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20th February 2020
Agile is an approach to project management that challenges the traditional ‘Waterfall’ method of development.
With Waterfall, the stages of design are followed sequentially. Each stage must be complete before moving onto the next stage. This means that any changes in the brief will require the entire project to return to the first stages of project management for specification and planning before any action can be taken. This takes time, wastes resources, and can result in a project that doesn’t deliver the client’s needs.
Agile offers something slightly different. The vital stages of project management are still followed, but are broken into smaller sub-projects. Each stage of the project follows the same process, but on a smaller scale which allows for a more focused workforce and a more flexible way of working.
In the technology industry, speed is everything. Innovation is a race, and the most efficient developers invariably win. Agile Development allows you to release each stage of development as soon as it’s ready, with newer functionalities added at a later date. This enables your project to be the first on the market, at the forefront of innovation instead of becoming one of many.
The technological landscape of 2018 is incredibly fast moving. A novel idea at the beginning of a project might be obsolete by the end, so it’s important to have the flexibility provided by Agile to account for changes. With Waterfall, last minute changes will cause expensive delays. The Agile Methodology allows for adaptation without the need to send the entire project back to the first stages of development/
Agile Methodology requires consistent communication with the client. Your project manager will receive feedback from the client frequently, which enables you to create a product that you know fits their brief and their needs
Not every customer has a firm idea of what they want or need at the time they create their brief. The product they want at the early stages may not incorporate emerging technologies or the new ideas that have arisen in the time it takes to develop it. With the flexibility of Agile comes the assurance that the end product will still be fit for purpose, at a preferable time frame.
The Agile methodology has begun to exceed project management. It’s becoming a part of company culture in which speed, flexibility and communication are key. Put simply, Agile methodology enables our company to deliver a product that suits our client’s needs implicitly. This could be to a time frame, functionality requirement, or a changing brief.
In a nutshell, it means that we work in an incremental approach on several different elements of a project simultaneously to ensure efficiency.
There’s a lot more to Agile and the way it works, but below details the primary ways that we manage projects and people in this framework to ensure our teams are fully engaged and our industry-leading product is constantly being enhanced and improved.
A sprint is one time-boxed iteration of a continuous software development cycle. Within a Sprint, is planned amount of work that has to be completed by the team and made ready for review. A sprint is no longer than two weeks which means we’re constantly releasing updates and are team feel they are constantly achieving deliverables.
For our people, it is vital in the agile environment that everybody has an insight into the project; who is doing what, if there are any obstacles, and whether another team’s work will be impacting yours that day – we do this by conducting daily scrums and stand-ups.
A scrum is a meeting that must adhere to a set structure. It’s run by a scrum-master who ensures everybody observes the rules. It’s a 15 minute long time-boxed event where only the software development team speak; it’s not time for the product owner or stakeholders to say their piece.
A scrum is based on analysing the progression towards the sprint goal and identifying anything that would impede the project. It works to three questions:
A stand-up is a very similar process to a scrum, but has some important differences that ensure it’s considered a different process. At Zinc, we’re working on several different agile projects at a time. In order to ensure that we can cover everything that we need, we chose to choose a stand-up instead of a scrum. A stand-up works in a similar way, but is less constrained by rules.
A stand-up still happens every day, and but allows every member of the team to say their piece. We choose to follow the three question format, but allow for longer than the 15 minute total time limit, and include other members of the team aside from the development team. That’s because here at Zinc, our developers work closely with Product and Project Managers, Engineers and Analysts. It’s important that everybody working on a product has the chance to understand its progress and discuss the impediments it could be facing.
Each member of the team will stand, go through each project they’re working on to align everybody with what’s happened in the last day, and the progress made. We work as closely as we can to the principles of communication, preemptive action and efficiency.
So now you are Agile experts, if you’re looking for a development team that ensures effective, efficient product development, speak to Zinc. We’d love to be a part of the next step for your business.