Ever since its core principles have been properly formalized, Agile has been used as a go-to for software development practices. Although Agile is predominantly used as a software solution, more and more teams outside the tech industry are starting to adopt it in their daily work. Using the well-established Agile principles in non-tech environments has proven itself to be far more beneficial when it comes to team collaborations, increased customer satisfaction, getting work done efficiently and not missing a single deadline.
What exactly is Agile?
Agile refers to an iterative, time-boxed approach to software development. Envisioned by a group of developers looking for a more efficient way to write software, the movement has been taken from its development roots and used primarily as a project management solution. What makes Agile so efficient as a system is the approach to work incrementally from the project’s start, instead of rushing to deliver the whole package once the deadline is near. The projects are broken down into smaller bits called “user stories”, which are later prioritized and delivered in short iterations, or two-week cycles.
Manifesto and common practices
Many popular frameworks have stemmed from the Agile manifesto, such as Kanban, XP, and Scrum. Some of the values described by the manifesto include helping people and organization to organize and communicate their work better, getting work done instead of talking about getting work done, collaborating and staying in touch with customers and being flexible when it comes to implementing changes into the existing plan structure, etc. The frameworks themselves are made up of individual Agile practices such as
- Writing a backlog and prioritizing work
- Creating tickets which describe the amount of work needed to accomplish tasks described in the backlog
- Using public boards to display progress, both for the team and the stakeholders
- Planning the work incrementally and getting it done in a set time-period of two to four weeks
- Holding daily meetings where challenges, as well as work progress are discussed
- Including retrospective meetings after the two to four weeks’ period has passed in order to discuss all the things that went wrong and those that could be improved upon
Using Agile for better communication with the stakeholders
One of the best ways to communicate progress with your team and the stakeholders would be to use a prioritized backlog. This could be done on a public board such as Trello, or a private one hosted on your company’s servers. The board can list anything from current work requests, tasks that are currently in development, how long it’s going to take, etc. Allowing stakeholders to add requests to the board is perfectly fine, as long as you and your team prioritize each request and accomplish it according to the pre-set timetable.
Color coding the tasks is preferable, as it allows you to separate the tasks your team can currently work on from the those going straight to the backlog. Not to mention that both the team and the stakeholders have the ability to prioritize a certain task in the backlog by democratically voting for it until it gets pushed to the top. Prioritizing backlogs allows for expectations to be communicated better and implements cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders and team members.
Product development with Agile
Besides software development and task delegation, Agile practices such as continuous delivery can be used to create, maintain and improve products both before and after the launch. This can be accomplished by using a two to the four-week time period to complete a draft regarding a specific product, then sending the draft to testers in order to get feedback. This feedback can later be incorporated and used to identify and flaws and further improve and work on the product before settling on the final version.
Using Kanban board as a recruitment tool
Although recruitment can be viewed as a rather standard process from start to completion, there are some factors which can interrupt the flow of said process. This leads to spending more time, effort and resources on getting the work done. In order to avoid experiencing any irregularities in the recruitment process flow, the recruiting team needs to be efficient and flexible while maintaining transparent communication with the other team members and stakeholders. If they don’t, any discrepancies in the workflow could easily snowball into real issues such as candidates dropping out too early and hiring costs rising significantly.
These are just some of the examples how businesses can use Agile in order to improve the overall work efforts. When implemented properly, Agile practices allow teams to accomplish tasks more efficiently and communicate their progress with stakeholders and the rest of the company without any issues. Properly implemented Agile principles assure that you and your team never miss a single deadline and leave your customers unsatisfied. Even if you don’t incorporate the entire Agile manifesto, the individual practices themselves hold a tremendous value which should definitely not be ignored.