For years, the Agile methodology has been regarded as a cutting-edge approach to software development. This collaborative, project management-based take on development comes straight from the experts in Silicon Valley and is being adopted by developers around the world with the goal of getting things done in a hurry.
By reorganizing your IT efforts to follow the Agile methodology, you can change your approach to development for faster software delivery.
Why use the Agile approach
To look beyond Agile for creating a faster development process, you must first understand why this is such a crucial step in your business. With the Agile approach, you increase your chances of having a successful launch rather than failing. This is because you have more coverage and focus on a single project, rather than a divided approach to multiple IT functions within an organization.
Additionally, you are more likely to stay on a timeline with this approach by limiting the number of defects and testing continuously throughout the process, rather than waiting until the end and being required to backtrack.
Through your efforts with Agile, you’ll drastically reduce the time it takes to create a program. Some teams following the process are able to cut their project timeline from months to a matter of mere weeks. Finally, all of these changes culminate in one key factor that you can’t ignore: significant cost savings and more money in the bottom line.
Before making the switch
There are a lot of different factors to consider when thinking about making the switch to the Agile methodology of development and looking at the big picture beyond those steps. For example, you need to think about:
- The size and structure of your business
- Your operating system: Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.
- Current issues you face with development
- Your current offering in regards to products and services
- What changes need to be made to adopt the Agile methodology
- Other options to compare and contrast
- Time taken to understand the Agile manifesto
- Change management considerations within the organization
Changing your approach to development and reorganizing your IT department is a bit of a project in and of itself, therefore you need to treat it as such. Many organizations opt to scale their approach to Agile adoption, starting with a small group and expanding as needed.
Scrum isn’t just a rugby play, it’s also an important aspect of the Agile approach. This process framework outlines how projects are handled within Agile, making it a subset of the overall approach. Scrum takes on an approach similar to the traditional waterfall method for project management and outlines some of the roles and titles used for the process.
To follow the scrum process, you’ll need to become familiar with the Agile process as a whole, and adopt the use of development cycles called “Sprints” and “Extreme Programming” (a.k.a. XP).
When taking the Agile approach, you’ll need to identify a ScrumMaster within the team. The ScrumMaster acts as the project manager or taskmaster, keeping everyone on track and ensuring things are moving forward. The ScrumMaster works to add cohesion between the efforts of the team and the Product Owner, driving productivity and ensuring everyone adheres to the Agile process.
When you choose a ScrumMaster, you want someone who is well-versed in the Agile manifesto and can both explain and train the Scrum processes. The ScrumMaster often runs interference, keeping the team on track and free of distractions from others. It must be someone who can empower the team and be an effective leader, both within the IT department and the organization as a whole.
The Product Owner is the main touchpoint for all inquiries about the project, whether from customers or the business executive, to help keep the Team on track and focused. The Product Owner is responsible for keeping all the logs and information up-to-date and sets the launch schedule. They are responsible for creating and maintaining a critical path, with daily actions and steps forward.
The Team consists of all the worker ants who come together to make this project happen. They must be able to work in both a collaborative setting as well as setting individual goals and conducting solo work to keep the project moving forward. As the Agile project approach is largely self-managed, it will be up to the team to assign themselves tasks and get the work done during the sprint portion of the process.
The key to having a great Team is finding the balance between too many people and not enough. By not having enough people on the team, the workload becomes too substantial. By having too many, communication errors occur and collaboration becomes a struggle.
As implementing the Agile methodology usually means restructuring the entire IT department, it can be challenging to implement. There are two general approaches to reorganizing the IT department for faster software delivery overall.
Rather than diving into the Agile methodology, take bits and pieces from the approach and apply it to your existing system. As you implement these changes, you’ll get a better idea of what reorganization needs to take place with your people before adopting the method fully.
You may also opt to take the scaled approach, as mentioned before, either by adopting parts of the process into your current approach or by making small changes toward implementation over time. It’s up to the leadership within your organization to decide which approach to take.
Another common route taken is to have an outside Agile expert come into your organization and help implement the changes. This allows everyone in the IT sector to focus on actionable items rather than dealing with the stress of a chaotic internal approach.
Whichever route you choose for implementing the Agile methodology, whether you opt for the full manifesto or just adopt the Scrum approach, do it right the first time and your organization will benefit from faster delivery. Your customers will be happier, your processes will be more efficient, and your software will be more profitable.
If you choose to go agile in your effort to deliver the best quality software to the market and make it really fast, you better find partner who has experience and expertise that match your need. Contact Intellias and we will help you apply agile software development practices and build a team to deliver on time, on budget, on scope.