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INFOGRAPHIC : The Power of Planning and Estimating in Agile

Estimating and planning is an important aspect of the Agile methodology. Every plan will help in building a platform to develop a project and estimation will help in filling the gap and remove the hindrances in the software development process. The Agile Methodology roughly provides an idea of how a project manager can plan and estimate to make project success. Estimating and planning are the two factors which influence the outcome of any project.Agile planning is all about measuring the speed at which a team can turn user stories into functional production-ready software. Estimating and planning are critical for the success of a software development project. It may involve various challenges due to estimation done by the wrong person which leads to mismatch in the process. It is a waste, if a team works without any specific requirement, and moreover if the tasks are not assigned properly, it may result in excess time and efforts.Agile planning bears a great significance when compared to Non-Agile planning.The step-by-step actions are taken through the user stories, whereas in case of Non-Agile planning, the focus is more on the problem. Often a question arises as to how one should implement Scrum for a large-scaled software development. It can be through 5 levels of Agile planning because they render flexibility on how you and the organization want to implement planning, based on teams, environment, and culture. The planning levels start with product vision which includes product owner taking care of the entire product right from the beginning with respect to the product structure as well. Product roadmap planning, which focuses on implementing the product involves product manager and the product owner. The next step is release planning where the project manager and his team involves and delivers the releasable product.Coming to Iteration Planning, it is basically an event where all team members determine how much of the team backlog they can commit to deliver during an upcoming Iteration and the entire work slots are determined. The team summarizes the work as a set of committed iteration goals. The end stage is the daily commitment planning where the team discusses the progress of the project and updates are given.Agile planning life cycle includes involvement of stakeholders, updating the status of the project and checking through what has to be improved for the further action and later improvements through Build-Measure-Learn cycle.The last phase deals with the Estimation step wherein the project expert’s opinions are taken into consideration for the development of the project growth, and breaking the bigger tasks into smaller units which helps in understanding the requirements better. Later, estimation is done through Retrospectives. This involves looking back at events that took place, or works that were produced, and at the end delivers a high quality software.Planning and Estimation is hard, estimates can be made as accurate as possible through a proper collaboration with the Product Owner.In summary, Agile estimation is a team sport where the team members-Estimate smarter not harderLearn from past experience.Only a right planning and estimation delivers the best product.
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INFOGRAPHIC : The Power of Planning and Estimating in Agile

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Estimating and planning is an important aspect of the Agile methodology. Every plan will help in building a platform to develop a project and estimation will help in filling the gap and remove the hindrances in the software development process. The Agile Methodology roughly provides an idea of how a project manager can plan and estimate to make project success. Estimating and planning are the two factors which influence the outcome of any project.

Agile planning is all about measuring the speed at which a team can turn user stories into functional production-ready software. Estimating and planning are critical for the success of a software development project. It may involve various challenges due to estimation done by the wrong person which leads to mismatch in the process. It is a waste, if a team works without any specific requirement, and moreover if the tasks are not assigned properly, it may result in excess time and efforts.

Agile planning bears a great significance when compared to Non-Agile planning.The step-by-step actions are taken through the user stories, whereas in case of Non-Agile planning, the focus is more on the problem. Often a question arises as to how one should implement Scrum for a large-scaled software development. It can be through 5 levels of Agile planning because they render flexibility on how you and the organization want to implement planning, based on teams, environment, and culture. The planning levels start with product vision which includes product owner taking care of the entire product right from the beginning with respect to the product structure as well. Product roadmap planning, which focuses on implementing the product involves product manager and the product owner. The next step is release planning where the project manager and his team involves and delivers the releasable product.

Coming to Iteration Planning, it is basically an event where all team members determine how much of the team backlog they can commit to deliver during an upcoming Iteration and the entire work slots are determined. The team summarizes the work as a set of committed iteration goals. The end stage is the daily commitment planning where the team discusses the progress of the project and updates are given.

Agile planning life cycle includes involvement of stakeholders, updating the status of the project and checking through what has to be improved for the further action and later improvements through Build-Measure-Learn cycle.

The last phase deals with the Estimation step wherein the project expert’s opinions are taken into consideration for the development of the project growth, and breaking the bigger tasks into smaller units which helps in understanding the requirements better. Later, estimation is done through Retrospectives. This involves looking back at events that took place, or works that were produced, and at the end delivers a high quality software.

Planning and Estimation is hard, estimates can be made as accurate as possible through a proper collaboration with the Product Owner.

In summary, Agile estimation is a team sport where the team members-

  • Estimate smarter not harder
  • Learn from past experience.

Only a right planning and estimation delivers the best product.

