The word Agile is very popular in business community. This is especially true for IT. It is the name of the approach to managing teams and projects. Let’s see what its essence is and why Agile is needed.
What is agile methodology? Sense and basic principles
What does agile mean? Let’s open English dictionaries. The Oxford Dictionary provides two main explanations:
- Able to move easily and quickly.
- Capable of quick thinking and decision making.
The main thing in the agile approach is the ability to easily and quickly move (from task to task) and to quickly make informed decisions. This is a flexible methodology of vital importance for software development and implementation of other projects in the field of marketing, information technology.
The IT sector is the most competitive and here you need to keep a fast pace constantly. The main benefit of agile is that it allows you to accelerate the work of the team, increase efficiency and focus on the needs of the client.
Agile business essentials
Many management theorists and practitioners say that Agile is more likely not a methodology, but a set of tools and principles that can optimize processes, minimize contentious situations and speed up the work. What are the main principles of agile?
- The team should focus on the requests and needs of the client.
- It is important to simplify the organizational structure and processes in the team.
- Build work on the shortest possible cycles.
- Actively use feedback at each stage of work.
- A humanistic approach to work.
- Give to employees more decision making power.
Agile practitioners emphasize that this is more about work and life itself. We will tell you about all the principles in detail.
Agile focuses on customer needs
The idea that you need to focus on the needs of the client is quite obvious. How do agile tools help with this?
The main difference is that each member of the team must deeply study the client’s needs and wishes. By possessing this information, employees offer more effective solutions in their area of responsibility.
The main tool of work is short and most intense meetings of all team members or the majority. At such sessions, information, ideas are exchanged, decisions are made on how to proceed. It is very important that each participant leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of further actions.
Simplicity is one of agile’s core values. People should concentrate on work, and not on compliance with various regulations. The most popular way to organize work is Scrum. If you work by this method, all the rules and plans of a team of 10 people for 2 weeks can be written on a pair of sheets A0. Be sure to need a sprint backlog. This is a list of everything that is planned for the next iteration. Another requirement is to clearly record and observe meeting times.
Short work cycles
Teams working on the agile approach divide the workflow into short periods (a week or two). At the end of each cycle, it is important to get not just an intermediate result, but a workable, albeit simplified, version of the product. After each cycle, the product can be made more complex and functional.
For example, when creating an online store for the first cycle, we get a site with the main categories and two-three products in each. For the second cycle, you can modify the product card and user account. For the third, fill in all the products and implement filter pages, etc.
Work in such a system is regularly interrupted. But all the breaks have practical meaning. This can be product testing or demonstration of results to the customer. An important detail — pauses should be short and productive. The feedback received helps to improve the product, to make processes more efficient.
More authority for employees
This rule is very important for mental work. Remember that skilled workers do not want to feel like robots that perform two or three simple operations. At least because it demotivates.
More authority means that decisions will be made faster, which means that the result will be faster. Team members will not have to spend CEO time justifying each action.
The third important point — getting authority, people learn to think about their actions and bear responsibility. This means that if non-standard problems arise, work will continue and team productivity will be as high as possible.
Human attitude to everyone in the team
From an ethical point of view, everything is clear. But there is another side to the issue. Respect for every member of the team is good for the cause. What is the secret and how does it work?
The Agile approach takes into account that not only money are important for people, but also self-realization, the ability to solve interesting problems and do something useful. These factors play the greater role the more complex the work you do.
Agile is a way of life
Keep in mind that “to introduce agile and calm down” will not work. This is a way of continuous improvement. Remember that competition does not stop, which means you can not stop.
This article is just an introduction to the methodology. To learn the principles of agile more deeply, you will need to read a lot of literature.
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