Making Sense’s Natalia Martinez describes what’s in store if your organization adopts an Agile development approach
Agile has become the preferred methodology for almost every software company. The end point of any digital transformation or DevOps initiative is business agility. And it’s no wonder: Benefits of adopting agile development include reducing risk, boosting productivity and establishing a more sustainable development environment.
One of the most attractive advantages of agile is its ability to increase productivity during development. The methodology includes 2-week sprints, daily standups, sprint planning, retrospectives and a backlog.
Becoming Agile provides a great number of benefits and there are some key factors that you should consider:
1. Risk Reduction
Staying on top of risk is a key element for team success. First, it must be quantified, then managed, and finally some areas of risk can be reduced, if not eliminated altogether. This paves the way for more predictability. When teams follow the protocol of fixed iterations designed to minimize time and work expended for each component, projects are more likely to come in on time and on budget.
Teams thrive when they’re anchored by innovative leadership styles that reflect the right goals and values. Within Agile methodology, those goals and values are flexibility, highly efficient output and the ability to adapt. And conversely, leadership needs to drive accountability within its own ranks, even while promoting Agile values for team members. In other words, an agile team needs agile leadership to back it up.
3. Continuous Flow of Value
Organizations need to be constantly delivering value. That goes for every team, every team member, and every step of the entire process. The end product must show value. But every team that works to produce that final product must be delivering value on a regular basis as well.
This requires Agile coordination and synchronization of all the teams, not just the team that delivers the final product. If Agile is applied only to a portion of the entire process, the business will not benefit from maximized results of the Agile methodology.
Agile development is designed to provide teams with the means to develop products that are scalable and that can fulfill specified requirements. Delivering value means delivering a product that meets customer expectations. On the technical side, teams strive in three areas:
- To write code that minimizes defects, to the best of their knowledge.
- To minimize technical debt over the long term.
- Ensuring their product is built with quality and reliability from the start
These goals allow the team to strive for what is called ‘technical excellence’. Over time, paying attention to technical excellence can actually make teams more predictable, since they now have a clear and measurable way to define ‘completion’. Technical excellence also provides a mechanism for verifying completion.
5. Early Feedback & Adaptation
Getting customer feedback early and often is essential to the process. Teams learn from customer feedback and when they factor this into their plans early on, they can much more efficiently arrive at an MVP that satisfies the customer.
Agile teams incorporate a philosophy of transparency during the development process. This not only serves to keep key stakeholders informed and engaged; it’s also how we construct the means to get the product in front of customers as early and as often as possible.
The benefits of adopting Agile development approaches have much to offer organizations. Steve Denning once said:
One of the reasons we talk so much about Agile development at Making Sense is that we’ve seen it work… time and time again on project after project. It’s probably obvious by now, but we’re huge fans of this approach, and hope that over time, we can show how and why it works so well for us.
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