But are you really Agile? We have witnessed a few software development projects get set back because stakeholders insist on doing things that conflict with Agile’s core principles. Yet, they continue to latch on to the Agile promise of launching apps fast and updating often.
To fully grasp the soul of Agile, one must commit to the Agile Manifesto of 2001 and its principles. And to begin to understand what Agile is, we need to know what it is not.
Fixed timeline, scope, cost
In Agile, we embrace change. We respond to feedback fast. When, for example, a few weeks away from the launch you receive feedback that a major feature of your app will not work well with an upcoming OS update, you have to be able to respond quickly to the issue. Will this affect your scope, timeline, and cost? Very likely. An Agile team already expects these changes and is ready for them.
However, if you can cast in stone your scope, timeline, and cost for a project, then you shouldn’t be taking the Agile approach. And that’s okay. It brings us to our next point.
The silver bullet to software delivery
Not all software development projects have to be Agile. It will not make you less cool to take the traditional approach for projects with uncomplicated, clear-cut features and a non-urgent timeline. You probably will only have one sprint and will not expect updates after shipping the software. In this case, going Agile will unnecessarily complicate your project. Agile is not the only way to successful project delivery.
A free-for-all approach to software delivery
Yes, Agile does not have an upfront planning phase where team members map every feature, design, and even the buttons of an application. Agile does not plot out what color the app menu will be and what day of the year will they build a particular screen.
This does not mean Agile developers will randomly take coding tasks from the bucket and run with it. An Agile project will still begin with high-level planning; it just won’t stay in that stage for a long time. Every sprint is another opportunity to plan new features; only this time, the team will already have a better understanding of their pace and team dynamics. The learnings will inform them on how to be more efficient in planning and in implementing the next sprint.
Agile does not mean there are no rules. While the team is expected to govern itself, they set guidelines beforehand to make sure that the output aligns with the policies and values of the organization. Stakeholders trust that the team will do its job, but share responsibility with the team. Every day, everyone commits their time and attention to a standup meeting where they will resolve impediments a team member may be experiencing.
Stratpoint lives and breathes Agile
We have fully embraced Agile (what it is and what it is not) in all our software development initiatives. In our years of practice, we have witnessed and experienced the challenges of transitioning from traditional to Agile. The benefits of a truly Agile culture make the effort worthwhile. It shows in our software development projects: we can deliver software in a 2-week sprint and deploy improvements continuously, as the users demand it.
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