Top 5 Agile Techniques You Need To Adopt

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Agile software development is an iterative and collaborative approach that divides the overall development process into smaller parts, or “sprints.” An increasing number of organizations across the globe are adopting agile considering that it’s an effective way to design robust applications that are resistant to cyber-attacks.

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Agile is going global as many organizations worldwide are using agile techniques in some way or the other. Organizations that adopt agile practices in every possible way for their projects will certainly witness significant improvements in the quality of the product, time to market and customer satisfaction.

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Adoption of agile practices is not just limited to IT departments but also to other business units. Especially, the Scrum method is widely used by developers, testers and managers owing to the fact that there might be changes in the requirements of customers during a project’s lifecycle —particularly in big / long-term projects.

Some Quick Facts:

According to VersionOne survey, it is clear that agile software development has grown increasingly popular over the last decade. The number of large enterprises that are embracing agile continues to increase each year. The pool of talent and agile experience continues to grow annually.

Here are some quick facts as per the survey that analyzed a total of 3,880 completed responses collected across a broad range of industries in the global software development community.

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[table width =”100%” style =”table-striped table-bordered” responsive =”false”]
[table_head]
[th_column]Top 5 Reasons for Adopting Agile[/th_column]
[th_column]Top 5 Benefits achieved by Adopting Agile[/th_column]
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[table_body]
[table_row]
[row_column]1. Accelerate product delivery (62%)[/row_column]
[row_column]1. Ability to manage changing priorities (87%)[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]2. Enhance ability to manage changing priorities (56%)[/row_column][row_column]2. Increased team productivity (85%)[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]3. Increase productivity (55%)[/row_column][row_column]3. Improved project visibility (84%)[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]4. Enhance software quality (47%)[/row_column][row_column]4. Increased team morale/motivation (81%)[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]5. Enhance delivery predictability (44%)[/row_column][row_column]5. Better delivery predictability (81%)[/row_column]
[/table_row]

[/table_body]
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So, what are the top 5 agile techniques adopted by the organizations that helped them achieve significant benefits?

The 10th Annual State of Agile Report listed down 25 agile techniques employed in 2015 by various organizations for software development. This blog discusses the top 5 agile techniques and their importance. The rest of the techniques will be discussed in our subsequent posts.

 

Top 5 Agile Techniques

 

The agile practices mostly focus on communication – making sure that all the stakeholders involved – just not the people who are developing the products or software solutions, but also the people who are using them. Agile is all about getting quick feedback to make the development and testing culture better. It splits the whole project into smaller deliverables so that people can talk about various tasks and review them on a frequent basis. All the top 5 agile techniques can be successfully accomplished through such communication and collaboration.

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Top 5 Agile Techniques and Their Importance:

  1. Daily Standup is held once per day, usually in the morning. Its duration should not exceed 15 minutes and is a typical standup, not a sit-down meeting since standup helps keep the meeting short. Standup is intended to keep everyone informed about what’s going on across the team. It is certainly not a detailed status meeting. The nature of the meeting should be light, easy and fun, but informative. A daily standup brings the team together and usually covers:
  • What did the team members complete yesterday?
  • What are the targets for today?
  • Any tasks or objectives got blocked or prevented due to any reason?

Such daily standups put accountability to the team members by making reporting compulsory about what they completed yesterday in the presence of their peers. It puts a check on the team member who is doing the same thing and not making any progress.

  1. Prioritized backlogs are a list of prioritized tasks that agile teams rely on for guidance to proceed with their work. The team members can work on these list of prioritized tasks if they finish their sprint goals before the current sprint concludes. The tasks are listed in the descending order considering the priority. The most important task is listed at the top of the list, so as soon as the team is ready they can start working on it. And, the less important task is ranked lower, and is listed at the bottom and would be explained only when it moves close to the top of the list. When the new task comes up, it is added to the backlog in an appropriate position so that the team has the visibility of what task to take up next.
  2. Short iterations help agile teams manage the complexity of the larger projects by breaking it down into smaller tasks following well-defined acceptance criteria. These smaller tasks help the teams to evaluate the progress of the project more accurately. Such short iterations enable the team to have frequent checkpoints to validate their work and ensure that they are producing value for their customers. With short iterations, agile teams can identify risks early in the project and find ways to eliminate them so that they do not cost much to the organization.
  3. Retrospectives are another kind of meetings that are organized at the end of iterations, usually for an hour. While the teams plan for the forthcoming sprint, they also review the last sprint in retrospectives to know if their goals were met, and if there are any slippages and the reasons for such slippages. Retrospectives assist the team to understand what did work well, and what didn’t. Certainly, retrospectives are not the meetings just for complaints without any action. Agile teams use retrospectives to understand and learn what’s working so that the team can keep their focus on those areas. Also, retrospectives find out what’s not working and utilize the time to find out solutions and develop an action plan. The retrospective is a key element of continuous improvement that drives the development and testing within an agile team.
  4. Iteration planning is a process to organize the work and define a realistic scope for each iteration. It is one of the key mechanisms which enables the team to discuss and agree on a set of stories (the primary artifacts used to define system behavior in agile development) for the next iteration and encapsulates the stories into a set of iteration goals. The iteration planning meeting emphasizes on the commitment by the team to deliver their tasks to achieve the goals set. At the end of the meeting, which lasts for 30 mins to 1 hour usually, the team members commit to the iteration goals and modify stories as required to achieve the larger objectives. All the stakeholders including the scrum master, product owner, team members, representatives from other agile teams and subject matter experts attend Iteration planning meetings. Iteration planning sets up the entire team to stay focused on the success throughout the iteration.

We, at Cigniti, follow agile practices for software testing. Our Advisory and Transformation Services team is focused on helping clients identify key areas of improvement; benchmark and align their agile processes to industry best practices; design target operating model to maximize the investments, and provide recommendations and roadmap to establish a high maturity agile Organization. To know more about how agile practices help you achieve improved business outcomes, drop a note at contact@cigniti.com.

Author

  • Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with offices in US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada.

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