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Top 5 Agile Trends To Take You Safe Through 2018 And Beyond

In recent times, Agile has proved to be more than just a buzzword in the IT industry.The amazing results of Agile project management have widened its scope for implementation in other than IT industry also; therefore, we often come across the terms like “being Agile” and “doing Agile”.More and more organizations and enterprises irrespective of size and business niche are adopting Agile with an eye on commitment, delivery values, profitability, customer’s satisfaction etc. Because of continuous Agile evolvement, you need to align Agile practices with the latest trends to compete with excellence in 2018 and beyond. Following are the top five Agile trends that will help you plan and sail safe through the competitive marketing environment.  1) Short-Term Activities Oriented Agile Training:Organizing the short-term activities oriented intensive workshop/training, planned to train the participants for implementation of specific skill in real projects, is a new emerging trend in Agile organizations. The long and exhaustive classroom training of 4 or 5 days are no longer a preference. The short–term Agile workshops/training leave the Agile team members with new ideas and cohesive understanding of the Agile roadmap. The improved capability to execute short iterations supports to market the product early. In addition, Agile workshops are helping the organizations to develop multi-disciplinary Agile specialists to maximize overall performance.2) Rapid Feedback:Predictions are good to plan but the ever-changing working conditions, new demands, and altered quality standards etc deviate the results. The biggest trend in Agile management for 2018, I noticed recently, is to focus more on rapid feedbacks of developments rather than depending on the predicted outcome. Rapid feedback is vital for Agile teams to understand the way project development is going. Creating a friendly environment allowing every team member to comment and even seek the feedback saves considerable time besides giving a true picture of progress. Continuous Integration (CI) is the best tool to maximize the benefits of rapid feedback.3. Embracing Agile Spirit:  Over the years, a number of organizations twisted & curled Agile methodology to meet their interests and suitability; as a result, some of these tasted just the semi-success. The new trend shows that organizations are embracing the Agile spirit as a part of organizational culture. Organizations are conducting short-period objective oriented trainings to strengthen the Agile mindset of team members.The application of modern Agile principles leads the organizations to deliver more values with satisfactory profit. There are four core characteristics of Agile mindset - value matters, small cycles matters, ecosystem in entire organization matters and culture matters. Agile Spirit embracement can be improved by following the five simple tactics- be transparent, be disciplined, ensure participation, get everyone aligned and set up collaboration as an Agile tool.  4) Cloud-Based Solutions:More Agile teams are adopting cloud-based solutions to find new ways for envision (prediction), coding, testing and deployment faster than they are/were doing now with the intention to have an edge over their competitors. Server-less computing has become the favorite of Agile teams; as, it reduces the need of ‘always on’ traditional server infrastructure, in addition to reducing the infrastructure and operational costing. The organizations that follow cloud-based Agile methodology have enormous competitive advantages supporting for higher quality, greater agility, faster market responsiveness, reducing costing, improving client’s experience etc. It can be said that Cloud technology is going to be an Agile accelerator.5) More Focus on ‘Business Value’ of User Stories:“If you can’t measure the results, you can’t improve the process” fine fits to modern Agile culture. Today, Agile organizations are more focused on measuring the lagging indicators like ROI of new products/ features, Net Promoter Score (NPS) of team members & customers, cycle time and operational stability etc. Using three-dimensional metrics, encompassing complexity, ROI and business value, is the new approach to measure the business value of a user story. Identifying business values before writing a user story rather than writing a user story and then evaluating the business values is a significant shift in modern Agile practice.Summary:Agile culture adoption is growing fast in organizations around the world. Internal Agile coaches, consistent Agile practices, and implementation of a common tool across Agile teams are the top three factors encouraging businesses to continue their Agile journey. According to ‘12th annual State of Agile report’, the top five Agile benefits reported by the organizations are –Better project visibility – through- rapid feedbackFaster delivery – through – cloud-based solutionEnhanced productivity – through – activities oriented learning workshopsImproved ability to manage the changing priorities – through – deep focus on business value of a user storyBetter IT alignment – through – Agile spirit embracementKnowledgeHut provides objective-oriented customized Agile training that helps the organizations match the steps with the latest trends in Agile methodology.
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Top 5 Agile Trends To Take You Safe Through 2018 And Beyond

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Top 5 Agile Trends To Take You Safe Through 2018 And Beyond

In recent times, Agile has proved to be more than just a buzzword in the IT industry.

