There are a number of benefits of Agile software development methodologies for project management. Development teams can react to changes in requirements and market conditions, communicate directly and closely, and deliver a superior product within budgetary limitations using an Agile methodology. Agile teams work extremely well and react excellently to the unavoidable changes that come with the projects.
However, businesses and organizations encounter many challenges when trying to adopt Agile software development methodologies.
We’ve already written about ways to overcome challenges regarding communication and organizational culture in an earlier article.
Top management support is necessary for agile software development methodologies to succeed. Individuals at the top level of management can be hesitant to embrace Agile models. Management might ask the development teams that effectively use Scrum methodologies to deliver conventional measures of work progress.
It is important to note that converting results on the daily, mid-sprint, sprint end and project levels into conventional waterfall-type progress measures takes a lot of time and effort.
Conventional methodologies concentrate on longer-term results. Translating daily work progress to fit these methodologies is not easy. Management and the development team must work closely to understand the new way of measuring work progress.
In product development, the team has to complete a set of specific tasks and make the work ready for review during a sprint.
The sprint starts with a planning meeting during which the development team and the owner of the product decide what work will be performed. Sprint duration is agreed upon at the start of the project, and is usually set between 1 – 4 weeks (with 2-week sprints being the most common).
After a sprint starts, the owner of the product should allow the development team to do their job. During the sprint, the development team holds daily stand-up meetings to discuss what they did since the previous stand-up meeting, what they are working on currently, what is their next planned task, and if there are any blocking issues. Solutions to the challenges are also discussed.
The project owner (often called chickens in Scrum circles) can attend the stand-up meetings; however, he or she should not participate unless it is to answer queries. During a sprint, the owner of the project can put forward his or her requests for changes. The power to stop or interrupt the sprint lies in the hands of the project manager or scrum master. At the sprint end, the development team presents the finished work to the project owner.
Restrict your daily stand-up session to no longer than 15 minutes. Hold the stand-up meetings with the same individuals at the same time each day. Discipline is needed in Agile projects. Don’t let team members miss daily stand-ups, and try to engage everyone during the meeting.
Conduct the meeting at the beginning of the day and near your team’s workspace. The meeting should be attended by the team members responsible for executing tasks.
Companies do not concentrate much on initial training when adopting Agile methodologies. It goes without saying that the members of the development team should be trained properly. Organizations and companies also need to give training to their management personnel and clients who are new to Agile development methods.
You should treat Agile methodologies as a framework for doing work. For every new project, the work processes should be started from scratch. Build your work processes from the ground up with respect to project and client requirements. They should involve developers, clients, and management right from the beginning.
Sometimes, the development team shows no interest in adopting a new methodology. They often feel frustrated by having to deliver reports on a regular basis and show their incomplete work to the higher management.
We successfully deal with this challenge by making it mandatory for developers to regularly commit their code during the work process.
It means that the development team has to commit work (even work which is not fully done) at least once a day. You can also apply feature branching workflow in your team. Feature branching enables developers to work on their own feature and stay isolated from changes occurring elsewhere.
It is important for a development team to keep track of its activities. Our developers are also required to administer their daily progress in an issue tracker. You will probably have to develop your own policy for this over time. As always, find the best way that works for you and your projects.
It may happen that the clients themselves are not interested in committing to Agile software development methodologies. So businesses and organizations should try to assess the needs of their clients regarding product release, reporting, and sprint planning.
Clients should also make an effort to understand a company’s work processes thoroughly. Do your best to explain the processes to your clients with in detail. However, you should be aware of the fact that you might never gain full commitment from the client side.
More helpful resources about the Agile development process: