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The Definitive Guide to Agile Framework

In present times, nearly all software development companies and teams tend to follow Agile in one form or another. But, before committing to Agile, it is very important to understand-What is Agile?How does Agile work?Organizations and project teams should primarily understand “why” they want to adopt Agile. If you are keen on learning more about Agile, you have landed yourself in the perfect place, where you will get to know everything that you need to know about Agile, right from the history to its usage.Here, we will not only discuss what Agile is but also talk about what Agile is not. Once you understand what Agile really means, you’ll not only be able to implement Agile practices at your organisation but also acknowledge situations which can be improved with the help of Agile.  Read along to know what it really means at its root.Understanding AgileAgile is not a methodology, neither is it a specific way of working on software development, nor a framework or process. Agile in actual, is a set of values and principles, as defined by the Agile Manifesto.It is a term which describes the different approaches to software development, highlighting team collaboration, incremental delivery, recurrent planning, and recurrent learning. It is an iterative approach that builds software incrementally, instead of delivering it all at once.Agile doesn’t make any decision for you but provides you with a platform that teams can make use of to make decisions that result in better software development.  How does Agile work?Agile breaks down a project into small scales of user functionality, known as user stories.  These can be compared to a to-do list that you make for the tasks that you have to complete. Developers work on these user stories, prioritise these user stories and group them into iterations, assigning deadlines to each iteration.  Once the iteration is over, developers might have a possible product that users can test. Hence, Agile projects help in creating user stories on which they can work iteratively, depending on the user’s feedback. This way, the software becomes better suited for users according to their needs while at the same time, it minimises complexity. Instead of a pre-set of requirements, developers work according to adapt their software as per the requirements by users’ feedback.Let’s take a step back and have a look at how Agile was discovered and where it came from.Life before AgileIn today’s world, project managers can make a choice out of multiple methodologies addressing the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for a particular project. The top choice is Agile, which helps teams to work according to the changing requirements through incremental, iterative project work.Before Agile was born, the process that SDLC  followed was very inflexible. The process it followed was:Collecting the requirementsDesigning and implementing the softwareVerifying if the software is still functioningMaintaining the softwareWithout any alteration, the phases were completed in the above-mentioned order. Each phase was first completed and validated before starting the next process. Any changes in the previous phase meant starting the project from the square one until each phase was redone and approved.Though it's unbelievable, such inflexibility of this process didn’t cause any kind of hindrance in the process of software development. This was because technological innovation was very slow at that period of time. There was no problem in spending several months gathering information and requirements, while at the same time design a software program.Origin of AgileIn the early 2000s, seventeen software developers met in Snowbird, Utah to discuss the methodologies that were being used at that time. These seventeen software developers included Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Dave Thomas, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Jim Highsmith, Alistair Cockburn, and Bob Martin. They all published the ‘Manifesto to Agile Software Development’ together, which marks the start of the agile movement.According to the Agile Manifesto:The 4 core values as stated by the Agile Manifesto are:Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsWorking software over comprehensive documentationCustomer collaboration over contract negotiationRespond to change over following a planThe four values outlined in the Agile manifesto promotes focusing more on the quality of the software by creating products that meet the consumer’s needs and expectations.The four values and twelve principles of the Agile ManifestoIndividuals and interactions over processes and toolsPeople and individuals respond to the business needs in order to drive the development process, hence people should be valued more than tools or processes.Working software over comprehensive documentationAgile takes user stories as requirements, which a developer uses to begin building new functions.  The Agile Manifesto values working software more than it values documentation.Customer collaboration over contract negotiation According to the Agile Manifesto, a customer can be engaged and can collaborate throughout the process of development. This makes it easier for the team to meet the needs of the customer.Respond to change over following a planWith Agile, priorities can be changed from one iteration to another iteration while new features can be added as well. Agile believes that changes improve a project and provides additional value.The Twelve Principles are the guiding principles for the methodologies which are included in the Agile Manifesto. It describes the way by which changes are welcomed and customers are focused during the process.Highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.The focus is to deliver what the customer wants, not what one has planned. Customers are more happy with receiving working software at regular intervals, rather than waiting for a long period for new releases.Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.Embrace changes, even if it is requested by the customer late in the project. One can try and avoid delays when a new change has been requested.Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to a shorter timescale.Create short periods of time to run tasks and make changes. It ensures a regular delivery of the working software.Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.It is important to build a bridge between developers and the business side of the project so that they can make use of the same tools and work together to make better decisions.Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.Motivate and support your team so that they work in a more dedicated manner. Motivated teams deliver the best of the results that they can.The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.Communication is a key factor for teams in order to deliver information. Communication is possible in multiple ways, like documenting conversations, creating email streams, using collaboration software, keeping the development teams co-located, etc.Working software is the primary measure of progress.Progress is measured by the success of the software (or the product), not by completing the tasks and moving along the timeline.Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.Sprints in activities help teams stay motivated and less burnout, which doesn’t affect the quality of the project.Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.To maintain the right pace and in order to constantly improve the product, the right skill, as well as good design, is very important.Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not being done—is essential.Cut down the unnecessary complexities and keep things as simple as possible in order to streamline your development process.The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.Team members take ownership, communicate more regularly and share ideas in order to deliver quality products.At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.The process of self-improvement, process improvement, working on their skills and techniques helps a team to work in a more effective manner.Why use Agile?Agile involves the process of continuous planning and feedback in order to deliver business value since the beginning of the project. The whole process encourages user involvement as well as provides visibility and transparency so that the actual progress of the project is visible. Read along to know the key benefits of agile management.Increased project control with early and predictable delivery:Due to regularised sprint meetings, features are delivered in more flexible manners with more transparency. If the demands are met before the planned or predicted date, the software can be Beta-tested or released beforehand.Client gratification:The process involves allowing the client to determine the priority list of the features. This way, the team can understand what is more important to the client and his business, and work accordingly. The client is involved in every sprint review. Moreover, the process helps in delivering the products quicker or by the predicted date, making the clients get early access to the product.Improvement in quality:Since the exercise involves breaking down the project into small units, high-quality development, testing and collaboration come into focus. Moreover, the quality is improved due to frequent builds and testing after each iteration as defects can be identified and fixed during the process.Predictability of Projects:The value of a project is calculated on the basis of cost and ROI. If the ROI outweighs the cost, then the company might carry the project further. But predicting the results of the projects where ROI is not known becomes strenuous. Hence, predictability is very crucial in projects. By using Agile techniques during the planning phase of the project, the cost of a project can be predicted and it can also be concluded if they should continue with the project.Reduced Risk: The chances of project failure are nearly eliminated by the use of Agile methodologies as a functioning product is available from the very first sprint. Since the product is developed in sprints, it is easier to know if the product or the approach will work or not.Analysis, design, coding, and testing happens continuously:For an Agile project, analysing, designing, coding and testing are never done with. As long as there are features to work on and deliveries to make, these activities are a continuous process.Not all developers advocate agile. Some of the developers follow the traditional methodology known as ‘waterfall’, which is also used widely in businesses. Let's have a look at what this traditional methodology is and how it is different from Agile.Waterfall Vs. Agile:What is Waterfall methodology?Waterfall methodology is a linear approach to software development. The Waterfall model follows the sequential order, meaning that the project development team moves to the next phase of testing or developing only if the previous step has been completed successfully.This method is also known as the Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model.What is Agile?Agile follows the process of continuous development and testing in the software development process itself. Unlike the Waterfall Model, the development and testing activities are concurrent in this model. Communication between the customers, developers, managers, and testers are possible in this methodology.Advantages of the Waterfall Model:Makes faster delivery of the project.The whole process and the results are documented properly.Works well for small sized projects where there are easy requirements.Each phase has a specific delivery date and a review processBeneficial for managing dependencies.Advantages of the Agile:This process focuses on the client, making sure that the client us involved during all the stages.The quality of the developed product is assured with the usage of this method.The risk in the development process reduces as both the team and the client know the progress of the project.Better results are obtained.Limitations of the Waterfall Model:This model is not suitable for large size projects.One cannot move back in phases to make any changes.The results will be less effective if the requirements are not clear from the starting.In this model, the testing process starts only after the development is over. In such cases, there are higher possibilities that bugs will be found in the development, making it much more expensive to fix.  