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Using Agile Project Management in SDLC

SDLC refers to the process of Software Development Lifecycle. It is a set of procedures with the assistance of which software systems, as well as information systems, are designed and developed. In this context, it is interesting to note that SDLCs comprises of various processes to complete the necessary steps related to software and information systems. It is also vital to note that one of the traditional methods for the designing of software and information systems is the Waterfall Method. Herbert D. Benington used the Waterfall method in the year 1956. He used it on the programming methods for the digital computers. This Waterfall method since then has formed the base for countless projects in a large number of industries. One of the major competitions faced by the SDLC method is the Agile Method. Particular problems associated with the Waterfall method of SDLC It is interesting to note that the Waterfall method goes through various steps of analysis, conception, initiation, testing, construction, and maintenance and product execution. The major drawback of the Waterfall method lies in the fact that the technical team cannot move to the next phase till the previous period is complete. However, there is one positive thing about this method, and it lies in the fact that if bugs are encountered in the early stages, it can save a lot of money and time. However, these types of corrections involve intensive amounts of certification. Moreover, each of these phases also needs an extensive amount of time so that there is no mistake in the final layout. All of these aspects make the Waterfall technology a traditional one with a lot of glitches.  How can agile help in the process of SDLC? The method of Agile Project Management is also known as an incremental approach to the notion of software development. In this context, it is important to note that in Agile Project Management, small amounts of products are released for the users to assess. By going through the reviews in a proper manner, the required alterations can be made to the design. In Agile Project Management, a plethora of developers works on their task in a simultaneous manner and way. After the work gets over, they opt for compiling in the end. In this manner, they usually save a lot of time. Moreover, the primary focus of this approach is to deliver working software rather than documentation. Furthermore, it is also one of those processes which make sure that it works on the cycle.  It gives rise to the discovery of new things during the completion of each cycle. As communication in place of documentation is being used, it is relatively more straightforward to execute projects by using the Agile Framework. It is also vital to note that the methods related to Agile are best for non-sequential projects. However, the application of Agile Framework is hugely dependent on the suitability of the project. In this context you may also take a look at the security development life cycle approach to Agile development.  The Scope of Life Cycles in Agile Framework The range of lifecycles of Agile in the SDLC framework may vary. It is so because the development of solution in the flexible frame is a bit complicated. If the technical team adopts a developmental process, it does not fully address the complete cycle of an operation. Hence, it is best recommended to the side to go beyond the construction lifecycle. On the other hand, with the Agile Framework, one can fine tune the IT processes. 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By tightening the feedback cycle and improving communication, the inputs from the stakeholders can be easily incorporated into the phase of construction.    The distinctive characteristics of the Agile Framework lie in its speedy nature of accomplishing tasks.  The primary functions of the agile framework in SDLC are being achieved by working in close cooperation with the stakeholders at each of the steps.  
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Using Agile Project Management in SDLC

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Essential Qualities of Highly Successful Scrum Masters