The amazing results of Agile project management have widened its scope for implementation in other than IT industry also; therefore, we often come across the terms like “being Agile” and “doing Agile”.
Difference between Doing & Being AgileMore and more organizations and enterprises irrespective of size and business niche are adopting Agile with an eye on commitment, delivery values, profitability, customer’s satisfaction etc. Because of continuous Agile evolvement, you need to align Agile practices with the latest trends to compete with excellence in 2018 and beyond. Following are the top five Agile trends that will help you plan and sail safe through the competitive marketing environment.  

1) Short-Term Activities Oriented Agile Training:
Short-Term Activities Oriented Agile TrainingOrganizing the short-term activities oriented intensive workshop/training, planned to train the participants for implementation of specific skill in real projects, is a new emerging trend in Agile organizations. The long and exhaustive classroom training of 4 or 5 days are no longer a preference. The short–term Agile workshops/training leave the Agile team members with new ideas and cohesive understanding of the Agile roadmap. The improved capability to execute short iterations supports to market the product early. In addition, Agile workshops are helping the organizations to develop multi-disciplinary Agile specialists to maximize overall performance.

2) Rapid Feedback:
Rapid Feedback definitionPredictions are good to plan but the ever-changing working conditions, new demands, and altered quality standards etc deviate the results. The biggest trend in Agile management for 2018, I noticed recently, is to focus more on rapid feedbacks of developments rather than depending on the predicted outcome. Rapid feedback is vital for Agile teams to understand the way project development is going. Creating a friendly environment allowing every team member to comment and even seek the feedback saves considerable time besides giving a true picture of progress. Continuous Integration (CI) is the best tool to maximize the benefits of rapid feedback.

3. Embracing Agile Spirit:  
Embracing Agile SpiritOver the years, a number of organizations twisted & curled Agile methodology to meet their interests and suitability; as a result, some of these tasted just the semi-success. The new trend shows that organizations are embracing the Agile spirit as a part of organizational culture. Organizations are conducting short-period objective oriented trainings to strengthen the Agile mindset of team members.

The application of modern Agile principles leads the organizations to deliver more values with satisfactory profit. There are four core characteristics of Agile mindset - value matters, small cycles matters, ecosystem in entire organization matters and culture matters. Agile Spirit embracement can be improved by following the five simple tactics- be transparent, be disciplined, ensure participation, get everyone aligned and set up collaboration as an Agile tool.  

4) Cloud-Based Solutions:
Cloud-Based SolutionsMore Agile teams are adopting cloud-based solutions to find new ways for envision (prediction), coding, testing and deployment faster than they are/were doing now with the intention to have an edge over their competitors. Server-less computing has become the favorite of Agile teams; as, it reduces the need of ‘always on’ traditional server infrastructure, in addition to reducing the infrastructure and operational costing. The organizations that follow cloud-based Agile methodology have enormous competitive advantages supporting for higher quality, greater agility, faster market responsiveness, reducing costing, improving client’s experience etc. It can be said that Cloud technology is going to be an Agile accelerator.

5) More Focus on ‘Business Value’ of User Stories:
‘Business Value’ of User Stories“If you can’t measure the results, you can’t improve the process” fine fits to modern Agile culture. Today, Agile organizations are more focused on measuring the lagging indicators like ROI of new products/ features, Net Promoter Score (NPS) of team members & customers, cycle time and operational stability etc. Using three-dimensional metrics, encompassing complexity, ROI and business value, is the new approach to measure the business value of a user story. Identifying business values before writing a user story rather than writing a user story and then evaluating the business values is a significant shift in modern Agile practice.

Summary:

Agile culture adoption is growing fast in organizations around the world. Internal Agile coaches, consistent Agile practices, and implementation of a common tool across Agile teams are the top three factors encouraging businesses to continue their Agile journey. According to ‘12th annual State of Agile report’, the top five Agile benefits reported by the organizations are –

  • Better project visibility – through- rapid feedback
  • Faster delivery – through – cloud-based solution
  • Enhanced productivity – through – activities oriented learning workshops
  • Improved ability to manage the changing priorities – through – deep focus on business value of a user story
  • Better IT alignment – through – Agile spirit embracement

KnowledgeHut provides objective-oriented customized Agile training that helps the organizations match the steps with the latest trends in Agile methodology.

