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Tips for Going Agile

You’ve probably heard about Agile project management...but exactly what does it mean to go Agile? Based on the principles used in Agile software development, ‘going Agile’ means getting team members to work collaboratively and autonomously, in a dynamic built upon trust and honest feedback.

Agile’s secret to balancing group and individual effort is the iterative process. This means that, instead of planning out a 12-month project all in the first month, the team tackles the work through a series of sprints, which are usually one to a few weeks long. Each sprint is a mini project cycle: first bringing everyone together for planning, then allowing everyone to go out and do their work, and finally bringing the team back together at the end for testing and deployment. The team creates and evaluates their progress, making sure to reflect and assess before going on to the next cycle. Everyone takes it one step at a time.

Whether you’re part of a team following an Agile approach, or thinking of introducing Agile methodology into your company, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

- Stay lean! Focus on the essential, and eliminate/reduce activities that don’t increase customer value. A sprint is short, and under time constraints, we only do what gets us to the next step. Agile requires us to prioritize and focus on what absolutely needs to be done to deliver working pieces of the project for that sprint.

- Get comfortable providing and accepting feedback. The iterative cycle allows plenty of opportunity to assess and evaluate the work completed. Take advantage of these opportunities to hash things out and get everyone on the same page. There’s no sense going on to the next step without making sure you’re all heading in the right direction!

- Prioritize relationships. Collaboration is not always easy. Receiving feedback, and being open to change, requires that we trust our colleagues. Similarly, we need to take an interest in others and how they do their work, in order to help them improve. Find ways to continue strengthening relationships within your team. With every sprint, your team has the opportunity to become more cohesive.

Got questions on how to run your project using Agile methodology? The computer scientists at XorFox have been working as an Agile team for years. Contact us for a free consultation!

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