Your 10-step guide to Agile Implementation

Not sure how to go about with your first Agile project? This article is a step-by-step guide.

Agile is all about speed and efficiency, a must-have in today’s dynamic business landscape. It combines the best practices and proven approaches to accelerate software development and optimize project management.

In our previous articles in the Agile series, we looked at how Agile helps modern-day enterprises stay ahead in a competitive environment and what are the various Agile methodologies that have developed over the years.

Due to its many benefits, companies across the globe are waking up to the need for embracing Agile for their software development and project management needs. Although it is simply about putting together the best practices, getting started with Agile could sound a bit overwhelming. This article takes you through a step-by-step Agile implementation roadmap making Agile adoption a cakewalk for you and your team.

1. Determine your Agile Readiness

Before you get started with your first Agile project, evaluate the readiness to implement Agile in your organization. Is Agile suitable for the upcoming project? Is your team willing to accept the change and adopt Agile? Is your client happy with an Agile-based project? A clear understanding of Agile readiness will help you chalk out a meaningful roadmap for implementation.

2. Pick the right methodology

Several Agile methodologies have sprung up to meet diverse project requirements and are widely being applied. Some of the most popular Agile frameworks are Scrum, XP, Kanban, Crystal etc. Although all Agile methodologies focus on speed, flexibility, quality and efficiency, each one has a slightly different approach. While Scrum emphasizes on changing client demands, XP aims at delivering best quality product. Pick a methodology that best suits your project demands.

3. Appoint a project manager

Agile project management is slightly different from traditional project management. Traditional projects follow a hierarchy where the team follows the roles and responsibilities assigned by the manager. However, Agile involves active participation of all team members in decision making and implementation, while the manager acts more like a facilitator of the project. Appoint a manager who understands the nature of Agile well and would help the team get through the project successfully.

4. Plan the Sprints

Most Agile projects are carried out in phases, each phase known as a Sprint. Activities are divided into small tasks to be finished within Sprints and the duration of each Sprint may vary from 15 days to 30 days. Before starting product development, gather your team and plan each Sprint, clearly defining the activities to be accomplished in each Sprint. It establishes clarity and sets standards to be met.

5. Define roles and responsibilities

Agile is all about achieving efficiency and delivering high quality results. While planning your Sprints, it is important to assign appropriate roles and responsibilities to each team member, based on individual competence and expertise. This reduces confusion and ensures that each member works to their fullest potential. Also, each member should be well aware of what is expected out of them and can focus on their core activity, thus achieving greater productivity.

6. Keep track of progress

The best part about an Agile-based project is the fact that each step in the product development journey is constantly monitored to ensure things are on track. To ensure successful accomplishment of your project, create a quick checklist, identify errors and fix them immediately before you move on to the next stage. Continuous monitoring and improvisation through the project ensures high quality end results.

7. Involve client in the process

One of the key features of Agile is that it involves active client participation in each stage of product development. As you move along, keep your client informed about the progress; get feedback and improvise accordingly. This ensures that changing client requirements are immediately and effectively addressed, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.

8. Test the product

Although Agile teams constantly test the product throughout the development process, it is important to test the product thoroughly before it is released. This final testing includes a full system and end-user testing, and fixing any outstanding defects before the release.

9. Release the product

This is what it all boils down to; the release of the finished product. Once the software or application is complete and ready for release, it is a good practice to gather your team and plan the release effectively. Write an in-depth release plan with instructions on how and when the product will be released to the end-user. Follow this standard release plan and launch your product in the market.

10. Extend support services

Once you’ve successfully released the product, the project is nearly complete. However, there are some post-development tasks that need to be carried out. It could mean spending some time with the client or end-user, training and assisting them with the new product usage, fixing issues and enabling a smooth transition.

Agile is spreading widely and gaining huge momentum in software development. Several businesses have already adopted Agile and are seeing better results. Follow this 10-step road map to implement Agile effortlessly in your next project.

Top Agile methodologies you need to know

Adopting Agile in your software development is a strategic business move, but choosing the right method is critical for success. This article will help you understand the top 4 Agile methodologies in detail.

In a fast paced and dynamic world, time is literally the money. Traditional methods of software development were a thing back then, but they lack the speed and flexibility that modern day software projects demand. That’s where Agile gets all the limelight.

Agile is a software development strategy that combines the best practices and proven methods to deliver results faster and ensure effectiveness.

In our first article in the Agile series, we discussed about the concept of Agile and the many benefits of adopting an Agile strategy to execute software development projects. Over time, Agile enthusiasts have come up with numerous methodologies for software development, which are being used widely by enterprises to enhance speed and ensure continuous delivery. In this article, let’s take a look at the top 4 Agile methodologies that are shaping up software development in the 21st century.

Scrum

Scrum is the most popular and widely followed Agile methodology worldwide. The Scrum framework was designed to address two critical pain points of software development; speed and changing client requirements. In this approach, the software development project is executed in phases, each phase known as a Sprint. Also, small teams of 5-6 members are created, who collectively work towards the desired results.

The Scrum methodology allows active client participation at each stage, so that any required changes are addressed immediately and acted on. This ensures that the project is delivered within time and meets the client demands effectively.

Extreme Programming (XP)

As its name suggests, Extreme Programming methodology aims to put together the best practices of traditional software development and takes them to an extreme level to ensure high quality deliverables. The XP methodology tries to simplify the entire process of software development by taking the most simple and straight-forward approach, rather than implementing complex functionalities.