Limitations of the Agile:An expert is required to make important decisions.The project can go off track if the vision and mission of the project are not clear.The cost of implementation of the agile method is a little more as compared to other methodologies.Difference between Waterfall Method and Agile Methodologies.AgileProject Trait or FactoWaterfallHas an incremental approach.ApproachThe process is divided into distinct phases.Customers are preferred throughout the project.Customer AvailabilityCustomers are involved only after the product has been developed.Small teams with good coordination and synchronization.TeamTeam coordination and synchronization are limited.It has a flexible methodology.MethodologyIt has a structured process, so most of the times it can be quite rigid.Can be considered as a collection of many projects.Final ProductOne single project is completed after the software development.It is a flexible method which allows changes to be made as per requirements, even after the completion of the initial planning.ProcessThe requirements cannot be changed once the process of project development starts.Works well when the scope is not known in advance as changes can be made in the process.ScopeWorks well when the scope is known in advance or when there are limitations to changes in the process.Test Plan is reviewed after every sprint.Test PlanTest Plan is not discussed during the test phase.Follows an iterative approach. Planning, development, prototyping and other phases may occur more than once.Software Development PhasesThe project development phases like designing, development, testing, etc take place once, only after the process is done with.During the project, requirements are prepared every day by the Product Owner along with the team.RequirementsRequirements are prepared at the beginning of the project by the business analysts.Testing is performed simultaneously with the software development process.Testing of the productThe testing phase comes only after the Build has been prepared.Agile process flowThe following is an outline of the flow of the process from creating a product to the completion of a sprint in the Agile Development application.Step 1: Create a product.A product is a set of features that are offered to users. It can either focus on a few user stories or many users, which can contain many tasks.Step2: Create an agile group.A group of Agile team can be formed, defining the number of tasks that a member can complete in a sprint to define the capacity of the group.Step 3: Create a release.Create a release which has a start date and an end date, in which the development iterations will be completed.Step 4: Create a personalised background.It can be created by defining the filter criteria. It can be a combination of stories, incidents, defects, etc.Step 5: Create a sprint.It is the time frame within which a development team delivers one or more stories. A release can have multiple sprints. A team is expected to complete all the assigned stories within a sprint.Step 6: Planning the sprint. Before starting a sprint, decide on the stories from the backlog that can be committed to complete within a sprint. Stories to be worked on in a sprint should be selected on the basis of priorities.,Step 7: Track the progress of a sprint.Team members should update their tasks and story records on a daily basis to communicate regarding their progress.Step 8: Track the progress of the release.This is done to make sure that the team is completing stories and is on track to achieve the goal.Characteristics of Agile:The process of Agile Software Development involves cross-functional teams working concurrently on various phases like planning, designing, requirement analysis, etc. A working model becomes available at the end of each iteration. The following are the salient characteristics of Agile:Small sized, co-located,  self-organized teams work together in cross-functional ways to deliver business value.Management supports redistributed decision making.Face-to-face iteration replaces temporary documentation.The process supports full transparency, inculcating trust.Makes improvement in a continuous process, making it a part of the culture of the company.Short loops of feedback help in delivering high quality of products.Functions in small, cross-functional teams, which has proven to be more productive than larger teams.The process of continuous testing measures the progress as well as prevents defects.The transition of the project from one phase to another is smoother as the team has a proper, balanced distribution of tasks.All members act as leaders in the project as they lead and take responsibility in their respective project phases. A project is not complete if one member does not do their part.Working with Agile in a distributed team environmentFor a team working together, communicating in person is more sought after than being distributed over multiple locations. It is recommended to co-locate your team, but many times teams are unable to do so for critical business reasons. There’s more to the challenges faced by the distributed software team:Coordinating across different time zones.Building a good rapport when everyone is not present in the same officeCollaborating with different development cultures.Scheduling meetings when both teams are online for a short period of time.Under such situations, teams need to learn to follow Agile principles and practices in a distributed environment. This section discusses this in detail.Additional Communication responsibilities:Each team member needs to put in extra effort when working with remote team members and communicating with them, emphasizing more on the importance of being available and open.Dedication:All team members should be committed and dedicated to making Agile work in a distributed environment. The management must support the processes and tools required to do so.Even Distribution of Work:All team members should have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities, along with an equal distribution of work. If there is an imbalance in the workload and it is being ignored, then it might risk the schedule of the project delivery.   Pair Programming:In pair programming, two members of the team sit side by side and work on the same code. It is a challenging task for distributed teams. This can be replaced by a virtual experience, like having a video-conferencing as a solution.Understand the Time Difference:Teams face a lot of communication problems if their team members work in different time zones. You can help your team across the world by making them aware of the different time zones in which the team members are working. Using a  physical map with pushpins depicting how the team is distributed, is an example for the same.Use the right tools and training:Identify the tools that will help your team. Get consents from your team members and see if the tool will be helpful for the team or not for that project. Most importantly, train your team on the tools. Don’t expect the team members to know about the new tools and how to use them without any practice.  Train them for the same.With many organizations going global, distributed teams are becoming a common culture to work in. Agile, along with additional efforts by the team, will work well with the distributed teams.Different Agile FrameworksThere are various methods and frameworks that are used by businesses and organizations in the world of development and manufacturing. To name a few:Extreme Programming(EX)ScrumFeature Driven Development (FDD)Dynamic Systems Development Method(DSDM)Crystal MethodologyKanban Method (Lean or Agile)Pragmatic ProgrammingLean DevelopmentUnified ProcessRational Unified ProcessScrum at a glanceScrum is a framework which is used by teams to help them manage their work. It implements Agile principles as a set of artifacts, roles, and practices.Scrum Roles: Scrum has specified three important roles, namely Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum Team.Product Owner:A Product Owner holds the responsibility for the product that the team is building and why they are building it. Moreover, he is responsible for keeping the backlog up-to-date and in the order of the priority.Scrum Master:He holds the responsibility to ensure that the team is following the scrum process. They are in the continuous look out for the team’s improvement, while at the same time work on resolving the backlog issues that arise during the sprint.  