SAS 70

Jun 9 2019   5:21AM GMT

Getting Started with Agile

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

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For something to be agile, it must be able to move quickly and easily. In other words, efficient and effective movement that’s adaptable to changing scenarios. As such, it’s not surprising that Agile is the name of the project management method that software developers flock toward.

When a project is managed under the Agile philosophies, it moves forward gracefully; quality is not sacrificed for speed. Before you being the process of implementing the Agile framework, take a few minutes to understand the road ahead.

What is Agile?

Agile is a project management style that focuses on streamlining processes by breaking larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and participating in continuous feedback to be highly adaptable to changes as they arise. The entire process is based around the highly renowned Agile Manifesto, which is the brainchild of a collective of software developers who collaborated to improve developer processes.

Agile requires a strong DevOps mentality, bringing together developer teams with operations to ensure consistent work. Additionally, roles and ownership of projects and tasks are defined in such a way that everyone should know what they’re doing and how it ties into the project at large.

For many organizations, particularly software development agencies, Agile has revolutionized the project management process and resulted in a more efficient, profitable business model. However, the steps to implementing Agile can intense, requiring change management and shifts in processes across the face of the business. Agile is not complicated, but it is complex; businesses should take the time to read and understand the Agile Manifesto before proceeding.

Implementation Tips and Best Practices

The main mistake most businesses make when implementing Agile is to try everything at once. The implementation should be handled like its own project, with steps toward completion and success metrics identified. Here are some tips for getting started with Agile:

  • Choose one project at a time – rather than shifting all projects over to the Agile process, start with one or two new projects that can act as an experiment. Review what works and what doesn’t before expanding to other projects.
  • Choose the right people – be selective when choosing your Agile pioneers. While you may have many people who will eventually be good Scrum Masters or Development Team members, they might not be right for the initial trials.
  • Introduce sprints – sprints are cycles of work conducted in Agile that include six phases: plan, create, build, implement, measure, and launch. Remember, rather than considering the project overall, Agile breaks the big rocks down into smaller micro-projects. Start shifting the processes to accommodate this mindset.
  • Start holding stand-up meetings – daily stand-up (or Scrum) meetings will become regular practice in Agile. They require each team member to stand up and discuss what they’ve accomplished since the last stand-up, what’s next, and the challenges they face.

It’s important to remember that Agile and “doing things fast” are two very different things. The decision to move to Agile and the implementation process should follow the same principles: take on small tasks and get them right before moving on and scaling up.

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