Agile Project Management
Simply labeling something agile isn’t very useful. Even in a software setting, the term might signify different things to different people or organizations. There are numerous aspects, definitions, applications, and interpretations. This Agile project management primer explores the behaviors, structures, techniques, and concepts that underpin Agile approaches to software development.
You’re in charge of delivering your company’s latest and greatest initiative, which will transform the face of “Widgets International” for good. It’s a software project that will captivate and mesmerize your consumers, make your colleagues’ jobs easier, and generate millions of dollars in income for the company. There is a great deal of excitement, fervor, and expectancy. You must complete it as soon as possible so that your company can reap the benefits. You are responsible for the company’s future success. Everyone is looking at you. You can’t go wrong.
You initially think to yourself, “Awesome, I’m up for the challenge.” “Let’s get this done!” You take a breather, take a step back, and ask yourself, “Okay, so how do we do this?” You begin to converse with your coworkers and classmates. You devote time to researching best practices in software development and project management, but the alternatives and approaches are numerous. There are numerous acronyms and techniques. Those who are notable rise to the top. Doubt begins to sneak in. Which one should we go with? How can I ensure my success? What if I make a bad decision?
When it comes to managing software projects, there is a dizzying array of alternatives supported by a plethora of viewpoints. Voices from the corners of the room murmur, “Try doing it this way,” others yell, “This is the only way to do it,” while the others whimper, “Don’t manage it at all, just get on with it.” In actuality, all of those voices are telling the truth in some way. When launching an Agile project, it’s very crucial to figure out what’s best for your needs, your team, your business, and your consumers.
Making the Scene
There was a time when software project management was divided into three categories. There were the hefty frameworks that allowed you to choose how you execute and deliver while providing a structure to maintain control and governance. There were prescriptive sequential approaches, like as waterfall, that required you to plan lengthy projects, understand and commit to all of your requirements, design and sign off complicated systems, create a lot of code, and then test (all before your customer saw it for the first time). Finally, there are iterative software development life cycles (SDLC) that promote rapid prototyping or bigger systems to be conceived, produced, and delivered in incremental increments, one on top of the other.
Now, simply labeling anything Agile isn’t very helpful. Even in a software setting, the term might signify different things to different people or organizations. There are various definitions, implementations, and interpretations of Agile project management. Each organization that accepts Agile attempts to define it in its own way.
Scrum, Kanban, XP, and Lean Software Development are just a few of the Agile software development approaches accessible. But, just as the scrum is important in rugby, so is Agile. These Agile paradigms do not cover the whole lifecycle of project management necessary in large projects, such as governance, resourcing, financial, explicit risk management, and many other critical project management ideas, when used in isolation. Consider PMI Agile or PRINCE2 Agile for these—think of it as “Governed Agility.”
Why do we need to be Agile?
Long ago, mankind traversed the land in search of food and shelter in order to survive. They were simple requirements, yet they were quite adaptable. Countries and economies eventually grew and profited as a result of the Industrial Revolution. This was the beginning of management and control, as well as the loss of agility. We are now in the Information Age or Revolution, in which businesses hire knowledge employees. You, your partners, and your colleagues and peers are knowledge workers who strive to produce exceptional solutions to consumer, commercial, societal, economic, and global problems. Analysis, knowledge, reasoning, understanding, expertise, and skills are used by knowledge workers to often ill-defined and changing needs. These businesses and workers require ways and approaches that previous Industrial Age processes and procedures cannot provide. Agile encourages interaction.
Almost no software project can reliably begin with the knowledge that it has everything it needs to create valuable working software without change. Change brings both opportunities and threats to a project’s success. Unmanaged opportunities can represent the difference between a good and an outstanding organization. Unmanaged risk is a recipe for tragedy and ruin. Change is managed with Agile.
Adopting Agile enables you to respond quickly to changing or new requirements. It enables development teams to be the experts and make decisions that are supported by a business that is engaged, trustworthy, and informed. It enables you to provide your customers exactly what they want. Finally, it puts you and your organization in charge of producing high-quality, value software that meets customer needs and expectations while generating a return on investment dollars as soon as possible. Agile adds value.