Scrum Team: The individuals who comprise the team with the responsibility of building the product. They are the engineer of the product and its quality.Scrum Events: Scrum events are used in order to create regularity. All the events are time-boxed, that is it cannot exceed the fixed maximum duration. The elements of Scrum Events are Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum Meetings, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.Sprint: A product incremental is developed in a Sprint. It is usually of a duration of one month or less. The main motive is to provide a pattern to work for the team and the business.Sprint Planning: The work to be performed in a Sprint is discussed and planned in a Sprint Planning meeting.Daily Scrum Meetings:It is a 15-minute meeting held for the team which is conducted on a daily basis. The main motive is to understand the work done since the previously held scrum meeting and to create a plan for the day. It is often referred to as the Daily Stand-up Meeting.Sprint Review: A Sprint Review is held at the end of every Sprint. The team sits along with the stakeholders to discuss what was done in the Sprint. The main objective of this meeting is to obtain feedback for further progress.Sprint Retrospective: It occurs after a Sprint Review and prior to the next sprint planning. The main goal is to introspect and improve in order to make the next Sprint even more effective.Scrum Artifacts: It is like a logbook which provides the Scrum team and the stakeholders with the information that they need to be aware of, like the understanding of the project under development, the activities done and being planned in the project. The Scrum Artifacts are Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Product Increment.Product Backlog: It is a prioritized list of values that a team can deliver made available by the Product Owner to the Scrum Team. The Product Owner adds, changes and re-prioritizes the product backlog as needed.Sprint Backlog:It is the list of items that a team plans to deliver in the sprint. The sprint starts when all the members of the team agree that the Sprint Backlog is achievable.Product Increment: This is the most important Scrum Artifact. The product of a Sprint can be known as an Incremental if the produces product is potentially shippable. It should meet all of the quality criteria that are set by the Product Owner and the team.  What is Scaled Agile Framework SAFe®?Scaled Agile Framework provides a simple, lightweight experience for the software developing team, where they can apply lean-agile practices at the enterprise level. It can handle the needs of large value streams and complex system developments, despite being simple and light in weight. Its framework is divided into three segments: Team, Program, and Portfolio.SAFe® allow teams to do the following:Implement Lean-Agile software at an enterprise levelIt is based on the principles of  Lean and AgileIt is designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders within an organization.DevOps Vs. AgileUsing Agile and DevOps are considered to be the best approach for bringing change within a team or an organisation. One of the most common questions that come across people’s mind is how are Agile and DevOps related to each other. In this regard, it must be noted that DevOps did not emerge as a response to Agile; rather these two are discrete approaches. DevOps slowly grew as a means to plug the communication gap in Agile development.Let's have a look at what this actually means and how Agile and DevOps are related.What is DevOps?DevOps is a culture which promotes collaboration between the Development and Operation Team. It helps in deploying code to production in a faster and automated way., increasing the organization’s speed to deliver applications and services.Difference between Agile and DevOps.AgileProject Trait or FactoDevOpsIt is an iterative approach that focuses on the collaboration, customer feedback and small releases of the product.DefinitionIt is an approach that brings together the practice of development and operations team.It focuses on constant changes.TaskFocuses on constant testing and delivery.Manages complex projects.PurposeManages end-to-end engineering processes.Provided by the customers.FeedbackProvided by the internal team.Agile doesn’t emphasize on automation.AutomationDevOps primary goal is Automation.Can be implemented with a range of frameworks like sprint, safe and scrum.ImplementationDoesn’t have any commonly accepted framework. Its primary goal is focusing on collaboration.Smaller the team, even a few people will work on the project, meaning they can move faster.Team SizeThey have a relatively larger team size as it involves stack-holders.Emphasizes on getting all of its members trained so that they can be familiar with the skills.Skill SetDevelopment and operation teams divide and spread the skill sets between themselves.Agile targets Software DevelopmentScopeDevOps targets end-to-end business solution and faster deliverySoftware DevelopingImportanceDeveloping, testing and implementation all are important.Application of Agile outside SoftwareThe end result after an agile application is a product or a project that will meet best with the customer needs, while at the same time deliver it with minimal cost and time, enabling organisations to attain results earlier as compared to the results obtained via the traditional approaches.The roots of Agile Software Developments are lean, agile manufacturing and organizational learning. Looking at these roots, one can realise that they did not originate in the world of software. Many practices of Agile like Stand-up meetings, prioritization, and visual management originated outside software.These techniques are applied in the development sector of non-software products as well, such as computers, medical devices, computers, food, clothing, etc. Principles of Agile Software Development have found applications in general management platforms, like finance, governance, risk, etc.Common Myths about AgileMyths and misunderstandings are common to spread over any method or framework. With time, it becomes a belief and people start to accept it as common knowledge. Read along to know some of the most common myths that have been growing around Agile.Implementation of Agile is easy:Teams should not just learn the best practices of Agile, but should also be able to judge if the selected project is the right fit for agile. They should evaluate if the organization can adopt the values and principles of agile. It is very important for the organisation to invest the time, effort and resources to institute and establish the expectations, culture, and infrastructure to hold up the implementation of Agile methodology. Practice and commitment are very much required as well.Agile Practice is New:Agile has been in practice since the greater part of the last century. The frameworks which are now collectively known as Agile mostly evolved during the late 1980s and 1990s. Hence, many people are familiar with Agile.  Reading is enough to know about Agile:Reading a book to understand Agile is not enough. It is a good idea to read a book to get a good understanding, but it cannot replace practical experience, which is very important to enable an agile mindset and to transform an organisation to become agile.Agile doesn't need any planning:Planning is very vital with any approach, that is if not carried out properly, it will diminish the effectiveness of performance. Although, Agile plans the activities more evenly throughout the project life cycle. Planning starts right from the beginning of an agile project and is continuously iterated throughout the project as new information is gained. Working in this manner makes the project team more effective and help them adapt to changes in an easier way.Agile is not the same as anarchy:Managers feel that self-organisation is identical to anarchy and hence, fear losing control over their agile team. Dues to Agile, the role of management may change but managers play an integral role in their company. They have the responsibility to define visions and goals, as well as help the team to gain full potential.Agile gives prompt results: Agile transformations always go through a learning curve, but they mostly deliver huge benefits. The delivered results might go downwards before it changes to going upwards in the process before it begins to enhance its delivery capabilities.Agile is possible only with small projects:Agile development is composed of small groups, who are cross-functional and collaborative throughout the process of development. This motion is equally effective for larger projects as multiple teams can be formed where they can focus on separate components.Agile is applicable only for software deliveries:The Agile manifesto describes agile in the context of software delivery. But Agile can be used in businesses which are not software-related as Agile is suitable for any dynamic business which experiences variability.Agile Transformation vs. Agile Adoption A strong majority of organizations are already defaulting to Agile. But there is one common barrier. The lack of understanding of the differences between Agile transformation and Agile adoption. A clear perception of these differences is necessary to realize which is the best fit for your team or organization ー Agile Adoption or Agile Transformation.Agile Adoption: The word Adoption is used to describe the action of taking up or putting something into action or effect. Similarly, Agile Adoption can be referred to as the act of “doing Agile”.Agile adoption makes the process of software development simpler, faster and better.Agile Transformation: Agile Transformation refers to the process of converting a business or an organisation from its previously followed methods to ‘Agile’ methods, which will help them in continuous delivery of software in a fluid manner. The process involves a change in the mindset of all the people working in the organisation, which might not be acceptable by all.An effective Agile transformation is usually seen to happen in three stages-Organizational transformation: This entails setting up teams, defining processes, and finally, deciding how the teams will work in close collaboration.Workflow transformation: This is intended to establish a culture of “self-organization” and empower team members to effectively carry out Agile-specific ceremonies and activities.Personal transformation: This phase aims at developing a collective “Agile mindset” which fosters continuous improvement and enables team members to deliver continuous value.  Agile AdoptionFactorAgile TransformationAgile adoptions are fast. Can be measured in days or weeks.Speed of ChangeAgile Transformations take a long time. Can be measured in years.Short TermPlanning TimeframeLong TermAgile Adoption has a very rare impact.Impact on the Structure of the organization.Directly impacts the power and controls in an organisation.The team and the stakeholders might feel that has changed to become more self-organized.Change in Culture.It has a widespread impact as the whole culture is being transformed.Agile will make all the difference The future is ripe with endless possibilities for Agile, and companies across the globe are already realizing it.Various organizations around the globe are now adopting different approaches to software development according to their needs and demands.Agile has got a promising future in particular for the teams making the best use of it.In the long haul, the same teams will help their organisations by delivering products at less cost. With AI and big data becoming a core part of decision making, data-driven Agile will soon become a major focus.On a closing note, Agile and its practice do not commit to resolving each and every problem faced by an organization. But they do guarantee to establish an environment which will help them solve problems through learning, continual planning, and collaboration.The motto remains the same: to deliver a high-quality product in a shorter period of time.
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The Definitive Guide to Agile Framework

