Agile development is a methodology for producing software that involves the use of collaborative and cross-functional teams to engage in continuous planning and deliver incremental milestones. The agile development approach emphasizes maintaining lean workcycles and it is typically used to generate minimum viable products (MVPs) that go through numerous iterations, based on user feedback and market insights, before being finalized.
The agile development framework is based on a number of other software development frameworks, such as Scrum and Kanban. Many experts suggest that this approach to software development enhances the adaptability of a company and its software developers, and enables teams to effectively work together towards one goal.
If you decide to deploy the agile development approach at your organization, there are a number of best practices that you should keep in mind.
The agile development framework allows you to craft and deliver products based on short timelines. These timelines can range from a few weeks to a few months, and enable your team to product MVPs that can be shipped and evaluated often.
As you consider how to generate work timelines and expectations, you should always prioritize shorter timelines that permit you to release more products and garner more feedback from your users. However, when developing these timelines and associated tasks, ensure that you do not sacrifice the quality of your products. Always ensure that your products exemplify technical excellence.
Build Trusted and Collaborative Teams
In order for you to effectively deploy the agile development framework, you must build teams that are composed of talented, motivated, and adaptable individuals. These teams must have support, trust and a positive work culture in order for them to thrive. In addition, these teams should be allowed to self-organize as they will have a strong understanding of their individual strengths and limitations.
Self-organization also encourages accountability among teams. The agile development approach involves multiple moving parts, and you need to be able to rely on each of your team members to manage their workload efficiently if you are going to reach your goals.
You should also foster a culture in which team members are encouraged to ask for help and ask questions if they are confused. Remember, your team is only as strong as your weakest team member.
Because the agile development methodology requires you to continuously iterate on your offerings and collect and incorporate vast amounts of data and insights, it is important that your organization is composed of cross-functional teams that can translate new tasks and information across the company.
These teams, especially the business teams and the software developing teams, must work together regularly in order for the methodology to be effective. As a result, they should have consistently open communication channels.
Listen to Your Customers
If you would like to satisfy your customers, then it is imperative that you listen to their feedback and clearly understand their expectations.
When deploying MVPs, you must ensure that user feedback collection is a central portion of your process. As you continue to develop subsequent iterations of your product, this feedback should be continuously implemented in order to improve the quality and relevance of your offerings.
Once you have shipped a final product, you should still maintain feedback channels with your users, as they will be able to tell you how your product should be refined going forward, and also provide valuable insights on what other competing companies are offering them, which can help you adapt.
Don’t be put off if your customers provide you with a large amount of feedback. This is all valuable information that can help you improve. If you are deploying the agile development framework correctly, then you will constantly be in touch with your customers, and will be using your communication channels to obtain information and insights on expectations, bugs, and other related topics.
Implement Sustainable Processes
In order for your organization to truly become an agile one, you must be able to implement and deploy the agile development approach in a sustainable manner. This means that you must task and equip your teams to maintain a continuous pace of work, regardless of what project they are working on.
Agile development is not effective if it is applied to only one task or project. It must be comprehensively implemented. As your teams continue to produce deliverables, encourage them to reflect on their past work and ideate how these insights can be used to improve future work in the long run.
The agile development framework emphasizes face-to-face communication as this enables for information to be transmitted quickly and clearly, and ensures that valuable communications are not left unread in inboxes.
Face-to-face communication is encouraged across a range of situations including problem solving, daily reporting, or when giving feedback. In addition, many teams have found that holding standing daily meetings enables teams to sync up regularly, identify any problems, and ideate solutions quickly.
Face-to-face communications also helps build trust and open communication channels. This is especially important for teams that are composed of remote employees or teams that are scattered across multiple geographies.
If your team is broadly distributed, make sure that you invest in a high quality video conferencing program, and encourage your colleagues to use it, as these are able to deliver better long term results than phone calls and other less personal methods of communication.
What are the best practices you haven’t implemented yet? What best practices are we missing in our list? Share your thoughts and your product idea with us and let’s get moving. Contact us today!
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