Agile software development has become increasingly familiar to businesses. In fact, Version One’s 2017 11th Annual State of Agile Survey reported that 94% of organizations are practicing Agile. It also documented the top benefits of Agile with respondents citing 88% increased in managing changing priorities, 83% increased product visibility, and 83% increased in team productivity. While you might recognize the effects of Agile software development on product management, productivity, and efficiency, it is indeed challenging to apply it. Because of its dynamic nature, trust, and focus on people and customers’ needs are of great importance.
Since 2008, Axon Active has focused on building an Agile working culture, applying the methodology in every tier of product development and removing hierarchy in the company structure. Here, we share the five tips that can help you improve productivity in your Agile approach.
Tip 1: Change your mindset
Always keep in mind that Agile is not rules, but a set of values that guides you to higher performances. Change your attitude towards the working culture of your team and how your software project should be done is the first step to effective Agile software development. Agile is a culture shift that won’t happen overnight. But you can start it right now by embodying respect, collaboration, improvement, enhanced focus on delivering values, and frequent inspection and adaptation. This mindset is essential to build high-performing development teams, who have the ability to create amazing values for your business.
Tip 2: Define your product vision
A clear written vision accompanied by well-defined goals and objectives will maximize your development team’s productivity. In fact, it sets the team on the most valuable tasks while minimizing least wastes possible. Vague goals bring about misleading results because of the lack of alignment, and collaboration across team levels. Yet a surprisingly big number of Scrum Product Owners failed to do the right things. Clear product map, clear “done” criteria with development team, and frequent feedback loops play significant roles in team performance. In such a case, it is wise to understand that different team members can set different goals for the product, and your pre-occupied expectations may turn out unrealistic in the end. It is advised to stay open about what you plan to do with your software product.
Tip 3: Enhance daily communication
Agile approach requires frequent communication. No matter how far you and your development team are, keep the conversation open and on daily basis. This is for no reason other than building trust and strong rapport with your team members. Agile frameworks, like Scrum, encourage you to have periodic meetings with your development team. If you go for offshore development, do pay them a visit and learn about their culture. Once your team’s trust is gained, you have secured deliveries of unique and original products along the line.
Tip 4: Be patient
When it comes to transformation, be patient. The bigger a company is, the longer it takes to shift its working methodology. A study on functions and features usability of custom software development applications engineered using traditional approaches conducted in 1996 by The Standish Group in the Modernization Clearing a pathway to success report has found that among the functions and features studied, only 7% were always used while 45% were never used. This is the very gap that modern-day Agile working methodology is able to address and help save the day. It does so by cutting down as much as 45% of never-used features which people unwittingly spent so much time, efforts, and waste building. Therefore, despite real agile transformation being a bit time-consuming, the Agile software development process promises successful delivery of spot-on software that is built on real needs through lean and empirical process in shortest possible time-to-market.
Tip 5: Stay committed to goals yet flexible in approach
Depending on different project requirements, you can always choose an Agile approach that works. Agile is about being flexible and adaptive to changes by increasing feedback loops and focusing on people’s needs. This helps you manage expectations while making timely intervention to the unexpected’s inevitably coming along the way. If you switch from Waterfall, be patient as it is not an overnight thing. Rather, expect instant communication and allow time for adaptation. Therefore, thinking long-term here is the strategy you should have on hand to accelerate the power and amplify the benefits of Agile. Axon Active’s software development process is based on the fundamentals of Agile methodology. In fact, we apply practices of Scrum and XP, as well as other Agile approaches like Kanban, TDD, and BDD. Our goal is to establish a process between you and your offshore engineers that is truly collaborative, effective, and efficient.
These five tips aim to give you a heads up on successful Agile application. Success in Agile application is, without a doubt, a shift in paradigm. It helps you narrow down to a single process framework (like Scrum). Meanwhile, it strengthens leadership and coaching skills that increase stakeholders’ involvement and compliance among involved personnel. All thanks to the effective communication that continually steers the ship toward a common goal.
The Standish Group International, Inc. (2010). Modernization: Clearing A Pathway To Success. From The Standish Group International, Inc.