Adopting Agile comes with a cost. It does not come cheap. It can be difficult to transition to an Agile model for software delivery. However, if you internalize the Agile mindset, proceed with caution, assemble the proper team with the correct attitude, break things down, make them manageable and practical, and respond to input, you will enjoy the benefits. Agile values teamwork.
The following lists some benefits you can expect:
– Speed to market
– Earlier revenue generation
– Regular delivery of real value
– Protection for your investment
– Data, data, data
– Better product quality
– Manageable expectations
– Greater customer satisfaction
– Higher performing teams
– Improved visibility on progress
– Predictability, transparency, and confidence
– Manageable risk
Is your project intended to generate more income, enter a new market, get more customers, improve customer perception, or make life easier for a specific problem you’ve identified? You can then state your “vision.”
– Your vision may come from a variety of sources, including your own daring startup to solve a common problem, business management strategy, your CEO’s pet project, a specific product team, or even the needs of your customers.
– Take a step back and “see” what the future looks like with your new product or service in the hands of your customers.
– Engage your stakeholders, including the CEO, product manager, and customers. Work on it in groups; don’t try it alone. Validate arguments and challenge assumptions.
– Keep it short and write it down. Concentrate on the business value.
– Refine it until everyone agrees the vision is clear and meets a shared interpretation of where you’re going.
– If your eyesight is correct, it rarely changes. How you get there will almost likely matter.
People aren’t interested in what you do or how you do it. They understand “why” you do it. This is what establishes an emotional bond between your company and its clients. This will be illustrated by the vision.
Is it doable?
There are several shades of possibility. Typically, you’ll want to know if your vision of a brighter future for your company and clients is both technically possible and realistic for your company to implement.
– If your objective is to travel everywhere in the world in under an hour, you may run into technical difficulties. Because science, physics, and technology have yet to catch up with that goal, your technical solution may only be conceivable in theory. Furthermore, if your solution was novel, it would go much beyond the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP).
– Consider researching your product further in a Discovery prototype project or executing a spike in the early stages of the project to assess its technical feasibility. Consider the scale or complexity of the solution you have in mind to determine which strategy to adopt.
– The second level of feasibility to assess is if you, your team, or your company have the necessary abilities and motivation to make it happen. For example, if you’re amazing at preparing cakes at home for your children’s birthdays, that’s wonderful. However, if you want to develop this into a business selling the finest cakes in the world, you must first determine whether you can scale it, manage the business as well as the manufacturing, manage distribution and fulfillment, and provide customer service.
– In the long run, this type of vision may be attainable. But for the time being, perhaps not. So, think small, choose a small portion that is attainable, and focus on achieving the best smaller aspiration you can. If that engages and delights your customers, causing them to return for more and tell their friends, then scale it up from there, using customer feedback as your guide and compass.
– You should also know if your idea is financially and time-wise doable. Can your company afford to complete this project? Is the timetable realistic? Time and money are two of the three permanent limitations in an Agile project. We strive to complete tasks within a specified time frame and within a specified budget.
– The term “product quality” refers to the end product that your customers use as well as the engineering techniques that your team does to build exceptional, robust, and dependable software. Quality is another something we do not take lightly. Quality criteria, on the other hand, are subject to change. If you are not attempting to produce a Ferrari, the product may not be perceived as high quality. If you’re not creating space rockets, your manufacturing tolerances may be substantially higher. Set the right tone and expectations from the start.
Awesome. The decision has been made, the project has been approved, and you are ready to begin construction. Well, almost. I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, really?” We will never be able to do this if we do not act now. Let’s get this show going!” But consider this: Agile is all about delivering value quickly and frequently while delighting your customers along the way. Investing time in determining the best strategy to deliver your project is the finest foundation for success.
