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By Pavel Kukhnavets

Go Agile

Learn the ways on how to go Agile in your software development.

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Agile development, Scrum or Kanban methodologies are all the buzz right now. Businesses always strive to save money while staying best-serving to their customers. However, they often forget the easiest way to get customer feedback – just ask the client. 

Agile advantages are based on the interaction with customers and the ability to change the course based on their feedback. This allows teams to quickly adapt as it studies and observes, rather than basing a project on assumptions.

Why go Agile? What does it mean to go Agile? In this post, we share the main reasons why companies strive to realize this movement, as well as the key benefits businesses they experience after implementing Scrum and Agile methodologies.

Go Agile

Why do companies go Agile?

As you remember, Agile exploded onto the scene in the early 2000s. Software development teams started to adopt the methodology for any kind of technology project.  

However, instead of focusing on innovations, many businesses found that they spent time and effort to change their way of delivering products to market, only to understand that investments never ended and the gains were never achieved.

Today more and more companies realize that everything depends on circumstances. Agile can be your powerful assistant in enabling you to quickly respond to market changes and deliver a higher value in a short time.  However, remember, that go Agile doesn’t mean getting a golden ticket to guaranteed rapid innovation. 

Agile requires commitment from the entire company

Moving to Agile takes commitment and hard work from the IT staff and product development as well as from everyone involved in the product life cycle. In order to make this movement successful, your marketing, sales, HR, finance, engineering, and other teams should be surely involved.

Your company may select product managers from the impacted departments or they can leverage someone from a centralized PM team to gather and prioritize system functionality. To adopt cultural changes, the HR department must ensure that support for Agile-driven processes is included in plans and objectives across your organization.

Common Reasons Why Businesses Are Adopting Agile

There are many reasons why organizations and teams decide to go down the Agile path. They all strive to get better business results, no surprises here.

We’ve tried our best to compile a list of the most common reasons why clients decide to adopt Agile. So here it is.

1. Creating the right products 

Thanks to the incremental delivery, Agile-focused teams can build the exact features and products that their customers will actually use. Delivering in smaller increments allows customers to see the emerging product, respond to it, and tweak it as they go. That is why we can frankly admit that Agile helps customers and the team converge on the best possible outcome.

2. Fast time to market

Many specialists that decide to go Agile are really fed up with long months of delivery cycles that often deliver wrong products to the market.

Two-week delivery cycles in pair with quarterly release cadences have valuable advantages. Competitors and markets are moving too fast, so it is worth getting the working product out the door as fast as possible.

3. Better quality 

When companies fix costs, time, and scope, the only thing Agile developers have left to manage is quality. The method fixes costs, time, and quality and provides the tools to vary the business and technical scope of the solution.

4. Regula feedback

Sometimes, many features produced are not ever used by customers. If only teams could spend that time they use to build stuff their clients didn’t want and focus their efforts on creating stuff they’ll actually use… Regular feedback is what makes our work simpler and more effective.

5. Early ROI

Sometimes companies strive to see the value in thin-slicing their user stories. They miss several sprints and then decide to give thin-slicing the old concept a try. They have no success in sprints, however, they have successfully delivered an increment of working software that is of value to the business. 

6. Early risk reduction

Risks are not a separate area that needs management, according to Agile. However, by delivering early and getting feedback, you can reduce the risk of creating something wrong. 

By focusing on possible risks in the early sprints, you decrease the risk that you will not have a solution that can be built in time.

7. Efficiency

Often big upfront plans turn out useless in the long run. People working in the functional silos are not performing very well together. Their work can lead to churn and back and forth behavior. Agile helps to avoid the stuff you don’t need and get down to the business of creating working software.

8. The company’s culture 

Some groups strive to go Agile because the culture in their company really sucks. Agile promises to create teams of empowered individuals. Teams that will work on the highest priorities of the business with a shared sense of purpose. When Agile is done well, it promotes creating reliable and demanded places to work.

9. Alignment

If a team is not organized around the product or other business objects or when the technology infrastructure is owned in more than one place – this is all about alignment. Agile assumes having cross-functional teams that support products. This is a simple expression of alignment that people get.

10. Emergent outcomes

There are always people who don’t know what they want to build or how to build it. Some of them try to create products for markets that don’t exist yet using innovative and cutting-edge technologies. Agile helps to build software when you have to explicitly account for the fact that you’ll have to learn as you go.

11. Customer satisfaction 

Delivering products your clients can use will make them happy. There is nothing worse than investing in a product that doesn’t work. Agile assists teams in building partnerships with their customers, where they are working together to get problems solved.

Go Agile

How to Go Agile Without an Agile Transformation

Agile transformation is what many organizations adopt nowadays. However, Agile transformation only makes sense if it is ultimately about transforming the whole business to be more agile (it is about focusing on customer value and collaboration, being more responsive to changing circumstances, being quicker to market, etc.). This is because it is quite a fool’s errand if it is about just one team or group of departments.

Even if you have a fully cross-functional team with a high level of autonomy, the culture of the company around it will need to evolve to ones that support this team and delivery model. This is not easy for sure. That is why Agile transformation is often a complex and costly undertaking that may take years to succeed.

However, there are some reliable ways you can go Agile right away. Here are some of them:

Change the way you ask questions

It is worth thinking about changing the way you usually ask questions during meetings or conversations. 

Agilists typically ask the question: “What’s the quickest way to get value to the client?” By asking this question, you’ll make the first step towards your Agile future.

Keep in mind a customer focus

Finding like-minded people who may want to collaborate with you on a problem from the client’s perspective is a good idea. Think about how you can accomplish this story in a way that the feature is easy to change, won’t break anything else, and you get value to clients sooner.

Visualize processes

Determining the bottlenecks in your team’s current process is the next important stage. Visualize all the steps, and see where queues form. Decreasing the number of queues will boost the speed of value delivered to the clients and the business.

Add more feedback to meetings

Try to find a couple of minutes at the end of every meeting to ask your colleagues about their ideas on how to improve this meeting. Their feedback will help you to make the next meeting better.

Estimate deliverables as capabilities

While planning the events, frame all stories or work items as capabilities. Consider who will benefit from implementing this work item, what capability you are looking to give them and why it looks beneficial. 

Work on the right thing

Do not hesitate to demonstrate your work to the top management. Ask their opinion. Executives often think that slowness is an execution problem. However, in most cases, it is in many cases a prioritization one.

Improve yourself

Finally, it is also a good idea to deliberate time every week or day to reflect on how you work (both individually and in the team), and what you can do differently next time to work more effectively.

Agile is about a cultural shift

Sometimes Agile fails. It may happen because businesses do not base the move to the new method on accountability and creating a culture of empowerment.  

Simply transition to iterative development will not be enough for an organization to reap the advantages of Agile. 

Clear roles, accountability, and authority across the company is key. Creating DevOps teams is one of the methods that many businesses have adopted to help foster this accountability. Developers are responsible for developing new functionality as well as for supporting the cloud or hybrid environment where the product is live. This works well for the technology team, but the business needs to be equally invested. 

However, we sincerely believe that “going Agile” brings substantial benefits to many companies.

Conclusion

Over time your team could become Agile experts. At least, the team will learn how to work extremely efficiently together and be ready to tackle the next project.

Maybe you will fail. However, you will have plenty of things to learn from. Go to Agile takes time, the right people, and some appetite for failure.

Now you know how it works, so, do not doubt to start implementing Agile and demonstrate success!