The Essential List of Best Practices for Agile Ninjas
Originated in software development, the Agile methodology has spread and become popular in many industries as it focuses on continuous improvement, scope flexibility, team input, and delivering high-quality products.
There are many practices that have proven to be effective in Agile development, including:
- breaking projects into small releases to manage risk and accelerate feedback;
- time-boxing to limit WIP and keep everyone focused;
- relying only on working software as the measure of progress;
- simple estimating and using velocity to forecast team performance;
- working closely with the customer;
- continuous integration and continuous delivery to ensure that code is always working and stable.
The list of Agile best practices can go on and on. In this article, we are going to focus on practices that are of particular interest from a technical point of view and will be helpful to define the most effective way for software engineers to approach the development.
#1. Code standard
Using uniform code style lets anyone take another person’s code and work on it like on your own.
#2. Test-driven development (TDD)
TDD relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle: first, the developer writes an automated test case (that defines a desired improvement or new function), then produces the minimum amount of code to pass that test, and finally refactors the new code to acceptable standards.
TDD allows to write an effective and neat code that works; shorten the development feedback time and ‘time to market’ and as a result, cut development costs.
#3. Continuous integration
Continuous integration requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository several times a day. Each check-in is then verified by an automated build, allowing teams to detect problems early and develop cohesive software more rapidly.
#4. Code reviews
When a developer is finished working on an issue, another developer looks over the code. This practice is intended to find mistakes overlooked in the initial development phase, improving the overall quality of software.
Refactoring is a controlled technique for improving the design of an existing code base. It’s applied in a series of small transformations. However, the cumulative effect of each of these transformations is quite significant. By doing them in small steps you reduce the risk of introducing errors and avoid having the system broken.
#6. System metaphor
System metaphor is a way of defining the system using a commonly understandable vocabulary. It allows the whole team to talk about the structure of the software in a convenient and memorable way. A good metaphor is one that all team members can understand easily, remember, and always keep in the back of their minds.
#7. Small release cycles
Smaller releases are low-risk. If you have a short cycle time, you can release changes in small batches. And each change will be simple and easy to understand.
#8. Document late
This is a common Agile practice that means all deliverable documentation are created as late as possible – just before you need to actually deliver them. Less documentation, more fun coding.
#9. Design patterns
Design patterns are optimised, reusable solutions to programming problems (within a given context in software design) that allow to speed up development processes.
Are there good agile practices that you could add to the list?