Major Agile benefits for business success
By Iryna Savruk /

Applying Agile methodology can be very beneficial for your business. It is very useful in project development because it helps to track technical flaws, implement changes and effectively improve the project structure.

Following this methodology speeds up the decision-making process and helps to avoid time-consuming meetings. Also, Agile enhances customers’ experiences by transparent communication, which involves regular personal discussions and online meetings.

Stakeholders engagement

We believe that a customer should be actively engaged in the development process of the entire project, so they can easily track progress and provide feedback. For this reason, regular meetings are held. We encourage our clients to participate is iteration planning, review sessions and retrospective discussion to make sure that everything is going according to the initial plan.

Such collaboration between all parties helps our team to fully understand the client’s vision and develop a trusting relationship.

Collaborative team

Agile team consists of stakeholders, a product owner, a project manager, a Scrum master, team members and a team leader. Every team member has clearly defined responsibilities and own workload for a specific unit of time, which is mutually discussed and agreed. Such process creates a shared sense of ownership and goals for all members of a team.

Quick and predictable delivery

Time-boxing greatly impacts the frequency and speed of feature delivery. All timeframes are agreed beforehand, so the stakeholders can expect the implementation at a specific time and easily predict the project duration and costs. To see the number of tasks per unit of time, burndown chart is used. It reflects the work timing and schedule.

Sprints are also very useful in terms of budget planning and innovation. Knowing the exact project timeline helps to decide which feature should be added or optimized.

Flexibility

Agile makes it possible to continually reprioritize and refine the product backlog. New changes can be added quickly to the next iteration and delivered within a few weeks. Usually, sprints include demo meetings and retrospectives which are very important for the implementation of new features. During the sprint demo meeting, a team presents the functionality to the customers and explains how it works. Afterwards, the customer decides if the quality of work is acceptable and meets the project requirements. Retrospective meeting are held after a sprint to discuss possible improvements, the quality of work, tools, and other issues. Often, development team comes up with some interesting ideas about future features, which we discuss with the customers afterwards.

Regular meetings

Regular communication plays a key role in Agile. It presupposes different types of meetings, including daily stand-ups, sprint demos, retrospectives, and others.

Stand-ups are probably the most important for the performance of the development team. These daily short meetings last about 15 minutes where team mates discuss what was done the previous day, current goals, and possible obstacles.

High Quality

In Agile, every project is broken down into User Stories, manageable units, which should be completed in a particular Sprint. User stories should contain a general description, acceptance criteria, and time estimation. If they look too complex, our manager breaks them up into smaller ones. Dividing big tasks into smaller user stories enables faster delivery and better testing process. Numerous tests or reviews are conducted throughout the iteration which helps us to find defects or mismatches easily and fix them quickly.

Moreover, all user stories should be implemented in pairs where one developer is the owner of the user story and the other one provides support. Afterwards, they review the written code together. This practice enhances the quality of code and encourages closer cooperation in a team.

Effective prioritization and Planning

Iterative development is great for planning. Teams decide how much time each member needs for a task completion due to the experience from the previous iteration.When tasks accumulate, they form a queue, which is then analyzed by a project manager. During the meeting, the priority tasks are determined and others are kept in backlog.

it’s quite critical to choose the right features for development. Continuous feedback from team members and stakeholders enables focusing on the right things and not being distracted by minor ones. Clear definition of product strategy, business goals and timeline is essential to start prioritizing process.

Product backlog can be structured by components (back-end, front-end, API), strategic importance, or the field of application (marketing, design, technical flaws). To decide which feature your business needs the most, lean prioritization approach is applied. This approach uses simple matrix with two axes – value of feature and it’s complexity. According to it, all the tasks in backlog are divided into 4 categories:

Valuable features, can be very quickly realized

Valuable features, difficult to implement

Features, that will not bring much value, can be easily implemented

Features that can be skipped

The features that have won in Lean Prioritization are discussed on planning poker. Planning Poker is a great tool to validate the idea. The group members come up with ideas, discuss and evaluate them according to the Fibonacci sequence. Then, the participants who put the biggest and smallest number explain their decision and the consensus is made. If a feature has many benefits and is approved by the team, it is suggested to the stakeholders.

The feature in question is evaluated according to the selected criteria and given scores from zero to ten. Criteria for scoring may be different, e.g. value for users, bigger income, significant innovation, strategic value and others.

Agile significantly boosts our performance and relationship with customers. Business success of our clients is very important for our team that's why we do our best to advance our skills and follow best Agile practices at Incora.