Hey all, Hope you doing well. So when I take you all with me on my Journey of implementing AGILE/SCRUM, the first obvious question you may ask: Why AGILE?
Of course why, I mean life has been so planned in Waterfall Model, all stages planned, lined up one after another so why do I switch to AGILE?
Waterfall methodology was so planned that’s exactly the greatest weakness. How many times, your projects went exactly the way you listed at requirement stage. You have to have physic powers or be Nostradamus to foresee and list each and every requirement beforehand. Never will that happen. Our projects, requirements change due to many factors, client requirement, market conditions, technological upgrades, competition and lot more.
Benefits of AGILE
1. Stakeholder Engagement
AGILE provides multiple opportunities for stakeholder and team engagement – before, during, and after each Sprint. By involving the client in every step of the project, there is a high degree of collaboration between the client and project team, providing more opportunities for the team to truly understand the client’s vision. The product owner is always involved, the progress of development has high visibility and flexibility to change is highly important. This implies engagement and customer satisfaction.
2. Transparency and Increased Project Control
An AGILE approach provides a unique opportunity for clients to be involved throughout the project, from prioritizing features to iteration planning and review sessions to frequent software build containing new features. Daily Sprint Meetings also enable transparency and Project control.
3. Early and Predictable Delivery
By using time-boxed, fixed schedule Sprints of 1-4 weeks, new features are delivered quickly and frequently, with a high level of predictability. The best thing is Product owner always will choose features with maximum business value early which enables that maximum business values are delivered at an early stage of the project.
4. Allows for Change
While the team needs to stay focused on delivering an agreed-to subset of the product’s features during each iteration, there is an opportunity to constantly refine and reprioritize the overall product backlog. New or changed backlog items can be planned for the next iteration, providing the opportunity to introduce changes within a few weeks.
5. Focuses on Business Value
By allowing the client to determine the priority of features, the team understands what’s most important to the client’s business, and can deliver the features that provide the most business value. The Product owner always will choose features with maximum business value early which enables that maximum business values are delivered at an early stage of the project.
6. Focuses on Users
AGILE commonly uses user stories with business-focused acceptance criteria to define product features. By focusing features on the needs of real users, each feature incrementally delivers value, not just an IT component.
7. Remove Waste
The things to be done are presented mostly in user stories where actual benefit is mentioned which will be delivered to clients or business by the implementation of the feature. Trust me when you pen down the actual value of any feature you (Product Owner) automatically will not put features which are just on top of your head.
8. Improves Quality
By breaking down the project into manageable units, the project team can focus on high-quality development, testing, and collaboration. Also, by producing frequent builds and conducting testing and reviews during each iteration, quality is improved by finding and fixing defects quickly and identifying expectation mismatches early.
9. Reduced risks
AGILE techniques virtually eliminate the chances of absolute project failure. As mentioned earlier there is always a quest to deliver features with most business value at an early stage. 80-20 rules apply here, where 20% of the features provides 80% of business values.
Always having a working product, starting with the very first sprint, so that no AGILE project fails completely.
10. Team Utilization
I have observed that AGILE has given an opportunity to better utilize my team resource. How? Well
- Firstly I (as SCRUM Master and no Project Manager) don’t have to be a shepherd for my team. I serve them, facilitate them and help them to come out of impediments. They organize themselves choose their work, commit for themselves on efforts (I will cover the AGILE Estimation shortly), help each other
- Secondly, the entire team is work simultaneously. Coders are not sitting till review is being done, testers are not idle until development is done, everyone is engaged and moving on.
Word of caution: Frankly I can list many more benefits of AGILE, but before you step in for AGILE I have few points which you ponder before doing AGILE.
- AGILE demands a very high degree of customer involvement, while great for the project, may present problems for some customers who simply may not have the time or interest for this type of active participation. Thus ensure you have this kind of customer involvement.
- AGILE asks for development team completely dedicated to the project. You can’t park resources on multiple projects as this will call in costly context switching and won’t yield true AGILE benefits.
- AGILE prefers team at the same location. However, there are a variety of ways to handle this issue, such as webcams, collaboration tools, etc.
BIG QUESTION should you always choose AGILE:
- Your customer wants you to use the traditional methodology and doesn’t want to hear about Agile. End of discussion if the customer wants to keep him happy. Of Couse, you may take him through benefits but if still adamant, take it easy.
- Your customer requires neat documentation of each development cycle.
- Customer (Product Owner) can’t accommodate to indulge with team day to day bases.
- Your project is not very urgent, too complex or novel. Agile methodology is quite demanding, as we mentioned previously, so there is no need to use it for simple or typical projects.
- Your team is not self-organizing and lacks professional developers.
Hoping the above helps to choose wisely. Leave your comments and you will surely get answers.