In sports, consider your favorite team game to identify crucial positions that allow the team to function as well as it does. Typically, there is a manager, a captain, and the rest of the squad. Aside from that, there are coaches, physios, nutritionists, and a variety of support workers. However, in the sport of rugby, there is a team inside a team: the players who make up the scrum. This pack consists of selected players whose role it is to recover the ball and continue play. When a scrum is in action, the players on each side work as a single unit to grab the ball as collaboratively, communicatively, and efficiently as possible.
- Scrum is not the only software development process available in the Agile toolkit. However, it is the one that best captures the Agile concept and behaviors of teamwork, inspiring individuals, building trusting relationships, self-organization, servant-leadership, communication, transparency, and collaboration.
- Your team will be heavily influenced by the situations you find yourself in. You might have access to developers. Some, none, or all of them may be somewhat familiar with Agile. You could want to form a new team or collaborate with a third party.
- Other duties will be required as well, but we’ll go into those later.
It has been claimed that once you have formed your development team, you have chosen your technology. Your squad will have different skill sets depending on where you bring them together. So, before you come to this point in your trip, consider carefully how you will construct your development team and whether you will need to undertake a technical examination.
- This takes us to the topic of cross-functional teams. Teams function best when everyone pitches in to get the task done, regardless of their title. Build a self-sufficient team with individuals who can fill multiple roles.
- Create an environment, culture, and connection center where the team can deliver without restraints or restrictions. Provide the team with the necessary tools, people, resources, and space to be effective and efficient.
- Keep team sizes to a maximum of seven or eight people. If you require many additional developers, divide the team into several new teams. Each team might then be in charge of a specific functional area. Consider hosting a Scrum of Scrums if you have many teams in different locations. Use Agile project management when there are several of them in complex situations.
- Ensure that the team, the business, the stakeholders, and even the customers can communicate with one another. Make sure they communicate and collaborate, and get rid of anything that is impeding growth. Daily communication is the most effective treatment for project maladies. When people speak, things get done.
During the feasibility stage, you determined the “why” of your project and either gained confidence to proceed with your startup or received funding to do so. The project brief is a live document that combines the “why” with the “what” and “when” and “who.” It’s “living” because your knowledge, understanding, and path may alter as you develop. To abandon this paper after it has been written and never return to it confines your ideas to a specific point in time. In an Agile environment, your point-in-time reference may vary weekly or even daily early on, therefore it’s critical to maintain this up to date.
- The largest impediment to project delivery is an unclear, inconsistent, or just divergent perception of what the project is and what “requirements” must be met. If even one key stakeholder has a different knowledge or perspective on what you’re doing, the ramifications can be severe.
- A good project brief communicates: A shared and mutually agreed-upon expectation among stakeholders and team members. An understanding of the project, with all partners sharing the same understanding. The purpose, vision, objective, scope, and context of the project.
- From feasibility, you’ll have a lot of valuable material for the short. The project brief will assist you in defining and locating answers to probing inquiries. It will gather stakeholders, your mission, high-level scope, risks, target solution, budget, timeframe, expectations, and priorities.
Before you proceed, ensure you’ve got everybody on the same page, workshop it, ask the difficult questions, and nail it up somewhere where people can stop, read it, comment on it, and help revise it.
There is no doubt that your project is fraught with uncertainty. You can’t possible know what it will take to produce the appropriate product for your clients at this early stage. You can’t look into a crystal ball and foretell the future.
Your requirements are stored in the “backlog” or “product backlog.” Agile encourages the creation of brief, succinct sentences that convey the essence of a “requirement.” The backlog is essentially a large list of items, each one expressing a single, discrete “requirement” in the form of a user narrative. And from now on, we’ll refer to user stories rather than “requirement.” You’re undoubtedly wondering, “Why?” That’s an excellent question. For what seems like an eternity, specifying the features or facets desired by a customer in a software project has been referred to as a requirement. In Agile, that word has a meaning that is meaningless.
Estimatino and Prioritization at the Highest Level
The process of sizing your backlog is known as high-level estimating. How “big” is the project, and how much value does it provide? Prioritization is the process of determining which tales are most important to you, your product’s viability, and your customers’ interests. We want to deliver the most valuable goods first in order to add the greatest value to the business, gather client feedback, and avoid sweating the small stuff. The result will be an ordered backlog that is prioritized and sized appropriately.