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The Definitive Guide to Agile Framework

In present times, nearly all software development companies and teams tend to follow Agile in one form or another. But, before committing to Agile, it is very important to understand-

  • What is Agile?
  • How does Agile work?

Organizations and project teams should primarily understand “why” they want to adopt Agile. If you are keen on learning more about Agile, you have landed yourself in the perfect place, where you will get to know everything that you need to know about Agile, right from the history to its usage.

Here, we will not only discuss what Agile is but also talk about what Agile is not. Once you understand what Agile really means, you’ll not only be able to implement Agile practices at your organisation but also acknowledge situations which can be improved with the help of Agile.  

Read along to know what it really means at its root.

Understanding Agile

Agile is not a methodology, neither is it a specific way of working on software development, nor a framework or process. Agile in actual, is a set of values and principles, as defined by the Agile Manifesto.

It is a term which describes the different approaches to software development, highlighting team collaboration, incremental delivery, recurrent planning, and recurrent learning. It is an iterative approach that builds software incrementally, instead of delivering it all at once.

Agile doesn’t make any decision for you but provides you with a platform that teams can make use of to make decisions that result in better software development.  

How does Agile work?

Agile breaks down a project into small scales of user functionality, known as user stories.  These can be compared to a to-do list that you make for the tasks that you have to complete. Developers work on these user stories, prioritise these user stories and group them into iterations, assigning deadlines to each iteration.  

Once the iteration is over, developers might have a possible product that users can test. Hence, Agile projects help in creating user stories on which they can work iteratively, depending on the user’s feedback. This way, the software becomes better suited for users according to their needs while at the same time, it minimises complexity. Instead of a pre-set of requirements, developers work according to adapt their software as per the requirements by users’ feedback.

Let’s take a step back and have a look at how Agile was discovered and where it came from.

Life before Agile

In today’s world, project managers can make a choice out of multiple methodologies addressing the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for a particular project. The top choice is Agile, which helps teams to work according to the changing requirements through incremental, iterative project work.

Before Agile was born, the process that SDLC  followed was very inflexible. The process it followed was:

  • Collecting the requirements
  • Designing and implementing the software
  • Verifying if the software is still functioning
  • Maintaining the software

Without any alteration, the phases were completed in the above-mentioned order. Each phase was first completed and validated before starting the next process. Any changes in the previous phase meant starting the project from the square one until each phase was redone and approved.

Though it's unbelievable, such inflexibility of this process didn’t cause any kind of hindrance in the process of software development. This was because technological innovation was very slow at that period of time. There was no problem in spending several months gathering information and requirements, while at the same time design a software program.

Origin of Agile

In the early 2000s, seventeen software developers met in Snowbird, Utah to discuss the methodologies that were being used at that time. These seventeen software developers included Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Dave Thomas, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Jim Highsmith, Alistair Cockburn, and Bob Martin. They all published the ‘Manifesto to Agile Software Development’ together, which marks the start of the agile movement.

Origin of Agile

According to the Agile Manifesto:

The 4 core values as stated by the Agile Manifesto are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Respond to change over following a plan

The four values outlined in the Agile manifesto promotes focusing more on the quality of the software by creating products that meet the consumer’s needs and expectations.

The four values and twelve principles of the Agile Manifesto

Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

People and individuals respond to the business needs in order to drive the development process, hence people should be valued more than tools or processes.

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation

Agile takes user stories as requirements, which a developer uses to begin building new functions.  The Agile Manifesto values working software more than it values documentation.

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 

According to the Agile Manifesto, a customer can be engaged and can collaborate throughout the process of development. This makes it easier for the team to meet the needs of the customer.

