Adopting Agile for Maximum Impact and Velocity

Using Scrum as the Process Framework

Agile software development has become a frequently-used methodology for companies under intense pressure to meet the demands of savvy users and for effectively competing when their industries have been affected by the cloud, mobile, social technologies, Internet of Things and Big Data. In fact, current increased interest in Agile methodology is being linked to the digital transformation trend for some of the very same reasons it was originally developed: adaptable, responsive and fast.

Agile methods were designed to support continuous and quickly changing business requirements along with the evolution of the businesses themselves. The practice of Agile has continued to advance, even becoming an essential methodology in other corporate functions.

Scrum is a process framework often used to apply Agile methods. A specific set of iterative and incremental practices are used to increase productivity while keeping administrative overhead to a minimum and reducing the time it takes to deliver working software.

Recently, technology research firm Gartner introduced the Bi-modal approach, which introduces Agile to speed development of high quality and just-in-time technology in parallel with maintaining enterprise systems.

Practicing Agile Has its Benefits

Most important features receive top priority

You also have the opportunity to adjust product requirements and priorities during later stages of the project. This iterative development style gives you an unbeatable opportunity to accelerate time-to-market, together with creating the best-market-demand match.

Working functionality is delivered early and often

An early indication of the product allows you to fine-tune the requirements based on user feedback. And, even if you decide, for any reason, to conclude the project at an earlier stage than planned, you will have working software.

Lightweight process simplifies workflow

While Agile product development methods produce an organized, transparent and predictable process, it is easy to customize the methodology in response to the nature of the project, customer constraints and organizational culture.

Just enough documentation for easy hand-off

While it may seem counterintuitive, Agile provides just enough transparent and clear documentation for ongoing control of the product by the customer.

Highly-motivated and top-performing teams

Early results of working software, combined with a process that is light on administration and heavy on execution, equals an effective and efficient team of agile programming experts.

Keys to Achieving Success with Agile

Communication and collaboration are essential

Stakeholder alignment and frequent communication are keys to overall project effectiveness. Project Managers are routinely assigned to run projects on the delivery side and it is essential to assign a similar role on the client side. This helps ensure all stakeholders are continuously updated and participate in making any necessary decisions in a timely manner.

Adapting Agile to the project

Not everything labeled as Agile is truly Agile. While there are strict requirements for what cannot change in any given project; there are almost always areas of a project that can be treated differently – depending on the level of experience within the team and the complexities of the project.

This is where a highly skilled team can add tremendous value. There are basic decisions to be made about standup meeting frequency or what level of documentation is sufficient. Or, they may need to decide whether working software delivered at a specific milestone is sufficient to conclude the project, saving the client time and money.

Only applying Agile when and where it adds value

Each project has distinct elements and characteristics which may benefit from Agile programming methodologies. An experienced Agile shop will possess the knowledge and skills required for using the Agile process where it will have the most impact. In fact, tasks not requiring Agile treatment will be separated into subprojects, especially with large and complex projects.

What Makes First Line Software an Expert in Agile?

Agile is in First Line Software’s DNA – we’re an agile organization. Executive team and staff level employees were early adopters of Agile – 20 years of experience – and influenced its progression as a development methodology.

Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum is an Advisor to First Line Software, giving us direct access for continuous learning and to ensure maximum use of the Agile methodology and Scrum process framework. First Line was recognized by Jeff’s organization, Scrum, Inc., for being a high-performing Agile organization when we were presented with the first-ever Scrum Medallion Award.

Invented Distributed Development - The concept of distributed agile development teams originated with Agile experts who are now executives and staff at First Line Software.

The First Line Software team possesses a vast amount of experience with testing and adapting Agile on a range of projects with varying specs, multiple technologies and across a number of industries. We call it the Intellectual Integration of Agile.

First Line Software is committed to applying the Agile methodology along with DevOps best practices to deliver high-quality technology solutions for our clients. Contact us today to explore how this approach can make a difference in your next project or business initiative.

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David Tedford