Shubhranshu

Shubhranshu Agarwal

Blog Author

Shubhranshu Agarwal is a technical writer with special interest in business management and project management subjects. Over the 15 years of freelance content writing, he has written a lot to help the industries, businesses and project managers to achieve the sustainable growth by implementing strategic critical management methodologies.
 

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New Ideas For Scrum Master Day To Day Activities

Large swathes of IT organizations are embracing Agile. This is both a good and bad news. Good news, for the many boons of Agile and Scrum known to all. Bad news, because you are no longer enjoying the benefits alone. Every day, every hour, more number of functional IT teams are making Agile work for them. Each in their own unique ways.  So what is the only way to not lag behind in the Agile race?                                                                                                         Always welcoming brand new ideas! Just like always, the beginning has to be done with the mainstay of the Agile team- The Scrum Master! If you are aware of the daily life of a Scrum Master, you already have the best of Agile cards to lay your hands on. The first and the best card is to relook and rethink the daily activities of a Scrum Master. Crossing this milestone will give you an idea of a few new entries in the existing Scrum Master’s checklist.  The Scrum team consists of three roles- Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team members. Everyone thinks that a team member who develops the software all day and a Product Owner who shapes the product all day, have full-time jobs. But based on assumptions, being a Scrum Master does not always mean having a full-time job. In any case, the role of the Scrum Master is highly important, as he/she manages the Scrum operations of the entire team.  "A Day in the Life of a Scrum Master" https://t.co/IVoiKxEAfF by @Barryovereem on @LinkedIn — Jacek Durlik (@jacek_durlik) September 4, 2017   Let us take a look at a day in the life of a Scrum Master:   Start the day with a ‘free and open mind’ Can ask a good question like “How can I facilitate creativity for the Scrum team to improve their lives?” Attend the Daily Scrum as a facilitator- You just need to listen to what things are being discussed in the meeting by team members. Consider some of the questions that are mentioned earlier. Based on the surveillance, you execute your next step. This might be coaching, facilitating, managing, problem-solving, conflict resolving, etc.  Getting too busy and not noticing the concerned things is an activity which should not happen to a Scrum Master.     The above-mentioned tasks should be the Scrum Master’s daily checklist. Collated below are some new ideas for Scrum Master day to day activities that can help improve your Agile practices.    1) Play dual roles: Scrum team members should always keep changing their area of expertise. Sometimes they should be able to choose a work which is outside their comfort zone.  For example- If you are a User Interface developer (where you know all the secrets of the domain) then you can try to work on the data access code too.   How to implement- Let us go with the above example. To enforce data access code, more than one team member has to work on a user story. Secondly, confine the user stories which are under ‘task in progress’, that is one user story should be smaller than the team size. Also, it can be implemented performing pair programming.      Takeaways- Enforcing the thing which is out-of-the-box can help expand your knowledge. More people will come to know about all the aspects of the software (how a software works, what are the resources needed, etc.). This will increase the courage of the team member. The courage to venture beyond their boundaries. They can gradually perform tasks that are outside their expertise, lowering risks of failure, and enhancing team spirit.   2. Ask to check commit review: Whenever a developer writes code and wants to check-in that code, test, and document to the version control system, he/she asks a co-developer to review the changes first. The developer can implement this by adding ‘commit reviews’ to the ‘definition of done’. Also, they can refuse the user stories for which commit reviews are not mentioned (can be viewed as a version control system). Takeaways- At least one person has been aware of the changes, this means he/she may continue working on this particular topic if the situation demands. It increases ‘know-how transfer’. It will help increase the overall quality, as the peer developer can challenge the decision made by the prior developer. This leads to better and painless solutions. The original developer will go through the changes and explain them to this peer, which will definitely help both enhance their knowledge and skills. It increases understandability to reply to the queries of the peer developer.   3. Give awards and celebrate the victory:     Being a Scrum Master, you can introduce the culture of celebrating a victory. For example- you may give little presents to the team (whole team, not only for the individuals) for achieving a Sprint goal. This will increase the motivation of the whole team.    4. Managing test-driven development: You can introduce test-driven development for developing the software. Takeaways- A team can work in parallel with the use of mock objects, with no need to wait for the availability of real dependencies. A team can refactor the code to initiate new functionality without changing the already existed functionality. Defect count will get reduced due to the double check done by the developers.    