  • Respond to change over following a plan

With Agile, priorities can be changed from one iteration to another iteration while new features can be added as well. Agile believes that changes improve a project and provides additional value.

The Twelve Principles are the guiding principles for the methodologies which are included in the Agile Manifesto. It describes the way by which changes are welcomed and customers are focused during the process.

12 principles of the Agile Manifesto

  • Highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

The focus is to deliver what the customer wants, not what one has planned. Customers are more happy with receiving working software at regular intervals, rather than waiting for a long period for new releases.

  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Embrace changes, even if it is requested by the customer late in the project. One can try and avoid delays when a new change has been requested.

  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to a shorter timescale.

Create short periods of time to run tasks and make changes. It ensures a regular delivery of the working software.

  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

It is important to build a bridge between developers and the business side of the project so that they can make use of the same tools and work together to make better decisions.

  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Motivate and support your team so that they work in a more dedicated manner. Motivated teams deliver the best of the results that they can.

  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Communication is a key factor for teams in order to deliver information. Communication is possible in multiple ways, like documenting conversations, creating email streams, using collaboration software, keeping the development teams co-located, etc.

  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Progress is measured by the success of the software (or the product), not by completing the tasks and moving along the timeline.

  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Sprints in activities help teams stay motivated and less burnout, which doesn’t affect the quality of the project.

  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

To maintain the right pace and in order to constantly improve the product, the right skill, as well as good design, is very important.

  • Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not being done—is essential.

Cut down the unnecessary complexities and keep things as simple as possible in order to streamline your development process.

  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Team members take ownership, communicate more regularly and share ideas in order to deliver quality products.

  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

The process of self-improvement, process improvement, working on their skills and techniques helps a team to work in a more effective manner.

Why use Agile?

6 Benefits of Agile Software Development

Agile involves the process of continuous planning and feedback in order to deliver business value since the beginning of the project. The whole process encourages user involvement as well as provides visibility and transparency so that the actual progress of the project is visible. Read along to know the key benefits of agile management.

  • Increased project control with early and predictable delivery:

Due to regularised sprint meetings, features are delivered in more flexible manners with more transparency. If the demands are met before the planned or predicted date, the software can be Beta-tested or released beforehand.

  • Client gratification:

The process involves allowing the client to determine the priority list of the features. This way, the team can understand what is more important to the client and his business, and work accordingly. The client is involved in every sprint review. Moreover, the process helps in delivering the products quicker or by the predicted date, making the clients get early access to the product.

  • Improvement in quality:

Since the exercise involves breaking down the project into small units, high-quality development, testing and collaboration come into focus. Moreover, the quality is improved due to frequent builds and testing after each iteration as defects can be identified and fixed during the process.

  • Predictability of Projects:

The value of a project is calculated on the basis of cost and ROI. If the ROI outweighs the cost, then the company might carry the project further. But predicting the results of the projects where ROI is not known becomes strenuous. Hence, predictability is very crucial in projects. By using Agile techniques during the planning phase of the project, the cost of a project can be predicted and it can also be concluded if they should continue with the project.

  • Reduced Risk: 

The chances of project failure are nearly eliminated by the use of Agile methodologies as a functioning product is available from the very first sprint. Since the product is developed in sprints, it is easier to know if the product or the approach will work or not.

  • Analysis, design, coding, and testing happens continuously:

For an Agile project, analysing, designing, coding and testing are never done with. As long as there are features to work on and deliveries to make, these activities are a continuous process.

Not all developers advocate agile. Some of the developers follow the traditional methodology known as ‘waterfall’, which is also used widely in businesses. Let's have a look at what this traditional methodology is and how it is different from Agile.

Waterfall Vs. Agile:

Waterfall Vs. Agile

What is Waterfall methodology?

Waterfall methodology is a linear approach to software development. The Waterfall model follows the sequential order, meaning that the project development team moves to the next phase of testing or developing only if the previous step has been completed successfully.

This method is also known as the Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model.

What is Agile?

Agile follows the process of continuous development and testing in the software development process itself. Unlike the Waterfall Model, the development and testing activities are concurrent in this model. Communication between the customers, developers, managers, and testers are possible in this methodology.

Advantages of the Waterfall Model:

  • Makes faster delivery of the project.
  • The whole process and the results are documented properly.
  • Works well for small sized projects where there are easy requirements.
  • Each phase has a specific delivery date and a review process
  • Beneficial for managing dependencies.

Advantages of the Agile:

  • This process focuses on the client, making sure that the client us involved during all the stages.
  • The quality of the developed product is assured with the usage of this method.
  • The risk in the development process reduces as both the team and the client know the progress of the project.
  • Better results are obtained.

Limitations of the Waterfall Model:

  • This model is not suitable for large size projects.
  • One cannot move back in phases to make any changes.
  • The results will be less effective if the requirements are not clear from the starting.
  • In this model, the testing process starts only after the development is over. In such cases, there are higher possibilities that bugs will be found in the development, making it much more expensive to fix.  

Limitations of the Agile:

  • An expert is required to make important decisions.
  • The project can go off track if the vision and mission of the project are not clear.
  • The cost of implementation of the agile method is a little more as compared to other methodologies.

Difference between Waterfall Method and Agile Methodologies.

AgileProject Trait or FactoWaterfall
Has an incremental approach.ApproachThe process is divided into distinct phases.
Customers are preferred throughout the project.Customer AvailabilityCustomers are involved only after the product has been developed.
Small teams with good coordination and synchronization.TeamTeam coordination and synchronization are limited.
It has a flexible methodology.MethodologyIt has a structured process, so most of the times it can be quite rigid.
Can be considered as a collection of many projects.Final ProductOne single project is completed after the software development.
It is a flexible method which allows changes to be made as per requirements, even after the completion of the initial planning.ProcessThe requirements cannot be changed once the process of project development starts.
Works well when the scope is not known in advance as changes can be made in the process.ScopeWorks well when the scope is known in advance or when there are limitations to changes in the process.
Test Plan is reviewed after every sprint.Test PlanTest Plan is not discussed during the test phase.
Follows an iterative approach. Planning, development, prototyping and other phases may occur more than once.Software Development PhasesThe project development phases like designing, development, testing, etc take place once, only after the process is done with.
During the project, requirements are prepared every day by the Product Owner along with the team.RequirementsRequirements are prepared at the beginning of the project by the business analysts.
Testing is performed simultaneously with the software development process.Testing of the productThe testing phase comes only after the Build has been prepared.

Agile process flow

The following is an outline of the flow of the process from creating a product to the completion of a sprint in the Agile Development application.

Agile process flow

Step 1: Create a product.

A product is a set of features that are offered to users. It can either focus on a few user stories or many users, which can contain many tasks.

Step2: Create an agile group.

