How to Stay True to Agile Methodology
Agile Tuesday — Modernization Readiness Boot Camp
One of the best ways to be successful with agile is to just do it. The great thing about agile development is that when you fail, you can fail fast, and immediately begin fixing the issues.
However, the idea of staying true to the agile methodology can be a bit intimidating. Here are some tips from our agile experts for today’s Agile Tuesday, as part of the Modernization Readiness Boot Camp.
Stick to the Sprint
Following the agile process, when you have a two-week sprint defined, always try to closely follow what was agreed upon. Then make your changes in the following sprint. This strategy prevents you from running into issues where you’re defining your workload at the beginning of the project, then adding tasks, and then missing completion dates.
Imagine agile sprints as mini waterfalls. Within the sprint, you have tasks that have been assigned for the two-week duration. Stick to focusing on those tasks. Change comes after the sprint is completed, then you can evaluate and make decisions for moving forward.
It’s important to stick to the sprint because it was agreed upon at the beginning of each planning meeting. All stakeholders come together to agree upon these tasks and deliverables. Diverting from the plan can result in incompletion of originally agreed upon tasks. Don’t ruin your sprint timelines by adding workload to existing sprint.
Example: Quick tasks that could be assumed to be a short amount of time might consume more time, resulting in one of the already agreed tasks to not be accomplished. In that case, you have to re-evaluate your current sprint and may have to push current tasks to the next sprint, throwing off your whole timeline.
Clearly Define your Backlog
Your backlog should be established at the beginning of the project, giving you a rough timeline of all tasks that need to be completed. Backlog items can be assigned to sprints in a sprint planning session, allowing stakeholders to know what’s in the current sprint and what’s expected to be delivered in following sprints. This is a dynamic process that works to control workload and manage expectations.
Take stock of everything you didn’t manage to get into each sprint. Then define each bug, feature, or development need. These can be assigned later on.
An important principle in agile is transparency. Team members should be aware the project’s progress and what each member of the team is accomplishing. Making things visible for everyone is important.
A big help in this capacity is a SCRUM board. This is a space where you can organize the Backlog, tasks, workload, and progress. SCRUM Boards can be as simple as using Trello boards or using JIRA to organize tickets.
ABI – Always Be Improving
One of the core features of agile is that you’re always seeking improvement. This idea relates not only to each sprint and the project as a whole, but each contributing member. Everyone should strive to iterate and improve upon their work to deliver the best possible product.