5. Arrange workshops on coding guidelines, designs, tools and different engineering practices:   Arrange workshop for the team members where you can discuss or try a new tool, current architecture, latest technology, build process and many more. This can be implemented by reserving time for the workshop and organizing an arbitrator (can be from the team).   Takeaways- Built team spirit, where a team can perform their own way. All team members will commence working in a team way rather than individual way, which will enhance team-wide consistency. Team can stay committed to each topic.   6. Coding DOJOS: In a Coding Dojo, the entire team gathers together in a discussion room. Two developers from the team perform pair programming at a computer which is connected to a projector for other team members. The pair is whirled every 15 minutes. In this way, team solves each other’s queries to develop engineering skills. This can be implemented by reserving time for the event (coding Dojo) and arranging a moderator.   Takeaways- The team will get an idea about how to develop a software. Know-how transfer can be achieved on all topics related to software creation.    7. Testing day:   When there is a lack of testers in the team, you can introduce ‘Testing day’ in the organization. Let each team member test the application and as a compensation for that work, that team member is freed from all coding tasks.   Takeaways-     Complete focus will be on testing. No task switching is allowed to get more efficient testing output and increased quality. As entire team participates in testing, they can share individual responsibility for the quality.     8. Urgent call for Scrum meeting:   Involve team members whenever there is an emergency to mitigate the risks which are inhibiting the Sprint goal. In that case, all the team members have to drop the current task and join the meeting.   Takeaways-   Big errors can be taken care of quickly. All the team members will get convinced that they are not alone.   9. Introduce WIP (Work-In-Progress) Limits on the Scrum Board: When there forms a stack of the user stories on the Scrum Board, you can put forward WIP limits on the boards. These limits will compel you to take care of the user stories that might block a flow. E.g. Developers may assist the testers by writing automated tests on the scenarios that have to be tested. This can be enforced by-   Writing the limits on the Scrum board Calling an emergency Scrum meeting whenever a limit is violated  Takeaway-   The status of more user stories will be ‘done’, removing them from the ‘to-be-done tasks’ list.   10. Kanban Scrum hybrid:   Rate the team capacity (in %) for working on user stories. So the PO can make use of this rating for the unplanned items that need to be finished early without delaying or canceling a Sprint. Once the current task is over, team members are compelled to take an item from the fast-lane (till the reserved time is utilized), before working on the regular Sprint backlog items. If the reserved time is not sufficient to end the backlog items, then the PO can either wait for the next sprint or cancel the sprint.    FYI- Kanban is a tool which organizes work efficiently. This tool breaks work to a small chunks and uses a Kanban Board (similar to Scrum Board) to represent the progress of the work.     Takeaways-   Can earn benefits from the Sprint planning and release planning. The team can stay focused on a Sprint goal.   11. Manage time boxes of Spikes: Make sure that the time boxes set for Spikes are taken care by the team members. Also, ensure that the user stories are prioritized. Try to show the results to the team members during each retrospective.   Takeaways-  Transparency in the team’s work. If the user stories are prioritized then it will not only maximize the value of the product at the end of each Sprint but also minimize a list of the pending tasks. Following the time-boxes not only helps in planning the future spikes but also holding a Sprint goal.    12. Fixing bugs before working on user story task: Initially, all the team members need to fix the bugs before working on a user story.   Takeaways-  Bugs are not piled up on the Scrum Board.   Motivation will be high. Quality will be better if the defects are zero.    13. Vertical User stories + Specialist → Pair Programming:  While working on a user story, if one domain expert shares his/her knowledge with another domain expert, then the knowledge transfer can be easy to the other team members. The user stories and specialist forms pair programming. At the Scrum meeting, you can decide the pairs and their respective tasks.    Takeaways-  Knowledge can be transferred from the specialist of the team. The whole user story can be implemented consistently due to the pair programming concept.   14. Personal Sprint goals:  Every team member selects personal Sprint goals, once the retrospective is over. 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Better focus due to fixing functionalities It allows more disciplined manner of working (i.e team members can either get the functionality fast or get an information within the defined time limit).  Do’s and Don’ts for the Scrum Master-   Concluding Thoughts- The role of the Scrum Master is still shrouded in a mystery.  It is said that the Scrum Masters are the voice of the Scrum framework at the team level. Scrum is indeed all about continuous improvement and learning. It is also about adding new hacks to the working culture. When it comes to Agile and Scrum, you definitely cannot achieve everything overnight. All you need is to get laser-focused on the newly incorporated Scrum practices and think of innovative ways to spearhead your team to greater altitudes.  It’s time to get started with the new!   
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