The world is dynamic meaning that change is inevitable. Industries force businesses to keep up with these changes. No matter how long your project takes to realise, many aspects of your environment will be subject to change. Throughout the course of your project, many changes can occur in your customers, industry, competition or even your team(s). Adopting agile methodologies means cultivating a flexible outlook that adapts to dynamic industries. It’s called “Agile” because of its ability to accommodate change. Agile methodologies emphasise partitioning work into iterations, with each iteration delivering a minimal viable product (MVP), or enhancements of said product. The MVP helps the customers experience your product. Despite the changing environment of which your business is subjected to, the only measure of progress in such contexts is literally the delivery of the MVP, or functionality your customers are expected (or should) use. Agile methodologies are intended to help your team minimize production loss, and to avoid developing unwanted aspects of your product (or features).
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Agile Methodologies and organisational flexibility
Even now, companies implement complex approaches in an attempt to secure the uncertainties of the future. This method is often rigid, inflexible, and unresponsive to the dynamics of the industry, often referred to as the „waterfall“ approach. Adapting to the changing milieu helps companies respond to customer feedback, which is crucial to your product’s success. This feedback helps you make implementations wherein your customer gains a new (and better) understanding of your product. Throughout the course of the product’s development, especially after you’ve introduced it to the customer, wouldn’t you rather augment the product than engage in an entire re-planning process? This is exactly where agile can help you. Agile methodologies can be scaled, with respect to your project demands, number of teams, and the scope that project entails. When using an agile method keep in mind that:
- Agile does not limit developers to certain techniques or methods. This gives space for your team to innovate and discover optimal ways for implementing requirements;
- Agile is flexible enough to permit adaptation to your organisation;
- Agile methodologies employ variable approaches, such as different software development techniques.
The transition phase between each iteration is focused on acquiring customer feedback. Early detection of issues found in your product, from the customer’s point of view, will help you adjust your product accordingly. The team engages in consistent and constant testing to ensure that customer feedback is seamlessly integrated. When the team receives the customer’s feedback, they use it to determine the context of that feedback and where it fits among their priorities. A common thought is that, „there is no planning in Agile if all you do is evolve iteratively“. In some cases that may be true, some aspects of your product may spontaneously evolve without you being aware of its direction. It’s important to give room, and possibility, for this to occur. Nevertheless, agile methodologies encourage planning under the condition that those plans are flexible and responsive to those environments where those plans are situated. According to Shane Hastie, the Director of Agile Learning Programs for ICAgile and founding chair of the Agile Alliance New Zealand, agile should not cause your team to ignore design principles. Agile still needs analysis to review impactful decisions and assess what changes are necessary. Shane Hastie expressed that, “There is nothing in the agile manifesto about not planning the overall structure of the product from the beginning”. This integrated natural alignment towards planning allows agile companies to lower their risk by working on what is actually necessary, and avoiding waste in the process of the project’s realisation.
Agile Methodologies and customer feedback
The diagram above represents how the iterations (also called sprints) (could) work. Keep in mind that a cycle, or aspects of an iteration, may be adapted to the team’s purpose. The diagram above is merely an example of a possible iteration cycle. The cycle perpetuates infinitely, there is no end to it (unless the project has really come to an end). Each cycle releases a functional prototype, or improvement of the prototype, to stakeholders and customers. The upcoming iterations are based on feedback obtained during review cycles of previous iterations. The ‘requirements’ phase is where the business defines what is needed. This depends on the initial purpose of the project or customers’ feedback on previous iterations. After defining the requirements, the team responsible will begin the development phase. Once development is complete, acceptance tests begin to ensure quality compliance. The team tests regularly, and actively, throughout the entire engagement of the work. When ready, the developed prototype is released to the customer. Feedback is gathered from customer, and stakeholders, who use this product. This feedback is reviewed thoroughly by the developing team and thus the cycle begins anew.
Apart from changes in customer’s needs, other changes are expected to take place such as in the economy, laws, team, business competition, etc… It may not be necessary to accommodate all of these industry changes, but some cannot go unnoticed. If these industry-impacting changes are not properly accounted for, the organisation may suffer the consequences of its neglect. Agile methods help businesses reduce the impact of these unplanned occurrences allowing you the flexibility to adapt on-the-flow to changing organisational dynamics.
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«Dediziert den Wert Ihrer Teams aufdecken.»
Die Erfahrung von Sufi im agilen Beruf hat ihm geholfen Prozesse, Ziele und den Wert von Teams zu identifizieren. Mit Know-how im Agile Requirements Engineering und verschiedenen agilen Methoden (Scrum, SAFe, LeSS, Kanban, ScrumBan, etc….) engagiert sich Sufi dafür, die Qualität Ihrer Teams und deren Affinität zu agiler Mentalität aufzuzeigen.