What is Agile Software Development? And The Best Agile Practices

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What is Agile Software Development?

Agile is a method of project management, particularly for software development. It is aimed at dividing a task into short segments with frequent reassessments and modifications in the plan. In simple words, Agile is an approach to deal with abrupt and uncertain situations by finding ways to adapt to them.

What is agile software development

Agile Software Development and its Principles

Agile software development is a term that covers a set of practices and frameworks that work on the principles of Agile Manifesto. These principles help to figure out the right thing to do in a particular situation. In this approach,

  • There is more focus on how the people in self-organizing teamwork collaborate to find solutions.
  • It gives freedom to the team to decide with what approach they would deal the things.
  • The managers could be there or not.
  • Such teams are cross-functional.
  • There is no assigning of particular roles, but the right skill sets must be there.

Agile software process

The manager’s task is to ensure that the team possesses the required right skill set and works in an encouraging environment. The manager becomes active only when the team is unable to resolve the issue. Besides this, there should be specific technical practices to deal with developing software to help the team deal with uncertainty.

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So, the mindset behind this approach is to find better ways of developing software by facilitating others working on the project, getting feedback, and acting accordingly.

A little about Scrum

There are many frameworks under Agile like XP, Crystal, Kanban but Scrum is the most popular. Scrum is the framework applied to manage product development. It establishes a hypothesis for a team about how something works. They experiment, reflect on the results and make necessary adjustments.

What is scrum

Scrum allows the teams to mix and match practices from other frameworks suitable for the team’s context. When a cross-functional team is working on product development, there is a splitting of the work into 2 to 4-week iteration. The team is expected to exhibit commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect for peers.

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Best Practices Of Agile Software Development In Organizations

Agile development practices are the foundation of software success. It encourages the team to self-organize while working on projects and improve their methodology and collaboration. Some Agile practices include:

Sprint Planning

At the beginning of the sprint, a meeting with the team, scrum master, and the product owner refers to sprint planning. The idea is to initiate the team for success. The product owner, while presenting a prioritized product backlog, discusses each point with the team. They estimate the efforts required and the right skill set and make sprint forecasts and next sprint’s plans.

Daily Standup Meetings

The team, scrum master, and product owner meet daily to discuss everyone’s issues and the progress made daily. It is a short and light meeting. Such meetings help to build accountability and transparency. Every member feels encouraged to report the progress.

Sprint Retrospective

It is a meeting that emphasizes the progress of the team rather than on the project. It is held at the end of a sprint. In this meeting, the participants talk about the achievements of the previous iteration. They also find the solution for the weaker aspects of the progress made. This Agile Scrum practice leads the team towards continuous improvement by analyzing the team’s performance even if things are going great.

Discussion of the Product Backlog with Stakeholders

In Scrum practice, the backlog is essential to document the vision of the product shared by stakeholders. It leaves no ambiguity in project requirements and the needs of the client. The team gets to know more about the stakeholders, which also leads to a mutual understanding of the outcomes.

Inviting Stakeholders to Scrum Meetings

It is always good to invite stakeholders to the meetings. It helps both parties to understand the dynamics of the project team. As a result, stakeholders can deliver specific feedback to the team.

Investing Time in Team Building

Team building activities are always fruitful. They help the manager to make sure that the team possesses the potential for the task. It can also be done by involving the members in informal meetings, trips, or dinners. It can be achieved in official activities like presentations and conferences.

Setting Standards for Communication

During Agile software development, remote communication can be problematic because there are great chances of missing important details. So there is a need for defining communication guidelines, documenting them, and distributing them to all the team members.

Prioritizing Tasks in the Product Backlog

Organizations need various backlog prioritization techniques. Such as:

  • HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion)
  • MoSCoW (must-haves, should haves, could haves, won’t haves)
  • Kano Model

It includes five categories. From most to least prioritized

  1. Must be,
  2. One-dimensional qualities (users’ satisfaction with the presence of a feature)
  3. Attractive quality (users are happy with the presence of a feature)
  4. Indifferent quality (users don’t consider feature)
  5. Reverse quality (users dissatisfied with the feature)

Business value (power is given to the product owner)

Planning More Sprints

Planning more sprints becomes essential when the product backlogs have enough tasks. This may be a consequence of any scope creep.

Manage Bottlenecks and Visualizing Dependencies

This Agile practice helps to manage bottlenecks and their impact on work. The dependencies can either be functional or technical. The Identification of dependencies leads to identify bottlenecks and reconsidering them.

How Agile Helps Developers?

Agile is all about teamwork. It helps developers break down the whole project into manageable chunks so that the team can attend to the more essential things in an organized manner, such as testing, development, and collaboration. Agile helps the teams deal with different project pitfalls, including schedule predictability, cost, and scope creep in a controlled way.

Mentoring is another useful aspect of Agile. The knowledge of the code spreads among the team when they cross-train one another. One way to do it is code review which protects the quality and makes the group familiar with it. This means the development does not wholly rely on a single developer. The developer is free to share the weaknesses and the strengths of the project.

Some of the additional benefits that come with Agile for teams include

  • Superior quality product
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Improved project predictability
  • Alleviation in risks
  • Improved flexibility
  • Enhanced improvement
  • And better team morale, among others.

Agile helps the developers and organizations to plan how the development process will move forward. Agile does not comprise a single procedure; instead, it is a group of strategies and practices based on the Agile Manifesto. It is not meant to solve the problems in software development but establishes a culture of combined growth.

Agile Certifications

Agile has become an essential component in the IT industry today. The demand for Agile professionals triggers the need for Agile certification. Agile certifications give the developers and organizations global recognition and make them stand out among the crowd.

PMI-ACP The Agile Certified Practitioner

 The Agile Certified Practitioner are project management professionals whose organizations are moving or practicing to Agile. The certification is proof that the person has experienced managing Agile projects, including Scrum, Lean, and Kanban.

ICAgile-Agile Certified Coach

This Agile certification is meant for those who want to become an Agile coach in an organization. It gives a boost to the career. It enhances a person’s coaching skills and tells the difference between mentoring, training, and coaching.

SAFe4 Agilest

SAFe Scaled Agilest is a training program. In this training session, the candidate learns about Agile leadership principles. With this Agile certification, the individual enrolled in the program can learn about different ways to lead transformations to business agility, become a lean Agile leader, understand the needs of the consumer with design thinking, enable agile product delivery, and implement lean portfolio management.

Certified Scrum Master

Scrum is the most popular framework for practicing Agile methodology. It covers the complete Scrum framework. Scrum Alliance offers certification courses for software developers.

  1. Certified Scrum Master
  2. Certified Scrum Trainer
  3. Certified Scrum Developer
  4. Certified Scrum Professional
  5. Certified Scrum Coach
  6. Certified Scrum Product Owner

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We hope this article gave you valuable insight into Agile Software Development and Agile best practices.

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