Aug 31

Agile Best Practices

Agile Best Practices

Agile is an iterative approach used by IT companies in project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster with fewer headaches. An agile team, instead of betting everything on a “big bang” launch, delivers work in small, but consumable, increments. A continious evaluation of requirements, plans, and results in agile mechanism gives teams a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.

Agile Methodology focuses on people and results to software development that respects our rapidly changing world. It centers itself around adaptive planning, self-organization, and short delivery times. Agile is flexible, fast, and it aims for continuous improvements in quality, using tools like Scrum and eXtreme Programming. It halts the risk of spending months or years on a process that ultimately fails because of some small mistake in an early phase. Instead, it relies on trusting employees and teams to work directly with customers to understand the goals and provide solutions in a fast and incremental way.

There are numerous practices in Agile. Following are the few best practices which if implemented correctly may help team to be successful.

Daily Stand-up Meeting : The Daily Stand up meeting is a measure to let team members know the overall progress of the project. The meeting enables every team member be aware of the work being performed and impediments faced by other team members and offer help to other team members to resolve each other’s issues.

Assigning Spike : Agile mechnism supports and recommends a time-bound iterative development.A team have to explore and find out the best solution for the problem or requirement in hand. Some time is reserved for the team members to research and find an effective and sound solution, which is also called a Spike.

Test Driven Development: Testing before programing. The testing tremendously helps team to create the code that is less error prone. It improves the quality of the code and cut time of bug fixes and refactoring sessions in the long run.

Refactoring: By doing refactoring developer help team to improve the quality of the code of conduct that helps the project in long run. The agile principle, “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility”, reminds us the importance of refactoring.

Continuous Integration with Automated build/time controlled: Implementing  continuous integration (CI) ensures team that their product is ready for release, anytime. Its a center piece of their quality assurance, because it acts as first check post to stop errors and issues.  CI goes along with automated build and automated testing. It  increases quality and reduce time for development for expert teams.

Task/Release/Issue and Planning Boards: A tool Task/scrum help boards to move tasks from one progress state to another. Dropping and draging tasks from one stage to another and sorting them with different filters. It gives more visibility and transparency of the work performed.

Sprint Retrospectives: An agile principle, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly”, reflects that an Agile team should look back and see what mistakes were made during its last iteration and how to avoid them in the future, or what processes or practices were great and what other ones did not work for the team.

Cross-Functional Team: A Cross functional team includes members who have all necessary skills needed for the project. A project might need an excellent Java programmer, an architect with SAS experience, programmers who also know how to write the Unit tests and a tester who knows how to automate the tests.  It is a responsibility of the project manager to make sure that all people with required skills are present in the team.

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