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Your Go-To Guide to Agile Workflow

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Your Go-To Guide to Agile Workflow

In this article, we will let you know all about the Agile workflow and how you can successfully apply it to your project.

· Agile Zone ·
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With dozens and dozens of companies entering the market every year, one has to contemplate various project management processes that are best for tackling the industry challenges.

Agile is the most popular approach in the project management paradigm so it’s quite obvious that most of the companies and their project managers want to know what the Agile workflow is.

In this article, we will let you know all about the Agile workflow and how you can successfully apply it to your project. Reading this, you will come to terms with everything from Agile development principles to the principles, using which you can increase the productivity of your business.

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Agile Methodology in Project Management

Agile is a marvelous project management methodology that immensely increases the success rate and the efficiency of a project. How? Well, it does that by using these steps:

  • The first step it takes is that it breaks apart the project into smaller individual cycles which makes it easier for the team to deal with all of the components individually.
  • The next step is to involve all of the relevant customers of the company, in the decision-making process. This will allow you to get important feedback from the customers regularly which you can then implement to produce the perfect product.

How Is Agile Workflow Different Than the Others?

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Well mostly in the organization paradigm, all of the project management methodologies that the managers only incorporate user feedback about the project, after the product has hit the market.

That’s why other methodologies like the Waterfall model are only capable of handling one big release in the time of six months or so.

While methodologies like the Waterfall method enable you and your team to work without any outside interruptions, it can decrease the effectiveness and the efficiency of the product before it even reaches the market, just because you didn’t test it first with your customers.

Agile processes, on the other hand, include customer engagement at every step. This helps them understand the product and let you know if something is not right with it which you can change.

Four Key Elements of the Agile Methodology

Before we go into the details of the Agile workflow that goes behind the workings of the methodology, you need to understand some key terms that are an important part of the product development process.

A. 12 Key Principles of Agile Methodology

  1. Whenever the company is developing a product, they have to remember that customer satisfaction regarding the product is the top-most priority. To achieve this, you need to keep the customers in the loop and make changes accordingly.
  2. The managers and their team members need to understand that they have to be alert and open to embracing all of the requirements whether or not they are changing even if the product is at the very end of the development process.
  3. You need to make sure that the customers are presented with the working builds of the product whenever possible. This will help you get constant feedback from the end-user and build the perfect project that the customers will love.
  4. In the Agile methodology, success is defined as a product that completely satisfies the needs and requirements of the customer.
  5. You need to understand that when you are creating your Agile workflow, you need to do it around some highly motivated and capable people. All you need to do then is to provide a productive and peaceful environment for them to spread their wings and give you the perfect project.
  6. You and your team have to perform at their highest when it comes to dedicating your time and expertise to create the most perfect product that fully satisfies the needs and requirements of the customer.
  7. All of the team members and the concerned stakeholders that are connected to the project have to be on the same page without any complications. This is important for a seamless progression of the product development process.
  8. All of your processes that rely on the tests being performed on different factors affecting the project, have to be quite sustainable. In addition to that, your Agile team must give their all while working to maintain the speed and quality of the work being done.
  9. One thing the managers need to understand is that when it comes to collaboration and communication with their troops, they need to make sure that it is face-to-face so that there are no blank spaces and everyone is on the same page as far as the development process goes.
  10. Looking at the stats gathered from the market, it seems that the teams that are better at self-organizing have the best chance of being successful and providing the perfect working software. This means that the status hierarchy is not something that needs to be nailed down during the development process and the team has to given the space to do their own thing.
  11. When it comes to projects that are being developed via the Agile methodology, you must make the process easier and easy to be implemented and for that, you need to eliminate all iterative procedures that are not necessary for the development process.
  12. The managers need to monitor and evaluate the performance and productivity of their troops at regular intervals. This helps them keep everyone in check and devise better and more productive strategies for future projects.

B. Product Backlog

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Whenever you are working via the Agile development methods, you need to start by creating your product backlog to fall back on. This backlog consists of all of the ideas and different tasks associated with the development process of the product.

When you start to create the backlog, it consists of all of the rough versions of ideas that the managers, stakeholders, and the team member have brainstormed. Don’t worry, as you move along in the project development process, it will slowly start to take shape.

How will that happen?

Well, as you incorporate all of the customer feedback that you receive, you will get a sense of the direction that your project needs to take to be successful and be widely accepted by the customers. This is how the backlog grows and grows, as more feedback comes in and you make steady progress.

