There are a number of ways to improve your agile software development process, and this includes implementing various agile best practices.
So, what is an agile best practice? Generally speaking, it’s a common procedure or practice that helps make the software development process more efficient and effective. Some common agile methods include Scrum, Kanban, Lean and Extreme programming. Regardless of the agile framework, by following the guidelines in this blog, your team will stay on track, produce high-quality software more quickly and in turn reduce your time to market.
Related: Getting started with Scrum
Below are some of the tips you can use to improve your agility when it comes to making software.
1. Follow the Agile Principles – This might sound trivial, but often teams fail to follow the Agile Manifesto. No matter if you are working in Scrum or Kanban or a mix of the two, Agile manifesto matters. A quick glance of these:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
2. Prioritize to create focus – When it comes to software development, one of the most important things you can do is keep things focused. Too much work in progress can quickly lead to project failure. If you are following sprint, it is important to have a clear understanding of what the goal of the current sprint is. This will help you track and measure your progress.
Product Owner and the team need to be able to quickly assess what needs to be done so that Product owner can prioritize it according to its importance. Doing this will help the team stay on track and minimize wasted time and effort. Once you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, make sure the team knows what’s more important. This will help them focus their efforts and deliver high-quality goods on time.
3. Embrace change and feedback – In an ever-changing world, it is important for your team to be able to embrace change. Agile methodologies follows the principle gathering feedback quickly and adapting to the feedback in order to meet the product requirements or to improve the quality of your product.
Feedback is an important part of any successful project. The Scrum Master needs to facilitate an effective and meaningful retro to help the development team improve. It allows the development team to identify problems as they happen and make necessary changes before they turn into bigger issues.
When receiving and taking feedback, remember that everyone has different perspectives and knowledge. Make sure that everyone has a say in order to improve the process as a whole.
4. Make Automation Your Priority – If you’re not focused on automation, your project will suffer. Automation can help you stay organized and respond to changes more quickly. By automating certain tasks, you can free up your team to work on higher value tasks. Teams should develop a done criteria for their product backlog increments. This checklist should include automation and quality.
Additionally, debugging should be the last resort; rather, focus on testing from the beginning so that bugs can be found and fixed before they cause any problems. Strive for achieving a minimum of 70% automation testing in your sprint which will eventually result in faster time to market and lower number of bugs.
5. Test Driven Development(TDD) – When teams follow TDD, they write tests before they code, because they know that it’s a much more effective way to find and fix problems. This process is especially helpful when it comes to improving the quality of your software. Each user story that results in working software, needs to follow TDD.
It is important to note that TDD doesn’t mean that you skip validation or testing phases. In fact, system testing and user acceptance testing (UAT) are often some of the most important steps in the testing process process.
6. Encourage Open Communication – Remote work has changed how we collaborate as an agile team. Clearly define a communication channel that everyone will use to stay connected on the project work. It’s not enough to send an email once a week or every two weeks; communication needs to happen on a regular basis so that everyone knows what’s going on and can help resolve any conflicts or problems as they arise.
With more remote work, software development teams should promote concepts like pair programming and mobbing. This helps with the communication across the team. By encouraging open communication, you’ll foster a sense of collaboration and trust between your team members. This will help everyone work more efficiently and effectively together.
7. Measure what matters – Without proper measurement, it’s difficult to know whether your progress is on track or not. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ll be able to measure your team’s progress and provide feedback that will help improve their quality of work.
Clearly define the metrics that would help the team move forward. Example metrics that can help the team be more mature are – Work In Progress, Throughput, Cycle Time, Work Item Age. Measurement helps you to identify areas where improvement is needed and make the necessary changes.
An agile approach to software development boils down to fast feedback cycles, short Development Cycles, and frequent deliveries of working products. When these principles are applied effectively, they can result in continuous delivery of software, improved quality and productivity. So, if you’re looking to improve your agile development process, follow the above tips to stay productive.
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