A group of Agile team can be formed, defining the number of tasks that a member can complete in a sprint to define the capacity of the group.

Step 3: Create a release.

Create a release which has a start date and an end date, in which the development iterations will be completed.

Step 4: Create a personalised background.

It can be created by defining the filter criteria. It can be a combination of stories, incidents, defects, etc.

Step 5: Create a sprint.

It is the time frame within which a development team delivers one or more stories. A release can have multiple sprints. A team is expected to complete all the assigned stories within a sprint.

Step 6: Planning the sprint. 

Before starting a sprint, decide on the stories from the backlog that can be committed to complete within a sprint. Stories to be worked on in a sprint should be selected on the basis of priorities.,

Step 7: Track the progress of a sprint.

Team members should update their tasks and story records on a daily basis to communicate regarding their progress.

Step 8: Track the progress of the release.

This is done to make sure that the team is completing stories and is on track to achieve the goal.

Characteristics of Agile:

The process of Agile Software Development involves cross-functional teams working concurrently on various phases like planning, designing, requirement analysis, etc. A working model becomes available at the end of each iteration. The following are the salient characteristics of Agile:

  • Small sized, co-located,  self-organized teams work together in cross-functional ways to deliver business value.
  • Management supports redistributed decision making.
  • Face-to-face iteration replaces temporary documentation.
  • The process supports full transparency, inculcating trust.
  • Makes improvement in a continuous process, making it a part of the culture of the company.
  • Short loops of feedback help in delivering high quality of products.
  • Functions in small, cross-functional teams, which has proven to be more productive than larger teams.
  • The process of continuous testing measures the progress as well as prevents defects.
  • The transition of the project from one phase to another is smoother as the team has a proper, balanced distribution of tasks.
  • All members act as leaders in the project as they lead and take responsibility in their respective project phases. A project is not complete if one member does not do their part.

Working with Agile in a distributed team environment

Working with Agile in a distributed team environment

For a team working together, communicating in person is more sought after than being distributed over multiple locations. It is recommended to co-locate your team, but many times teams are unable to do so for critical business reasons. There’s more to the challenges faced by the distributed software team:

  • Coordinating across different time zones.
  • Building a good rapport when everyone is not present in the same office
  • Collaborating with different development cultures.
  • Scheduling meetings when both teams are online for a short period of time.

Under such situations, teams need to learn to follow Agile principles and practices in a distributed environment. This section discusses this in detail.

  • Additional Communication responsibilities:

Each team member needs to put in extra effort when working with remote team members and communicating with them, emphasizing more on the importance of being available and open.

  • Dedication:

All team members should be committed and dedicated to making Agile work in a distributed environment. The management must support the processes and tools required to do so.

  • Even Distribution of Work:

All team members should have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities, along with an equal distribution of work. If there is an imbalance in the workload and it is being ignored, then it might risk the schedule of the project delivery.   

  • Pair Programming:

In pair programming, two members of the team sit side by side and work on the same code. It is a challenging task for distributed teams. This can be replaced by a virtual experience, like having a video-conferencing as a solution.

  • Understand the Time Difference:

Teams face a lot of communication problems if their team members work in different time zones. You can help your team across the world by making them aware of the different time zones in which the team members are working. Using a  physical map with pushpins depicting how the team is distributed, is an example for the same.

  • Use the right tools and training:

Identify the tools that will help your team. Get consents from your team members and see if the tool will be helpful for the team or not for that project. Most importantly, train your team on the tools. Don’t expect the team members to know about the new tools and how to use them without any practice.  Train them for the same.

With many organizations going global, distributed teams are becoming a common culture to work in. Agile, along with additional efforts by the team, will work well with the distributed teams.

Different Agile Frameworks Agile Frameworks

There are various methods and frameworks that are used by businesses and organizations in the world of development and manufacturing. To name a few:

  • Extreme Programming(EX)
  • Scrum
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD)
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method(DSDM)
  • Crystal Methodology
  • Kanban Method (Lean or Agile)
  • Pragmatic Programming
  • Lean Development
  • Unified Process
  • Rational Unified Process

Scrum at a glance

Scrum is a framework which is used by teams to help them manage their work. It implements Agile principles as a set of artifacts, roles, and practices.

Scrum at a glance

  • Scrum Roles:

 Scrum has specified three important roles, namely Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum Team.

  • Product Owner:

A Product Owner holds the responsibility for the product that the team is building and why they are building it. Moreover, he is responsible for keeping the backlog up-to-date and in the order of the priority.

  • Scrum Master:

He holds the responsibility to ensure that the team is following the scrum process. They are in the continuous look out for the team’s improvement, while at the same time work on resolving the backlog issues that arise during the sprint.  

  • Scrum Team: 

The individuals who comprise the team with the responsibility of building the product. They are the engineer of the product and its quality.

  • Scrum Events: 

Scrum events are used in order to create regularity. All the events are time-boxed, that is it cannot exceed the fixed maximum duration. The elements of Scrum Events are Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum Meetings, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.

  • Sprint: 

A product incremental is developed in a Sprint. It is usually of a duration of one month or less. The main motive is to provide a pattern to work for the team and the business.

  • Sprint Planning: 

The work to be performed in a Sprint is discussed and planned in a Sprint Planning meeting.

  • Daily Scrum Meetings:

It is a 15-minute meeting held for the team which is conducted on a daily basis. The main motive is to understand the work done since the previously held scrum meeting and to create a plan for the day. It is often referred to as the Daily Stand-up Meeting.

  • Sprint Review

A Sprint Review is held at the end of every Sprint. The team sits along with the stakeholders to discuss what was done in the Sprint. The main objective of this meeting is to obtain feedback for further progress.

  • Sprint Retrospective: 

It occurs after a Sprint Review and prior to the next sprint planning. The main goal is to introspect and improve in order to make the next Sprint even more effective.

  • Scrum Artifacts

It is like a logbook which provides the Scrum team and the stakeholders with the information that they need to be aware of, like the understanding of the project under development, the activities done and being planned in the project. The Scrum Artifacts are Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Product Increment.

  • Product Backlog

It is a prioritized list of values that a team can deliver made available by the Product Owner to the Scrum Team. The Product Owner adds, changes and re-prioritizes the product backlog as needed.

  • Sprint Backlog:

It is the list of items that a team plans to deliver in the sprint. The sprint starts when all the members of the team agree that the Sprint Backlog is achievable.

  • Product Increment: 

This is the most important Scrum Artifact. The product of a Sprint can be known as an Incremental if the produces product is potentially shippable. It should meet all of the quality criteria that are set by the Product Owner and the team.  

What is Scaled Agile Framework SAFe®?