- The most valuable stories are those at the top. We wish to get the most important products to you as soon as possible.
- There are numerous approaches for sizing and estimating, but at this point, you only want to gain a general sense of the size of a tale.
- You will not have all of the available information at this time, which is fine. Simply run with it.
- Engage your business stakeholders and, if you have one, your product manager, as well as the team that will be conducting the work.
- We want individuals who will be creating, producing, and testing the job to size it, because specialists are the best people to estimate.
- The team may begin to divide down stories into smaller segments. If this occurs, write more granular but separate storylines.
- The team may also begin to prioritize particular stories, as some must be delivered before others to support the technology or a specific user path.
- You and the team may also begin to notice gaps in the backlog that need to be filled. Simply fill in the blanks with fresh stories and estimate and prioritize as needed
- Prioritization is most simply accomplished with a MoSCoW analysis. MoSCoW is a simple technique for determining which stories are “must haves” for your product’s success.
- Prioritization can be done before estimating begins. However, the size of specific pieces may influence a choice on priority and true commercial value. So, play estimation and prioritizing off of one another, but don’t argue about it!
- There are no two stories that are equally essential. The tale ranked first is more important or valuable than the article ranked second.
- Putting a monetary value on a tale is a terrific approach to convey its importance or value. If, for example, narrative A is expected to generate $5000 in additional income whereas story B may generate $100, tale A is more valuable. Similarly, if tale C saves the company more than story D, story C wins.
- After you’ve calculated the size of your backlog, you’ll be left with a number. When it comes to release planning, that number will assist us determine how much our team can deliver in a given timeline.
Remember that you don’t have to know all of your user stories right now. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to tell all of your stories before a consumer sees your goods. You want to stay Agile, which means developing only what you need when you need it, wasting as little as possible, and adapting to changes in consumer wants and market conditions. A roadmap will assist you in laying out your product and planning your goals for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
Storymaps and Roadmaps
A roadmap is precisely what it sounds like; it provides the same information as a country’s roadmap. It describes the relationship between cities (or, in your case, features) and the routes that can be taken to travel from city A to city B, or from feature X to feature Z. It does not advise you on which route to take or how to get there. It does not tell you which form of transportation to take, but it may provide you possibilities such as taking the highway or the train.
In a city, there are many roads, buildings, parks, services, and facilities. All features of a city. This is also true of the roadmap for your product. At this level, your roadmap shows major goals or milestones to be achieved. A goal is a logical grouping of themes, features, and user stories rolled up in a consumable view that demonstrates tangible value. The roadmap of a software product shares this view and communicates your intent. It doesn’t necessarily show you how or when features will be delivered; only the relative value of the goals and features to you and your business.
A story map is an excellent approach to explain a route. This tool demonstrates the prioritizing of customer values. It establishes the foundation, or key building pieces, of your product. The walking skeleton dangles from the backbone and demonstrates the characteristics that distinguish it as an MVP. All of the additional characteristics are what make the system more valuable and important. The story map arranges features in relative relation to one another and is a fantastic visual tool.
It’s important to note that after completing a narrative mapping process, your backlog may need to be refined. Where stories have been broken into many stories, identified as redundant, freshly developed, or as having a greater or lower importance than originally thought, this will be evident. Another artifact that is constantly explored and altered is the story map.
“At long last,” you exclaim, “some planning!” You had, after all, been planning throughout the feasibility and commencement stages; we just didn’t call it that. This is an example of iterative or adaptive planning—the practice of merely planning enough to achieve your most important and immediate goals. We’ll talk more about adaptive planning later, but for now, let’s focus on release planning.
External events may influence your release strategy. Perhaps you want to display your app at a trade event, or your clients will gain the most from using your app in the run-up to Christmas. These are timeline events with which your ambitions may be connected. To accommodate these occurrences, you would most likely intend to deliver user stories or features that make the most sense. If there are no external deadlines to consider, you may simply prioritize features and provide what makes the most sense and provides the most value to your consumers first.