Scrum masters are servant leaders and coaches for Agile teams. They help the team in educating and ensuring whether Agile processes are being followed. Scrum Master helps in structuring a high-performing team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement.Scrum Master role is mainly one of a unique, Agile team member who spends much of his time helping other team members communicate, coordinate, and cooperate, generally he assists the team in meeting their delivery goals.When we talk about Scrum Masters, the basic roles and responsibilities include - being a Scrum Guide and a facilitator. And most importantly, being someone who removes impediments and shields the team from external interferences. Basically, a go-to person if any problem arises during Scrum implementations.Why do we put a Scrum Master in our teams?Scrum Master  is a mentor or a coach who makes sure that all the values, principles and procedures are followed properly. 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LeSS includes practices, principles for organizational structure Queuing theory, lean waste and more Theory of constraints Bas Vodde and Craig Larman introduced Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), the scaling model. Two Agile Scaling frameworks: In 2002, the coach and trainer Craig Larman wrote about the Agile and iterative development model. Most of them thought that Agile methodology fits for smaller groups. They both got interested in developing scrum towards large teams. So in 2005 they had to build a team to work with clients to scale up the Scrum processes. Now, we have two frameworks which have been adopted by the large-scale projects. The two LeSS frameworks are Smaller LeSS and LeSS Huge. Smaller LeSS: It applies to smaller companies with less team members  LeSS Huge: It works for larger companies with at least thousands of team members for one product  Rules of LeSS It focuses on the overall retrospective for each sprint, to maintain focus on delivery of a product. 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LeSS keeps the Scrum attributes-roles, sprint meetings are same with additional advantage to scale the work. Roles of management  In LeSS, managers may be involved or may not be. But if they involve, their roles may most likely change. They may divert their focus to improving the value delivery of a product instead of managing the day-to-day product work. Manager's role is to enable continuous development of product delivery by practices. Encourage the team members with experiments of adding skills. Business benefits of LeSS LeSS offers the roles of Scrum, the product owner is one among all who has to understand framework overview and principles One product owner and product backlog are enough for the delivery of a product. LeSS principles, procedures, and adoption in managing the success of the product.  Defines the product and its roles, and the cost of implementation is “less” in LeSS. Certifications:- No matter which scaled Agile approach you want to opt for your project, it depends on the size of the company, large-scale organization, and team size. This certification training covers all the principles, guidelines and rules of LeSS. The individuals who have basic knowledge of Scrum can attend the training and have a chance to get certified. Coming towards SAFe In the above, we have discussed how LeSS framework functions in the organization. Moving on we will discuss the SAFe framework in the development projects of an organization. Before proceeding with the detailed discussion on SAFe, let us see the LeSS vs. SAFe trends in the past 5 years.  Scaled Agile Framework(SAFe)   The Scaled Agile frameworks (SAFe) helps business individuals to address the significant challenges by spreading and delivering enterprise software systems in shortest intervals. The individuals can get free online knowledge to build their software systems with their success patterns.  SAFe was first developed by Dean Leffingwell's in his books to enhance large enterprises to set with highly structured and prescriptive methods. Its intention was to scale the enterprises with Agile and Lean practices for large-scale Agile teams to meet large organization’s strategic goals. Comparison of SAFe and LeSS from experience at Nokia. Key contrast: program execution vs customer-centric learninghttp://t.co/6pUfn12smE — Martin Fowler (@martinfowler) March 25, 2015 This framework provides:  Artifacts Collaboration Follows centralized strategy with a reasonable approach  Core values: The four basic values of SAFe is to guide the organization addressing more common problems.  Those are listed below- Alignment       It deals with business priorities and IT outcomes, stakeholder commitments, plans Transparency      It entails plans, focus, strategy, progress, and workflow Build-in quality      It maintains and practices the continuous support, innovative products Program Execution     It monitors, executes, and the continuous organization plans to improve the product. Principles of SAFe: SAFe is based on nine permanent principles, underlying Agile and Lean practices. These ideas and commercial concepts inspire the practices and roles of SAFe. Economical point Delivering the value within time, budget plans, risk, and development cost defined. System thinking Understand the workplace of a system, purpose of the system at client environment Assume variation, maintain options Traditional design and its practices made in single design, serve with design options and multiple requirements, make future adjustments for long-term projects. Build fast with incremental and integrated learning cycles Develop series of short iterations, have customer review and risk mitigation. Objectives and milestones for evaluation of working systems Business owners, customers, and developers have their response in investments to get economic benefits and their experience shows an effect to design and meet the challenge. Reduce team size, limit work and visualize, manage length in series Resize the team to facilitate fast and reliable flow, amount of work in limit and make the process to less demand, reduce the wait time for new capabilities by having the queue. Applying metrics, synchronize with cross-domain plans Cadence provides a measure for the development team, synchronization causes multiple perspectives to be understood, integrated and resolved. The Motivation of knowledge workers with permanent unlock Purpose and Providing autonomy, with minimal constraints that lead to employee engagement in higher levels results in better outcomes for customers. Devolution of decision making Reduces delays, fast delivery, improves and enables feedback faster and creates innovative solutions related to local knowledge. Configurations of SAFe: We have four configurations in SAFe which provide more configurable and scalable approach to the full range of development environments. These are illustrated below. Essential SAFe It is the basic building block for all SAFe configurations that trace critical elements needed to meet the major benefits of a framework with simplest starting point of implementation. Here program levels and the team forms an organizational structure known as Agile Release Train(ART). Large solution SAFe The large solution safe deals with the biggest challenges where multiple agile releases are necessary but don’t require portfolio-level considerations. These require additional artifacts, roles, and coordination enterprises. Portfolio SAFe  Portfolio SAFe helps align portfolio execution to the enterprise strategy, by the way of Agile development. It helps in providing the business agility through various principles and practices. Full SAFe Full SAFe supports the enterprises which maintain large integrated solutions, were requires hundreds of people or more, and includes all levels of SAFe. Spanning Palette The spanning palette is applicable to a specific team, program, large solutions. It helps the organizations to apply the elements which are only important and needed. Different types of SAFe : We have two major types of SAFe 4.0 implementation- implementation with 3-Level SAFe and 4-Level SAFe. 3-Level SAFe is for small projects in business organizations with a team of 100 individuals, that doesn’t require the special collaboration. As the name itself indicates, it has three levels of SAFe- Program, Team, and Portfolio. 4-Level SAFe requires many 100s to 1000s of individuals to obtain solutions to develop, maintain and deployment. The 4-Level SAFe includes an additional level as value stream between the Portfolio Levels and Program for larger organizations. Evolution of SAFe SAFe has evolved with business and continuous process to increase its work demand. The future versions of the framework will increase our commitment towards developing industry, resulting in effective experience with scaled Agile and Lean practices. We have a few versions of SAFe, those are listed below-  1.0 SAFe 2.0  3.0 Lean product development systems thinking 4.0 Full SAFe 4.5 Latest version of SAFe  4.5.1 Leading SAFe Certifications: SAFe training makes the individuals to obtain a deep understanding of concepts that boost their career growth. This certification course deals with every principle in the Agile manifesto with its frameworks.   Benefits in Business: No predefined metrics in this stage, if we adopt a SAFe framework Discussing with team levels about products-retrospective Productivity-estimated time and effort to release a product The time to market will be based on the status of a report with the variation of workflows. Differences between LeSS and SAFe Conclusion: LeSS and SAFe are essentially Scaled Agile frameworks that help enterprises level up. All frameworks look similar but in reality, we choose the best framework that is suitable for the project based on the product. In this article, comparison of LeSS and SAFe describes their roles, principles, team, portfolios, and processes.  Choose the best framework for your project and experience ultimate productivity in your team.
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LeSS Vs SAFe: Which Certification Should You Choos...

Agile and Scrum development is a trending technolo... Read More