The items included in the product backlog need to be:

  • Prioritized in such a way that when the team monitors it later, it needs to highlight all of the most important user stories gathered.
  • Well-defined in a way that the development team can easily understand the reason why the feature being worked on is going to be highly beneficial for the user.
  • Precise in a way that it ensures the duration and time frames of the tasks about to be performed and that they won’t waste any of the team’s or the company’s time.

C. Sprints

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Sprints are the parts of the development cycle in which the team takes action on the items that were added into the product backlog.

They are small development cycles whose goals and objectives are set at the start, that are needed to be completed in a certain amount of time. They are mostly 7 or even 10 days long.

D. Agile Meetings

Source: Dzone

One thing that the managers need to make sure to do is to conduct regular meetings among the team, themselves, and the stakeholders. This will make sure that all of the entities associated with the project development process are well-informed and there are no scope creeps or black spaces between them.

There are two kinds of meetings that take place in the Agile workflow:

  • Daily Stand-ups
  • Sprint Retrospectives

Agile Workflow Process

Now we will see what an Agile Workflow process looks like and how does it work?

As Agile methodology is used heavily in the software development processes, we will focus on that. However, the Agile workflow remains roughly the same no matter what type of project you’re working on.

Agile Software Development Cycle

Here are some of the typical software development processes in the Agile methodology.

  • Conception: This is the stage where the project you want to work on is envisioned by experts and all of the tasks and goals are planned. To put things into play, first, you make a product backlog consisting of every little brainstormed detail and then plan out the sprints.
  • Inception: Now that everything has been envisioned and well thought of, you need to create specific teams that are needed to complete all of the required tasks in their respective sprints.
  • Iteration: During this stage of the Agile software development cycle, the development team starts to work on the sprints assigned to them in the last step. This will enable you to tackle all of the items mentioned in the product backlog.
  • Release: Once the work on the sprints has been completed, you need to make sure that the product at hand gets to the customer base as soon as possible. This will enable you to get their timely feedback and perform any changes that they deem necessary to make the product a hit.
  • Retirement: This is the step where all work is ceased on the project and the manager puts an end to all Agile workflow activities, marking the end of the project development process.

How an Agile Workflow Is Created?

There are four different steps that you can use to create your Agile workflow. They are:

1. Forming

The first step that your team needs to take is that they need to understand all of the principles regarding Agile. This will enable them to make their own decisions, as they move further in the development process, about choosing the perfect Agile practice for the situation they’re in.

While Forming, keep these three things in mind:

  • Going over Agile events like daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint retrospectives
  • Implementing and understanding the Agile specialty roles
  • Understanding the various Agile principles and the rationale behind implementing them

2. Storming

In this step, you start developing the required backlog consisting of all of your tasks and ideas brainstormed by your team and stakeholders. Furthermore, you need to divide all of these tasks from the backlogs into their respective sprints.

Involve your team in the process of forming sprints, because at the end of the day they are the ones that have to execute them. This will make sure that all of the sprints that you create are realistic and no unnecessary demands are being asked to be completed in an unrealistic timeframe.

3. Norming

In this stage, you need to start defining the roles of all of the people involved in the project development process. You’ll have to work out what team members will be better suitable to what sprint so that the whole development process goes seamlessly without any interruption.

If you are working on an Agile project, you need to select a:

  • Project manager
  • Product owner
  • Project Team
  • Project Stakeholders

4. Performing

This is the stage where your team goes to work.

When they are doing so, they need to make sure to follow every principle of the Agile methodology that we have studied earlier so that there are no obstacles in the development process and there is a constant improvement linked with the whole process.

Once the team has completed their assigned work and you have a working software beta at hand, you need to make sure that the managers supply this beta to the customers for feedback generation. This enables you to get timely feedback from them and if there are any changes required, the team can work on them and make the product flawless.

One other thing to do is that you need to use the right set of tools when it comes to Agile workflow. Here are some of the features that an Agile workflow tool should have:

  • Facilitate Team Collaboration
  • Document the product backlog
  • Plan all of the sprints

Conclusion

Creating and implementing an Agile workflow seems quite daunting at first but it never needs to be that difficult. Just follow everything that you read in this article and you will emerge victorious in your quest to make the perfect product using Agile as your savior.

Topics:
agile ,agile adaptation ,agile advantages ,project management ,project workflow

Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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