- If you established a story map during development, it will assist guide your release strategy. It can be used to determine your MVP, or the bare minimum of features that will get your product into the hands of your customers, start earning income, receive feedback, and attract new customers.
- The story map will also assist you in planning future releases. However, keep in mind that subsequent releases may change as you learn, receive feedback, examine, and adjust. So don’t overthink things.
- A 12-month span may include two to four releases. Don’t settle for less because your initial release serves as your MVP and gets your foot in the door, after which you’ll want to iterate and release new features and bug fixes on a regular basis.
- Each release is a timebox divided into smaller iterations. Iteration is a temporal constraint. One of the most essential control mechanisms in Agile is the timebox.
To determine the size of your release:
– Divide your release timeframe in half. This will tell you how many iterations there are. So, for a 12-week release, you get six two-week iterations.
– Then delete two iterations, one for a “sprint 0” iteration and the other for a “release” iteration. You now have four development iterations.
– Collaborate with your team and the product owner to fill each iteration with stories, beginning at the top of the backlog and working your way down. When the team believes they have filled an iteration with enough stories to feasibly achieve in the two-week period, repeat for the following iteration(s). The release strategy and story map should be used to guide what goes into each iteration.
– The next release has not yet been planned. You’ll do that once the current release comes to an end.
– Add up the story sizes of the user stories from each iteration. So, if iteration 1 has 25 story points but iterations 2, 3, and 4 have 10, 45, and 65 points, you’ll need to refactor. In each iteration, aim for an equal number of story points. This is your expected velocity—the quantity of valuable “stuff” completed per iteration.
- It’s possible that the team has never worked together before. They’re probably working on a new problem or product. They will not provide their utmost effort from the start. As a result, your velocity may be erratic during the first few sprints. However, when the crew settles in, it should stabilize. Use this information to rework your release planning, allowing you to plan your product with a known velocity and certainty.
- Break stories into smaller sections and resize as needed.
- Your release plan is only ever a guide, especially early in the life of a project and a fresh team. Do not take it as a promise or assurance that all or any of these specific stories will be delivered as planned. The accuracy of your plans will improve as your team evolves, work gets done, and trust and confidence grow.
- Never make your team “commit” to anything they are not comfortable with. Trust their experience and judgment.
- Future release planning exercises will be easier since you will take the release size, multiply the number of iterations by your team’s velocity, and fill the release plan with tales that total velocity multiplied by the number of iterations.
- Plan your releases in small chunks.
- Consider your capacity.
- Don’t take on more than you can realistically achieve.
- Revisit the plan often to see what you can change and improve.
- Plan, execute, inspect, learn, adapt, repeat.
Your team is in place, they’re engaged, your preliminary planning is complete—you’re now ready to build your dreams.
Many resources are already available that do an excellent job of building the groundwork for delivering an Agile software project. Choose one, keep it simple, and continue on your Agile path. Scrum is a good place to start if you’re having trouble picking which Agile software development approach to use. Scrum is the only one. The desire to include components of other approaches will be present. Don’t do it just yet. Save that kind of money till you’ve been doing Scrum for 6 to 12 months.
In an Agile project, planning is an ongoing activity. We conduct some preliminary planning ahead of time, just enough to comprehend what we know at the time. Our first plans will be ill-defined and faulty. Then we iterate our planning, adapting to new knowledge, planning more precisely right before delivery, and responding to changing scope. This is one method of minimizing waste: just planning when necessary.
- The team and the business, or its informed and authorized representative such as a product manager, collaborate actively in planning—the team because they are the experts who will deliver and the product manager because they are the experts who can guide the demands of the business.
- Estimates for user stories will become less accurate as they approach completion. Epics, for example, will attract high-level predictions based on a large number of unknowns. Well-defined and granular user stories estimated immediately before the start of a sprint will be substantially more accurate.
- There are numerous estimating “scales” available. Choose the strategy that feels best for your team and the level of planning you’re at—wide-band delphi, planning poker, ideal time, relative sizing, story points, or t-shirt sizes.