These codes are reviewed and tested on an ongoing basis throughout the project so that any bugs or issues can be fixed immediately and the desired software quality can be attained. Also, similar to the Scrum approach, Extreme Programming involves a lot of client interaction and addresses customer feedback/suggestions through the project, leading to maximum customer satisfaction.

Lean Agile Process

The concept of Lean first emerged in the 1950s in the manufacturing sector of Japan, where production activities were strategized in a way to reduce wastage and costs. Later, the concept was introduced in software development as a major Agile methodology. Lean software development tries to identify the business value to be delivered, creates a planned workflow and seeks perfection at each step.

The methodology focuses on reducing redundant tasks and wastage in software development. Wastage, in software development would mean writing wrong codes, reworking, or even inefficient usage of time and resources. Since Lean is all about achieving perfection, it is an ideal methodology to follow in both software development and other business projects. It helps businesses reduce the cost, time and efforts involved in software development, leading to increased functional efficiencies.

Kanban

One of the areas of critical emphasis in Agile is the ability to ensure continuous delivery. The Kanban methodology is designed on three basic principles that ensure continual delivery, without overloading the software development teams.

The Kanban framework ensures that the teams do not commit to more than what they can deliver in a day, the work in progress is visualized and reviewed each day, and when a task is completed before time, the next task in line is taken up immediately. This allows the teams to plan activities on a daily basis and deliver defined outcomes every day.

In a short span, Agile has grown and evolved to be one of the most important project management and software development strategies. There are various Agile methodologies in practice today, and many more to come. Agile is no more a good business practice, it is gradually becoming a culture.

Agile Software Development – What is it and why do you need it?

One of the recent and most significant developments in the world of IT is Agile software development. But what is Agile all about, and why do you need it? This article explains it all.

The Oxford dictionary defines Agile as the ability to move quickly and easily. In other words, agility is the quality of understanding, acting and accomplishing things quickly and efficiently. However, the term has become exceedingly popular in the world of IT.

What does Agile have to do with information technology? Is it a technology, a product, a solution? In this article, we will take a close look at what Agile is and how it is beneficial for modern day enterprises.

How did it all start?

Software development is a complex process and IT companies know it pretty well. It involves a list of deliverables including specific software programs, conception, designing, implementation, testing and documentation. If it wasn’t any complex already, it is also subject to constant technology upgrades and changing client/business requirements.

The complexities involved in software development are known to slow down the product lifecycle and fail to deliver the desired business value. Businesses felt the need for a more robust and scalable approach to software development. They sought after a method that could speed up the whole process, while ensuring quality and delivering business value. That’s when Agile was born.

So, what is Agile?

Agile is not a tool or solution. It is a set of best practices and methodologies used to optimize software development. It is a bridge that tries to connect the gaps in the development process and deliver the end product faster. A typical Agile framework is distinguished by some key features.

Phased approach
Instead of following a linear approach and verifying deliverables at the end, Agile establishes a stage-wise product development approach; each stage known as a “Sprint”. At the end of each Sprint, the completed tasks are verified and passed on to the next Sprint.

Collaborative
In contrast to the traditional style, Agile follows a team-based approach, bringing together the planning, development and testing professionals to complete the project successfully.

Client involvement
It also includes active client participation at each stage so any changes or requirements can be addressed immediately.

Visualization
Agile uses a number of tools to track individual and team progress in real-time and compare progress with defined deadlines.

Why choose Agile over traditional software development?

The concept of Agile software development sounds convincing, but is it something you need? Whether or not software development is your bread and butter, following industry best practices always has its own advantages.

Continuous delivery
Traditional methods of software development are slow and mundane, and are known to delay product deliveries. In a dynamic IT world, little delays could cause costly repercussions. It is a time-poor world and clients always look for continuous delivery. By introducing Agile framework in your software development, you can shorten project lifecycles, release products faster and improve the overall ROI.

Complete transparency
Getting lost in the lengthy, complicated procedure of software development is quite natural. Agile solves this issue by making the whole process transparent. Right from the moment a project begins; Agile breaks it down in multiple phases, establishing clear visibility at each stage. This feature of Agile software development makes it highly transparent, understandable and most preferred by clients.

High software quality
The entire concept of Agile is aimed at delivering high-quality software and applications to the end user. By adopting a team-based approach to software development, Agile ensures better coordination among development and testing teams, allowing them to fix functional bugs immediately. Also, since the progress is tracked at each phase, the quality of software is constantly under check, leaving little scope for errors and glitches.

Enhanced customer satisfaction
Under traditional software development, the client reviews the software/application right at the end of the project. It leads to confusion and chaos if the client is not satisfied with the outcome. Agile puts an end to this problem by involving stakeholders at each stage of the development process, right from planning, designing, development and testing. The client is also aware of progress at each stage and can suggest changes in real-time. It ensures that client requirements are well addressed and the end user is happy.

Like all other niches, the software development industry has grown and improved phenomenally; and Agile has led to this revolution. Over time, numerous Agile methodologies like Extreme Programming (XP), SCRUM and Crystal have evolved. The best method for your business would vary according to your business and project type. However, implementing Agile in your project management or software development creates a win-win situation for both your internal teams as well as your client.