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Why adopting an agile approach?

What benefits can you expect by adopting an agile approach?

Do you want to eliminate bureaucracy and favor productivity and creativity? Do you need to be dynamic and adaptive to stay competitive?
Let us tell you some tempting reasons why you should adopt an agile mindset!

Agile Manifesto

1. Deliver the right product

The agile approach focuses on users satisfaction and providing business value. A close collaboration between the Business User / Customer and the Developer(s), as well as prioritization of the product features with the view of the Customer in mind, ease the road to achieving a better product, i.e. the one with the greatest business value.

2. Make stakeholders / customers happy & engaged

An agile team works in the interest of the customers. Work occurs in time-boxed iterations, and the key stakeholders get continuously involved along the process. Always aware of the status of the current development, the stakeholders are given a demo of the new developed functionalities after each iteration. As counterparty they are asked to provide feedback. This process helps to align the expectations, but also to review the requirements for the next steps, while the transparency boosts trust and engagement. The effort and the complexity estimates of each new development item from the Developer(s), combined with the fixed duration of the development iteration and the known capacity of the team, provide reliable costs and delivery estimates. Therefore the project can be continuously monitored and the risk of total failure is quasi non existent.

3. Increase productivity

The development team self-organizes, as developers are the experts and know best how things should be done and who is more suited do what when. The whole team is responsible for the quality of the delivery and having this authority provides a sense of ownership and belonging, which ultimately makes the team take responsibility for the product and boosts its productivity.

4. Ensure higher product quality

The development occurs incrementally allowing the team to focus on smaller, more manageable bits. This helps the team gaining experience and expertise, making sure that issues are caught and handled early on. Agile principles discourage multi-tasking and even if the team members are often cross-functional, they should tackle one task at a time, as more focus means better and faster outcome. The User Stories, which describe the features of the product, should contain the acceptance criteria to validate the implementation. While the team is responsible for the testing at the technical level, the user/customer for the UAT (User Acceptance Testing). Conducting frequent reviews and testing helps to catch issues early on and gives the chance to fix them at an early stage.

5. Enable flexibility

In an agile approach being reactive to changes is more important than following the plan. Each iteration offers the opportunity to refine or to re-prioritize the requirements.

6. Profit from continuous delivery

The incremental delivery provides continuous chances for improvements and adjustments because at each iteration a working product that provides value to the customer is delivered. Continuously validating the development reduces the risk of project delivery to smaller bits. The delivery is predictable, due to time-box work management, expected at the end of the iteration, usually fixed to a 1 to 4 weeks cycle.

7. Have fun

In an agile approach, individuals are more valued than processes. The team is central and empowered to decide about its own work. Direct communication and close collaboration with the customers is crucial, while sharing of knowledge and information helps the team feeling more committed. Failure becomes an opportunity to learn, and learning is motivating. Mistakes and issues are discussed within the team, no one is blamed and decisions for solutions and improvements are taken together. The team shares successes and failures as a whole. The team is self-managed and receives support from an agile advocate (coach or scrum master), who facilitates the work of the team by identifying and removing impediments.

Finally do not forget that a change of mindset is more important than the implementation of a new working framework for a successful Agile transformation. The top management should be enthusiastic and supportive and at the same time, the team members should not be afraid not to identify to their old functions anymore.