- When it comes to sizing a tale, one size truly does fit all. All stories should be sized similarly and include all elements such as design, development, testing, and refactoring. When it comes to sprint iteration planning, specific tasks can be developed that all contribute to the fulfillment of the story.
- In planning, always account for risk, unknowns, outside factors, your team’s capabilities, and ever-improving velocity.
- We do not extend the timebox if user stories included in a sprint are not finished. These unfinished or unstarted items are returned to the top of the backlog and included in the following sprint.
- Always aim to supply the bare minimum required to achieve a given goal. Determine how to prune features. Reduce waste and identify the true value that may be produced with your time-constrained resources.
Each incremental delivery of your Agile project is time-constrained, regardless of whether you call it a sprint, an iteration, or a timebox. The timebox neither shortens nor lengthens. At first, concentrate on two-week iterations. You may discover that one, three, or four weeks is more appropriate for your business model. Don’t adjust the length once you’ve decided on it. You aim to keep a consistent cadence or a steady tempo. This means that the team and the company focus on producing regular software without relying on overtime to get the work done and releasing potentially shippable increments every two weeks.
- Working in little steps has numerous advantages. It means you’re simply thinking about the immediate future of delivery and can respond to change in a short iteration cycle with new information, feedback, and learning
- Perform a sprint 0 at the start of a release. This prepares the team, the business, and your project release and sets the tone for a successful delivery. Create the basic technical framework and architecture that will serve as the release’s foundation. Configure your environments, accounts, and tools. Perform spikes to have a better understanding of complex or unknown problems. Prepare your user stories for sprint 1 by writing them down. Sprint 0 is all about getting ready.
- During a release, continue to refine the backlog. As you gain more knowledge or learn something new, your priorities may shift, new requirements may emerge, and what you thought was a brilliant feature may be removed totally.
- Do not begin work that cannot be completed in a sprint. If it can’t, divide it into smaller pieces. Also, do not begin new work if previously begun work has not been completed. You add no value by starting a lot of things that will never be finished. Additionally, avoid context switching. This is the activity of starting one task, getting interrupted, starting another, and, at its worst, not finishing either.
- Limit the amount of work that the team is doing at any given time. For example, if you have three developers and one tester, you can set a WIP limit for each of them.
- Never add more work to a sprint after it has been planned. Never stop a sprint partway through.
- If you must cancel a sprint, do so politely, give yourself time to regroup, and then begin a new sprint as you would any other.
- Consider a last release sprint near the end of a release. No new features are added, however some issues can be fixed and plans can be made to offer a new version of your product to your consumers. That isn’t to suggest that you can’t make incremental consumer releases in the meantime; it’s just that this is a regulated, calibrated, and long-term release process.
- Consider a one-week sprint at the end of a release. You might work with the team throughout this sprint to break down some new concepts or figure out some new technology. These are fantastic tools that help the business, and they provide the staff some breathing room to think and be creative. It’s not for frivolity and will nonetheless add value. Everyone requires a break. Taking a break during this moment helps keep your cadence and velocity in good form when you’re in the middle of your release.
It is critical to define what “done” actually implies. Within the life of your project, there are many different definitions of “done”—what it means to be “done” with a story, release, or entire project. It all comes down to what you, your team, and your company perceive to be complete to the appropriate level of quality to satisfy readiness to ship.
A “done” narrative for your team will be something like all code complete, peer reviewed, meets the established acceptance criteria, unit tested, UAT’ed, and pushed to your code repository. Definitions of “done” must be accepted by the next person in the chain in order for a narrative to be passed from designer to developer to tester. In order to deploy the product increment to your consumers, your product owner will have expectations about what this means to them. In any event, everyone must understand what “done” means and take responsibility for ensuring its meaning is satisfied. Define what you mean by “done,” convey it, agree on it, and evolve it. Done and dusted.
