The Agile development methodology has gained traction in recent years and does not seem to be slowing down. An Agile project requires continuous improvement, adaptive planning, and fast delivery. That said, the success of Agile in an organization largely depends on how well your software development team is organized. It would help if you had proper strategies in place for organizing your team – be they locally placed or working remotely.
This software development and project management tutorial talks about Agile, its benefits, and the best strategies for organizing your Agile teams efficiently.
A side note before we learn more about Agile strategies: are you a project manager for a software development team looking to become certified? We have a great list of the Top Project Management Certifications to help get you started down the right path.
What is Agile?
Agile encompasses a collection of principles and values that enable development teams to deliver working software faster. While it is up to debate, in this writer’s view, It is not a methodology; it is a way of thinking about the development process. Agile works by encouraging incremental planning, frequent delivery, and constant feedback between all stakeholders (business people, team members, and customers).
One of the benefits of Agile is that it helps teams to avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional project management methods. For example, because agile teams are constantly reassessing their progress, they are less likely to get stuck in a rut or miss important deadlines. Additionally, Agile teams typically have better communication and collaboration than traditional teams.
Developers can take advantage of the Agile methodology to build software efficiently. One of the most significant reasons is that it helps teams organize their work better and focus on the most critical tasks. Breaking down work into smaller pieces helps team members remain focused. This makes it easier to identify what needs to be done and makes it less likely that tasks will be forgotten or left unfinished.
The use of Agile methods also promotes collaboration between team members. By working together on tasks, team members can share their knowledge and expertise, which can help to improve the quality of the software being developed.
Finally, using Agile methods can help to speed up the development process by ensuring that tasks are completed more quickly. This is because team members are able to focus on one task at a time, and there is less need for coordination between different team members.
We have a tutorial explaining Agile principles that dives deeper into the definition of Agile: Agile Principles – What They Are and Why They Matter.
Software Development and Working Remotely
As your business expands globally, you may have dispersed teams worldwide. Work from home (WFH), coupled with the COVID-19 epidemic, has further fostered the move toward remote Agile. Leading distributed Agile teams requires an innovative approach and a unique set of skills.
Because of the Coronavirus epidemic, most organizations are reacting rather than coping, so teams must grow and become more effective. Remote teams are the norm in many organizations today. The emergence of communications technology has made it easier for individuals to work remotely – far away from the office – as businesses go global.
To help mitigate the problems associated with remote development teams, we have a list of some of the Top Tools for Remote Developers. We also have an article covering some of the Best Practices for Remote Development Teams.
What Are Some Strategies for Organizing Agile Teams?
The best strategies for organizing your Agile development teams will vary depending on the specific needs and goals of your organization. There are many different ways to organize an Agile team, and the most appropriate method for your organization will likely depend on several factors. Most organizations, however, can benefit from a few general strategies.
Here are a few of the most effective strategies for organizing your Agile teams:
- Decide on the right team size. Depending on the size and complexity of your project, project managers will need to decide how many people should be on your team. Too few people will make it difficult to get work done, while too many will make it challenging to stay organized and focused. Your team size should be between five and nine people.
- It is imperative that you clearly define the roles and responsibilities of your team members. All team members must understand their roles, responsibilities or obligations, and expectations.
It will ensure that everybody is on the same page and that no information is left out. In order for your team to function correctly, each member needs to know his or her role and responsibilities. It’s important that a team member has the ability to perform their tasks without needing help from others.
- Use a flexible project management tool. There are a lot of different project management tools out there, and you should choose the one that best fits your needs. However, it’s essential to select a tool that is flexible enough to accommodate changes that might come up during your project.
- Encourage communication and collaboration. One of the key benefits of agile teams is that they encourage communication and collaboration. Establish a comfortable environment for team members to exchange ideas. We have a list of the Top Collaboration Tools for Developers to help your team team collaborate efficiently.
- Hold regular retrospectives. Retrospectives are an essential part of the Agile process, and they should be held regularly. As a result, the team can reflect on what went well in the current sprint and what could have been improved or done in a better way. In addition, it ensures that everyone remains on the same page.
- Be open to change. Agile teams constantly evolve, and you must be open to change to succeed. Be prepared to adjust your plans as required and embrace creative ideas. Retrospectives are an important part of the agile process, and they should be held regularly.
- Be flexible with your schedule. One of the benefits of Agile teams is that they are very flexible with their schedules. Keep a flexible schedule if something comes up that wasn’t planned.
- Enjoy your accomplishments and take the time to celebrate them. Celebrating the success of your team is essential. This will help to keep everyone motivated and focused on the task at hand.
- Be prepared for problems. However, it is inevitable that bumps in the road will occur, regardless of how well you plan. Be ready for problems and plan how you’ll handle them.
- Keep your team organized. One of the most critical things you can do for your team is to have them organized. This includes keeping track of deadlines, assigned tasks, and progress reports.
- Understand and manage technical debt – You must understand the technical debt before starting an agile project. In short, this metaphor represents the extra development work associated with using code that’s easy to implement but less than optimal in the long run.
In addition to slowing down future development efforts, technical debt can also lead to bugs and other problems, resulting in costly rework down the road. It would be best if you were always mindful of how much technical debt you’re accumulating with every new project.
You should also know how this will affect your team’s ability to remain Agile and deliver high-quality products on time with every release cycle.
Having the right project management tools on hand is pivotal to the success of your development team. We have a guide to some of the Best Project Management Tools for Developers designed to help you choose the right one for your team’s needs.
Final Thoughts on Agile Strategies
Adhering to the Agile methodology has several benefits for development teams, such as increased collaboration and faster development times. However, project managers should be able to organize your agile team properly to make best use of Agile principles.
At the end of each sprint, teams should hold a retrospective meeting. You should discuss with your team members what went well, the roadblocks and how to improve. For example, if there were some issues with the quality of code being produced by developers, maybe it is best to pair them up more often so they can be coached on how to write better code.
Make sure you do not just discuss problems—also talk about what went well during your last few weeks together as a group.