06 Aug Agile: 3 Key Factors
Agile methodologies bring big advantages to software development teams! As described in an earlier blog. using Agile helps development teams improve their project management, transparency, and quality assurance (QA). As with any methodology, it’s only effective if used right.
What is it that makes an effective Agile methodology work so well? As we all know there are a few different frameworks for Agile (SAFe, LeSS, etc.), but they all share some similar foundations that make them a success. Here we highlight the 3 key factors that are most critical for all Agile project management methods.
Agile teams are typically divided into small groups called POD teams. The PODs are cross-functional and multidisciplinary teams that connect design, build, and run in order to deliver the right customer products. POD teams are typically formed people that cover business, application, and infrastructure knowledge as well as key personality skills, which consist of 4-8 members. These coordinated POD teams tackle specific requirements that push the project forward.
The Right Mix
POD teams are very customizable, usually consisting of one leader that supervises meetings and the prioritization of tasks. Other than managers, team members can consist of developers, engineers, QA testers, and creative designers that complement each other. All of these specialties come together to orchestrate a self-sufficient team empowered to maximize potential. The mix also allows for ‘Unit’ and ‘Integration’ testing to done before the code is delivered for release
Strive for Stability
When Agile teams are properly formed, then you want to strive to make them stable by reducing personnel changes. The more Agile teams work together, the more they understand each other and learn about each other’s skills, therefore maximizing how much work can be taken on for each sprint. This solidarity leads to an improved Agile velocity to streamline deliverables to be fast, accurate and of the highest quality.
It is similar to any sports team. When a football team onboards 5 new players who have not interacted with each other before, there will be an uncertainty in how they perform. Nobody knows how the others play yet. But when you have a stable team that has been playing together for some time, there is a rhythm and chemistry that develops.
When teammates know each other’s skills, expertise, speed, and preferences, there is better overall output. This is the same for Agile teams.
Effective communication is a key ingredient in any team, regardless of the project; this entails the process of creating and interpreting facts, expectations, ideas, and opinions towards achieving goals. Good communication is what makes Agile teams foster constructive:
Not only is communication needed with each POD team member, but a strong connection between all POD teams helps ensure personnel on the project are on the same page. If any changes in the project occur, teams need to be able to talk about checking and aligning deliverables. For example, a new snippet of code can be sent back and forth between team members and/or POD teams to ensure coding standards and requirements are met.
As with football, squads need to huddle often to discuss their game-plan and alert the team of changes or opportunities that arise. Poor communication leads to mismanagement and bad results.
Agile projects must be metrics driven. Metrics are numerical measurements used for monitoring performance, tracking success, and driving improvements. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the important metrics that help track progress without drowning in numbers.
With metrics, Agile teams can more accurately estimate deliverable dates within specific chunks of time. This kind of time-tracking will help with the transparency of project completion with all stakeholders, providing the ability for teams to plan for their needed manpower, timeframes, and budgets.
Not much separates the 3 key factors of an Agile methodology from that of any other business initiative. Teamwork, communications, and metrics are what drive business projects forward. These project management foundations are used to successfully run agile teams and achieve business goals.
Luckily, there are technologies that help with the implementation of these 3 key factors within your Agile project team. Checkpoint Technologies helps businesses leverage expertise and software specific to Agile methodologies. Take a look at the products and services Checkpoint Technologies has to offer your Agile project management teams.
Sohail Haque, Director of Atlassian Practice
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