Scaled Agile Framework provides a simple, lightweight experience for the software developing team, where they can apply lean-agile practices at the enterprise level. It can handle the needs of large value streams and complex system developments, despite being simple and light in weight. Its framework is divided into three segments: Team, Program, and Portfolio.

SAFe® allow teams to do the following:

  • Implement Lean-Agile software at an enterprise level
  • It is based on the principles of  Lean and Agile
  • It is designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders within an organization.

DevOps Vs. AgileDevOps Vs. Agile

Using Agile and DevOps are considered to be the best approach for bringing change within a team or an organisation. One of the most common questions that come across people’s mind is how are Agile and DevOps related to each other. In this regard, it must be noted that DevOps did not emerge as a response to Agile; rather these two are discrete approaches. DevOps slowly grew as a means to plug the communication gap in Agile development.

Let's have a look at what this actually means and how Agile and DevOps are related.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a culture which promotes collaboration between the Development and Operation Team. It helps in deploying code to production in a faster and automated way., increasing the organization’s speed to deliver applications and services.

Difference between Agile and DevOps.

AgileProject Trait or FactoDevOps
It is an iterative approach that focuses on the collaboration, customer feedback and small releases of the product.DefinitionIt is an approach that brings together the practice of development and operations team.
It focuses on constant changes.TaskFocuses on constant testing and delivery.
Manages complex projects.PurposeManages end-to-end engineering processes.
Provided by the customers.FeedbackProvided by the internal team.
Agile doesn’t emphasize on automation.AutomationDevOps primary goal is Automation.
Can be implemented with a range of frameworks like sprint, safe and scrum.ImplementationDoesn’t have any commonly accepted framework. Its primary goal is focusing on collaboration.
Smaller the team, even a few people will work on the project, meaning they can move faster.Team SizeThey have a relatively larger team size as it involves stack-holders.
Emphasizes on getting all of its members trained so that they can be familiar with the skills.Skill SetDevelopment and operation teams divide and spread the skill sets between themselves.
Agile targets Software DevelopmentScopeDevOps targets end-to-end business solution and faster delivery
Software DevelopingImportanceDeveloping, testing and implementation all are important.

Application of Agile outside Software

The end result after an agile application is a product or a project that will meet best with the customer needs, while at the same time deliver it with minimal cost and time, enabling organisations to attain results earlier as compared to the results obtained via the traditional approaches.

The roots of Agile Software Developments are lean, agile manufacturing and organizational learning. Looking at these roots, one can realise that they did not originate in the world of software. Many practices of Agile like Stand-up meetings, prioritization, and visual management originated outside software.

These techniques are applied in the development sector of non-software products as well, such as computers, medical devices, computers, food, clothing, etc. Principles of Agile Software Development have found applications in general management platforms, like finance, governance, risk, etc.

Common Myths about Agile

Common Myths about Agile

Myths and misunderstandings are common to spread over any method or framework. With time, it becomes a belief and people start to accept it as common knowledge. Read along to know some of the most common myths that have been growing around Agile.

  • Implementation of Agile is easy:

Teams should not just learn the best practices of Agile, but should also be able to judge if the selected project is the right fit for agile. They should evaluate if the organization can adopt the values and principles of agile. It is very important for the organisation to invest the time, effort and resources to institute and establish the expectations, culture, and infrastructure to hold up the implementation of Agile methodology. Practice and commitment are very much required as well.

  • Agile Practice is New:

Agile has been in practice since the greater part of the last century. The frameworks which are now collectively known as Agile mostly evolved during the late 1980s and 1990s. Hence, many people are familiar with Agile.  

  • Reading is enough to know about Agile:

Reading a book to understand Agile is not enough. It is a good idea to read a book to get a good understanding, but it cannot replace practical experience, which is very important to enable an agile mindset and to transform an organisation to become agile.

  • Agile doesn't need any planning:

Planning is very vital with any approach, that is if not carried out properly, it will diminish the effectiveness of performance. Although, Agile plans the activities more evenly throughout the project life cycle. Planning starts right from the beginning of an agile project and is continuously iterated throughout the project as new information is gained. Working in this manner makes the project team more effective and help them adapt to changes in an easier way.

  • Agile is not the same as anarchy:

Managers feel that self-organisation is identical to anarchy and hence, fear losing control over their agile team. Dues to Agile, the role of management may change but managers play an integral role in their company. They have the responsibility to define visions and goals, as well as help the team to gain full potential.

  • Agile gives prompt results: 

Agile transformations always go through a learning curve, but they mostly deliver huge benefits. The delivered results might go downwards before it changes to going upwards in the process before it begins to enhance its delivery capabilities.

  • Agile is possible only with small projects:

Agile development is composed of small groups, who are cross-functional and collaborative throughout the process of development. This motion is equally effective for larger projects as multiple teams can be formed where they can focus on separate components.

  • Agile is applicable only for software deliveries:

The Agile manifesto describes agile in the context of software delivery. But Agile can be used in businesses which are not software-related as Agile is suitable for any dynamic business which experiences variability.

Agile Transformation vs. Agile Adoption 

A strong majority of organizations are already defaulting to Agile. But there is one common barrier. The lack of understanding of the differences between Agile transformation and Agile adoption. A clear perception of these differences is necessary to realize which is the best fit for your team or organization ー Agile Adoption or Agile Transformation.

  • Agile Adoption: 

The word Adoption is used to describe the action of taking up or putting something into action or effect. Similarly, Agile Adoption can be referred to as the act of “doing Agile”.

Agile adoption makes the process of software development simpler, faster and better.

  • Agile Transformation: 

Agile Transformation refers to the process of converting a business or an organisation from its previously followed methods to ‘Agile’ methods, which will help them in continuous delivery of software in a fluid manner. The process involves a change in the mindset of all the people working in the organisation, which might not be acceptable by all.

An effective Agile transformation is usually seen to happen in three stages-

  • Organizational transformation: This entails setting up teams, defining processes, and finally, deciding how the teams will work in close collaboration.
  • Workflow transformation: This is intended to establish a culture of “self-organization” and empower team members to effectively carry out Agile-specific ceremonies and activities.
  • Personal transformation: This phase aims at developing a collective “Agile mindset” which fosters continuous improvement and enables team members to deliver continuous value.  
Agile AdoptionFactorAgile Transformation
Agile adoptions are fast. Can be measured in days or weeks.Speed of ChangeAgile Transformations take a long time. Can be measured in years.
Short TermPlanning TimeframeLong Term
Agile Adoption has a very rare impact.Impact on the Structure of the organization.Directly impacts the power and controls in an organisation.
The team and the stakeholders might feel that has changed to become more self-organized.Change in Culture.It has a widespread impact as the whole culture is being transformed.

Agile will make all the difference 

The future is ripe with endless possibilities for Agile, and companies across the globe are already realizing it.