You can’t manage something if you can’t measure it. The same is true for enhancements. In an Agile project, gathering empirical data is almost as important as having blood flow through your veins! Without data, how can you know what has to be managed, corrected, or improved? Simply put, you’ll be depending on gut instinct and unproven speculation, which will crumble under inspection. And, depending on who is examining, this may be a really unpleasant place to be. So, from the start of any project, make sure you understand how you will demonstrate progress and how others will judge your accomplishment.
Here are some further resources:
- The daily standup meeting: There are several variations to this ceremony, but the importance is for all team members to speak to each other face to face: make it brief, focused, and light. If something needs to be discussed in depth, save it for a longer discussion between those who are needed following the standup. If obstacles arise, write them up like a tale, add them to your backlog, and address them as soon as possible. Anything that hinders your team’s development will be visible in reduced velocity and software that fails to meet expectations.
- The term “velocity” refers to a historical tool. It’s similar to those financial cautions that state that past success is no guarantee of future performance. However, in the case of Agile, we aspire to attain a mainly smooth team velocity. We can estimate future performance and have confidence in our plans because of velocity. There may be factors outside your control that reduce the quantity of story points produced in a given sprint. If this occurs, you should be able to recover. Never use velocity as a club to beat your squad with; it will not help you. One thing is certain: the first 2-4 sprints will be unpredictable in terms of velocity. However, you should begin to observe consistency and stability within that timeframe. If your velocity fluctuates from one extreme to the other, you have a problem that you must resolve with your team.
- The burndown graph: This is a difficult metric to use to assess progress. As a result, I haven’t provided a link to go learn more—you’ll have to conduct your own research and agree as a team and business on what works best for you. Why is it so difficult? There isn’t a single resource out there that recounts the same story! One thing is agreed upon: it will display how you’re performing against your timebox within a sprint or release. It will reveal if you are on track or diverting if you keep it up on a daily basis. Some teams use it to symbolize how much value remains to be created, while others, more frequently than not, use it to reflect how much labor remains to be finished. The former is a celebration of success and the creation of value, whereas the latter is less exciting and motivating.
- The burndown chart: If you need to display work completion rates, utilize the burndown chart. The burnup chart, on the other hand, allows you to indicate how much value has been created and how much more value you want to create by the end of the sprint. A lot more motivating tool for a team to demonstrate to the business what has been done (or how little has been done if things aren’t going so well…) and what they still have their sights set on. In any case, utilize the charts to identify areas where development is not tracking as intended, look for patterns or deviations, and get on top of them as quickly as possible to fix the underlying problem. For sprints, update them everyday and once a week. For sprints, they are updated daily, and for release version charts, they are updated once at the end of a sprint.
- Task boards: These are excellent visual radiators for showcasing the creation of value. They immediately indicate progress when updated daily or at any time during the day. They’re also useful tools for visualizing system flow and obstructions when paired with Kanban. If you notice that a lot of work has been finished but testing is not as productive, you may identify the issue and respond effectively and quickly.
Seek to find and learn where improvements can be made throughout your Agile life. At the end of a project, lessons are not captured and learned. It’s the same as passing your driving test and taking your first drive without an instructor. You’ll know what works and what you’re supposed to do, but over time, you’ll fine-tune your driving abilities and discover new tactics. You may even develop bad behaviors. Look for them, comprehend them, and devise solutions to better.
There are numerous options for discovering what does not work and implementing solutions. The retrospective is a built-in way to this in Agile. This is the principal tool for introspection and modification. Take time at the end of each sprint to enhance how work is done, how quality is supplied, how efficiency can be improved, waste can be eliminated, and capacity can be increased. When you find areas for improvement, resist the need to solve all of your problems at once. Determine which will have the most impact and can be implemented in the next sprint. Take measurements and keep an eye on things. If it has the desired effect, lock it up and include it into your processes and definitions of done. If it doesn’t work, reconsider. Any lessons learnt that are not implemented in the forthcoming sprint can be parked and prioritized for consideration in the following sprint.
Customize the procedure. Remove anything that isn’t working. Remove any obstacles. If you allow it, your Agile team’s maturity will know no limitations.