work, but it’s well worth it.
The most efficient team works together, where the person who has the answer is always nearby. An agile layout allows employees to collaborate, brainstorm, and stay focused.
For quiet, individual work, the team can escape to private offices.
In psychologist Bruce Tuckman’s theory on team dynamics, groups go through several phases before they can work together effectively. These phases are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
As the team comes together, those who have been used to working independently become more flexible. They are willing to:
They would be willing to:
The team is willing to take on whatever role is necessary, collaborate, and adopt the processes that they believe to be most efficient. They’ll also work independently without needing to be micromanaged.
“Agile teams are empowered and motivated by constant learning from one another. This makes them an effective and efficient team.”
The members of an agile team that works well together and delivers quickly should be left alone. Reassignment or redistribution is the fastest way to kill motivation and productivity.
Teams that are allowed to stay together for more than one sprint are more likely to build rapport and trust with one another. This is because they can develop stronger relationships. It is also generally accepted that keeping a team intact is the best way to go, except in cases where someone new is needed. Job rotations, where team members switch roles, can be valuable in these cases.
If there’s a change in team structure, then everyone will have to start learning from scratch.
Face-to-face communication is best.
When working with teammates, it’s best to meet face to face. This makes it easier to understand each other better and work together to find a solution. Likewise, everyone should report on their progress in person at team meetings so that the whole team is in the loop. Attempting to communicate through an email or a voice message will only slow things down or halt the progress.
The daily huddle is a brief, 15-minute, in-person meeting with your team. This short, but important, gathering allows everyone on the team to sync up, address any obstacles, and come up with solutions.
Some professionals may find it difficult to admit a problem and trust their teammates to help solve the issue. However, the face-to-face conversation can help build trust between team members and make the Agile methodology more sustainable.
Geographically isolated teams and different time zones can make it difficult to coordinate work.
When you can’t meet someone in person, using video conferencing software like Facetime or a cloud-based service like Google Docs is the next best option.
PhoneVoIP or Group Text Messages are not good alternatives to conference calls.
Build self-organized teams
A self-organized team is responsible for dividing the work and assigning tasks to teams. They divide up the work in iterations and into daily tasks. This allows them to adapt to changing circumstances and ensures that everyone knows what to do and when it needs to get done.
Managers don’t micromanage. Instead, they trust their team to make good decisions.
For a team to succeed, each member must be confident in their abilities and willing to work together to overcome any obstacles.
For a self-organizing team, everyone is responsible for and accountable for the group’s success. This means that members must step out of their assigned roles to help resolve problems.
If a call doesn’t go according to plan, the sales team adapts and tries again. They don’t second guess or divert management’s focus.
An agile team’s success depends on its ability to self-organize and efficiently carry out an Agile software project. However, agile will not have the intuitive knowledge or experience needed to execute these duties without the proper training and guidance. By investing time into growing your agile employees, you can cultivate a high-performing agile team who can adapt and evolve as the project requires.
Even a high-performing team can benefit from having someone mentor them.
As a company, it’s key to allow employees the freedom to choose their processes, tools, and methods. This allows them to tailor their approach and work in a way that works best for them.
The company operates by providing the tools but does not control the use.
When collaborating with others, it’s helpful to use similar tools so everyone can communicate and collaborate easily.
Collaborating on a shared workspace or document makes communication easier and allows for better organization.
Consider how teams can improve their productivity.
The agile methodology is all about constant improvement. Teams regularly review their processes and find ways to make them better.
As individuals, team members are receptive to receiving mentorship and guidance from managers. On the other hand, agile teams are generally more independent and prefer to figure out things independently, as opposed to having someone tell them what to do.
One method for reflecting on your team’s effectiveness is holding a retrospective after each sprint. These meetings allow members to discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and how the team can improve. This continuous learning allows a team to improve continuously.
In a scrum meeting, each team member will suggest things for the team to start doing, stop doing, and continue doing.
The best sales teams take time to reflect on their calls and make adjustments to their approach.
As your team gains experience with agile, they will develop their list of best practices for working more effectively. These practices will help the team improve their productivity and, by extension, their efficiency.
While valuing individuals over processes, agile development teams still rely on numerous software tools to streamline their development process.
One tool that many agile teams use is the online kanban boards, which help them visualize their workflows, plan out daily tasks and keep track of their progress.
The visual display of the kanban boards helps managers spot problems before they happen and recognize success as it happens.
5 Benefits of Using an Agile Approach In Software Development Companies
Here are some of the most important benefits of Agile:
Increased value proposition
It is essential to have a compelling business value proposition in today’s economy and be able to deliver on that promise. Agile methodologies offer a higher value proposition than traditional software development methods. This is possible by increasing visibility, adaptability, and risk throughout the software development process.
Faster product delivery
While traditional development methods like a waterfall take much longer to complete, agile methods are much faster. In an agile process, a team works together to develop a product, test it, and implement it. Changes can still be made even after the product has been deployed.
Agile software development is incremental. This means that projects can be completed in shorter sprints. This makes them easier to manage and allows flexibility to make changes as needed. The Agile method allows for flexibility in making changes between iterations, unlike the Waterfall methodology, which doesn’t allow for backward movement.
Customers can adjust to meet their needs and expectations throughout the process. The agile software development team can respond to customer reactions and continuously improve their product because of their flexibility.
The agile approach prioritizes and organizes the backlog of work according to what the customer wants. These stories can be delivered in a minimum viable product, which helps gather customer feedback. Iterative and incremental development ensures that every project is completed on time.
The Agile approach allows for cross-functional and self-organizing teams that share ownership and maintain constant communication. This ultimately reduces technical debt (i.e., the cost of additional rework). Agile is iterative. This means that you can find solutions and solve problems quickly and efficiently.
The agile team can divide large projects into several smaller parts, making it easy to complete each. This ensures that the team can get a product to market quickly, rather than spending months working on a single project.
Adopting agile best practices is a great way to improve the quality of your work. By encouraging collaboration and feedback, automating testing, and following established principles like those laid out in the Agile Manifesto, you can create software that is superior in quality to what would be produced using traditional methods.