Agile is the capability to create and respond to changes in a system. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and unsettled environment. The originators of the concept chose the term “agile” to represent the adaptive nature and response to change that was essential to their approach. Agile may have had its roots from the world of software development, but its ways of working are beneficial to industries outside of its origin.
In present times, Agile has spread its tentacles beyond software development to a different aspect of the working system. It is dedicated to collaboration, communication, and iteration. Agile methodologies have been used by development teams to reduce delivery time, reduce waste and risk, and respond rapidly to new trends and opportunities. The agile method is geared towards continuous improvement and can significantly increase project prospects for success.
Since its inception, the agile methodology has provided flexible options for project management. It helps you dismantle large projects down into more manageable tasks, which are tackled head-on in short iterations or sprints. This enables your team to adapt to change quickly and deliver projects fast. Agile methodologies seek to make every stage of a project beneficial to both the team and the clients. Specific platforms like Planless follows the ideal of agile by providing tools which promote flexibility that can foster changes or adaptability when a client changes their mind.
The Agile Manifesto outlines four core values that serve as a guide for any team adopting an agile methodology. These four core values are:
1. Individuals and interactions supersede processes and tools: Although technological advancement has taken centre stage with the advent of software and tools that seek to ease the entire process, the human factor will always serve as an essential role in any project management. Relying too heavily on methods and tools results in an incapability to adapt to changing circumstances.
2. Working software over comprehensive documentation: A detailed documentation is essential, but working software is much more. This value is all about giving the project teams precisely what they need to get the job done, without overloading them.
3. Clients’ collaboration over contract negotiation: Your clients are one of your most powerful assets. Whether internal or external clients, involving them throughout the process can help to ensure that the output meets their needs more effectively.
4. Responding to change over following a plan: This value is one of the most significant paradigm shift from traditional project management. In old times, change was seen as an expense that should be avoided. Agile allows for unceasing change throughout the cycle of any given project. Each sprint provides an opportunity for review and course correction.
Iterative planning: Agile is essential for its flexibility, and the key to its increased flexibility is an iterative approach to planning. This means that instead of creating a blueprint at the outset of a project when understanding is at its lowest, the plan should happen continuously at every stage of a project through a process of inspection and adaptation. This enables the direction of the project to change and evolve as understanding grows, and further details of requirements emerge, as well as in response to current market conditions, stakeholder input, and user feedback.
There are several initiatives that benefit from iterative planning. By incorporating regular reviews into an on-going campaign, for instance, with Planless a team can quickly drop activities that aren’t yielding results and re-invest in more productive areas. You could also apply an agile approach to upcoming product launch, reviewing the priority of associated tasks as new requirements come to light.
2. Iterative delivery: Agile’s methodology is also iterative in its delivery. It focuses on the completion of individual tasks so that projects can go live at any point as a lightweight deliverable. There are different ways in which different agile framework manages delivery, but the most suitable one is dependent on industry requirements. The Planless platform utilizes the Kanban framework to execute tasks, with limits placed on work in progress to ensure that the most valuable items are delivered first and that bottlenecks are identified and resolved at an early stage.
3. Estimation and prioritization: Breaking your requirements down into precise similar tasks will make it easier to assess the effort needed to complete each task, supporting and streamlining any subsequent estimation activities. Once estimated, you’ll also want to prioritize tasks according to business value, although the definition of the cost is dependent on specific goals and objectives. It is essential for prioritization to be done using tools that are in line with Agile’s iterative processes so that you could review your lists as the project progresses. This will help deliver a backlog of tasks that are up-to-date, and it will enable the quick amendment of delays when feedback is received. The Planless platform provides you with a tool that visualizes what you want to do and limits work in progress (WIP) so that the workflow is improved as you measure and optimize the time to complete the task. It also gives the team a visual display of what is coming up next, which makes it easy to reprioritize, uncover process problems and prevent tasks from stalling
4. Communication and collaboration: The true potential of the Agile methodology can only be unlocked if there is a cultural shift in teams. A change that will foster effective collaboration is vital and will provide the team with the insight needed to keep tasks aligned with slated strategic goals and ensure that the team is addressing real-world requirements and in the right contexts.
It’s therefore imperative that a team looks for effective ways to communicate amongst themselves. Additionally, tools such as project management solutions can also support productive communication, and adopting these tools may give you positive end-user feedback at an early stage.
5. Team structures: Several agile frameworks recommend limiting the core team size to between three and six, a model that can help numerous industries to maintain focus and speed. This is to ensure projects are delivered as efficiently as possible. The ‘core team’ was initially used to refer to developers, but in recent times, it is relevant in several other fields. Indeed, the goal of the structured team should be to build teams that are empowered to take hold of tasks and make decisions, while maintaining effective communication and collaboration to keep the project aligned with strategic goals.
It is an established fact that moving to the Agile methodology may be challenging for a team at the initial stage,but going on board the Planless platform provides you with tools to ease the transition. The Planless Kanban board fosters team agility, defines the main status of your “in progress” work and gets a quick insight into the stage of each task. The platform promotes agility by recalculating the steps when something is changed in the task.
Before you begin your journey into the world of Agile methodology, be reminded that it is a defined strategy, and following the process duly will help deliver projects effectively.