There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear someone question me on ‘Agile’; the new kid on the block. Being an Agile evangelist has its own perks and one of them is being treated as living and walking encyclopedia on Agile. The recent one being; “So, is Agile the latest Fad in the Industry?” was the first question which I encountered during one of my ‘Agile Workshops’. The room was filled with people who’ve had Agile forced on them and haven’t figured out what it means to them. They were there to attend the workshop only because they were forced by the management to do so and some of them were there just because they were curious to know about this term ‘Agile’ which was used everywhere.
I agree that within a gap of few years in Information Technology, a new messiah appears who claims that some new ideas are going to revolutionize the industry. Industry experts from each of these newly introduced ideas have claimed that the new method will be the answer to the universe. Same applies to Agile; Industry veterans say that Agile is the best-suited methodology for running ‘fast and efficient’ projects.
But the questions are: Do we compromise on quality for speed? Does the so-called Agile Mantra really exists or is it more of a hype? Who really benefits from this whole ‘Agile’ way of working?
Frankly, 7-ish years earlier, I would have been in the same shoes as you with my mind being bombarded with all these questions, thinking Agile is the new project management fad. Back then, I, too, didn’t have a clue even close to why everyone was going berserk about Agile implementation. Had today’s me existed alongside 7-years-ago me, I would have known the clear answer to this question.
Been There, Done That…
Well, based solely on personal experience, I stand by all the arguments for using an Agile approach. There is a very famous quote which I connect to today’s industry; “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney”. I have worked on both Agile as well as traditional waterfall projects, both from developers and managerial perspective. Based on my experience, I firmly believe that Agile is the new door today which is fast becoming the preferred way to manage projects.
Many people wonder who really benefits from agile and how. Below, I will walk you through five important reasons to apply Agile principles and values and how everyone can benefit from it in the long run.
1. Interested Stakeholder
Agile preserves the interests of all stakeholders in a project, be it the client, project manager, development team or testing team. Everyone has clear visibility of the project which is the key aspect for the success. Agile development principles encourage active ‘user’ involvement throughout the product’s development and a very cooperative collaborative approach. This provides excellent visibility for key stakeholders, both of the project’s progress and of the product itself, which in turn helps to ensure that expectations are effectively managed.
2. Productive Team
Agile teams are self-organized, which means that they have the authority and responsibility to agree upon the work to be done directly with the product owner. This is different from most non-agile projects, where the project manager is responsible for assigning the work to teams, or even to team members. This gives a sense of ownership to the team and increases the team morale and results in increased productivity.
With incremental delivery we have faster time-to-market and, thus, higher revenue. This all churns up to increased level of satisfaction for the customer which is the key takeaway from Agile application.
The most dreaded name in project deliveries is Quality!! Unlike the traditional waterfall model , where the testing starts only when the development has completed, in Agile we start testing as soon as we are ready with the requirements. Thus testing is integrated throughout the lifecycle, enabling regular inspection of the working product as it develops. This allows the product owner to make adjustments if necessary and gives the product team early sight of any quality issues
5. Fun Part
One of the best parts of implementing agile is that is enjoyable. The team is actively involved and thus make the working place more enjoyable with their involvement, collaboration, and cooperation. We have fun ways of estimating the task by planning poker games and cards, discuss the progress of work by creative task boards, innovative ways of conducting the regular meetings and many more other fun elements in the Agile project. In my experience, this is a more rewarding approach for everyone.
Like any other mantra, Agile, too, has its own fair share of fans and critics. Critics love to point out the drawbacks of Agile and how it is undisciplined as compared to traditional waterfall model. But Agile is all about VALUES! Values can never be fads. You believe in them and cherish them , or you don’t. Agile, like any other new idea, should be understood properly and applied whole-heartedly or else it will never live to its initial promise. On a final note, I leave it up to you to cherish the ‘Agile Values’ and build better and better products based on them.