Various organizations around the globe are now adopting different approaches to software development according to their needs and demands.

Agile has got a promising future in particular for the teams making the best use of it.

In the long haul, the same teams will help their organisations by delivering products at less cost. With AI and big data becoming a core part of decision making, data-driven Agile will soon become a major focus.

On a closing note, Agile and its practice do not commit to resolving each and every problem faced by an organization. But they do guarantee to establish an environment which will help them solve problems through learning, continual planning, and collaboration.

The motto remains the same: to deliver a high-quality product in a shorter period of time.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is a fast growing Management Consulting and Training firm that is a source of Intelligent Information support for businesses and professionals across the globe.


Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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1 comments

Kliff Technologies 06 Jun 2019

Thanks for sharing this helpful Article.

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Lean-Agile LeadershipThis competency explains how Lean-Agile leaders can drive organizational change by positively influencing the individuals in the team to reach their highest potential.2.Team and Technical AgilityThe Team and Technical Agility competency explain the required critical skills and Lean-Agile principles and practices to produce the high-performing teams.3. DevOps and Release on DemandThis competency explains how the DevOps principles and practices allow the enterprises to deliver value (completely or partially) any time to meet the customers’ needs.4. Business Solutions and Lean Systems EngineeringThis competency focuses on how enterprises can develop large and complex solutions and cyber-physical systems using a Lean-Agile flow-based, value delivery-model. 5. Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)The Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) competency explains how an enterprise can implement Lean approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance for a SAFe®️ portfolio.Benefits of Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certificationThe benefits of Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certification to the individuals are as follows:Recognition and Verification: The SAFe® framework is the most widely used framework for scaling Agile in the organizations, creating the value of the SAFe®️ certification. Also, over 70% of the US Fortune 100 companies have started using SAFe®, resulting in the increased demand for SAFe®️ certified professionals at an exponential rate. SAFe®️ 4.6 certification demonstrate your ability to work within a SAFe®️ environment.  Future opportunities for career advancements:SAFe®  Certification creates plenty of opportunities for professionals in case they want to grow their role at the current company or they are looking for new career opportunities. This certification is proof that an individual holds the required skill-set to scale Agile at the organization level.    Simplify certification across the larger groups:If the organizations want to certify their employees in case they are planning to scale Agile in their organization, Scaled Agile, Inc. makes it easy as it offers simplified license management and cost savings through a single agreement for the organization.     Membership in SAFe®️ community: Once you achieve SAFe®️ certification, it opens your membership in the SAFe®️ Community Platform. This not only facilitates in managing the candidate’s credential but provides access to the plenty of resources like professional development for keeping their SAFe®️ knowledge up-to-date and SAFe®️ Communities of Practice (CoPs). Get access to digital badges:SAFe®️ certified professionals earn the add-on benefit of a digital badge. Digital badge help individuals to easily share and display their achievements in the form of email signatures, digital resumes, and social networks. This helps them gain visibility in today’s ever-evolving digital marketplace.Accreditation Body for Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) is the leading provider of SAFe® courses. SAI uplifts the career growth of an individual by offering various role-based courses and certifications. Scaled Agile, Inc. is a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile.Who can take Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 course?The Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certification is useful for scaling Agile at the organization level. It is an ideal certification for all the candidates or organizations those want to scale Agile in their organizations. Earning Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certification can be notably useful for-Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors, CIOs, and VPsDevelopment, QA, and Infrastructure ManagementProgram and Project ManagersProduct and Product Line ManagementPortfolio Managers, PMO, and Process LeadsEnterprise, System, and Solution Architects Kindly note that the list mentioned is not just restricted to the above-mentioned people. Anyone can take this course, regardless of experience to accelerate your SAFe®️ adoption. Pre-requisites for Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 courseAnyone can take up Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 course, regardless of experience. However, following prerequisites are endorsed for the individuals to attend the SAFe®️ 4 Agilist (SA) certification exam:5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project managementExperience in ScrumSAFe®️ 4 Agilist Certification Exam DetailsExam name: SAFe®️ 4 Agilist examNo. of Questions: 45 MCQsExam delivery: Web-based (single-browser)Exam access: Get access upon completion of the Leading SAFe®️ courseExam duration: 90 mins (1.5 hours)Passing Score: 34 out of 45 (75% passing score)Salary of the Certified SAFe®️ 4 AgilistThe average salary of a Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certified individual is  $68,667 per year.Key Learnings of SAFe®️ 4 Agilist courseAfter the Leading SAFe®️ 4.6 certification training, candidates will be able to-  Combine Lean, Agile, and various Product Development shapesScale the Lean and Agile development in the organizationManage the development of the larger solutionsBolster a Lean-Agile change/transformation in the enterpriseWhat will aspirants get after passing the SAFe®️ 4 Agilist certification exam?SAFe®️ Agilist certificateA SAFe®️ 4 Agilist digital badge to promote your achievement onlineOne-year membership with Scaled Agile Inc.(SAI), which give access to the SA Community of PracticeA SAFe®️ Agilist certification usage guide with SA certification marksAccess to a variety of learning resources to support certified professionals during their SAFe®️ journeySAFe®️ 4 Agilist Certificate RenewalSAFe®️ 4 Agilist Certificate expires in 1 year from the original date of certification earned. The renewal fee of SAFe®️ 4 Agilist certificate is $100.Develop your Agile skill set which is in demand today and enable your organization to succeed in an ever-evolving digital market with SAFe®️ 4 Agilist (SA) certification!
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Leading SAFe® 4.6 Infographic—An In-Dept...

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Is SAFe® 4.5 Certification Worth The Price?

In this decade where traditional methods for Project Development are on the verge of being obsolete, organisations are in dire need of Agile. Call for Agile experts has expanded in the IT business and is spreading to multiple areas of businesses also. This request triggers the requirement for certifications which enlisting organisations can manage an account with.These certifications range from the entry level to the advanced levels and are benefiting the software professionals in more ways than one. In the recent times, there has also been a need to upgrade Agile practices in organisations, and this, exactly, has given rise to the demand for scaled Agile. This has spurred the software professionals to take up Leading SAFe® certifications to enhance their career.This article will discuss the top Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications and their career benefits.Benefits of the certificationGenerally speaking, certification will help you to get the following benefits-Better foresightBetter salaryBetter integrityKeeping pace with the current market approachTop 6 SAFe® 4.5 certifications1. Leading SAFe® 4.5 training (SAFe® Agilist)SAFe® Agilist(SA) certification will help you to empower your organisation’s success. SA certification will allow you not only to execute and deliver value through Agile Release Trains but also to lead a Lean-Agile transformation in scaled organisations. This certification will also let you build a continuous delivery pipeline even in a DevOps culture. Also, the course exhibits the power of coordinating with the larger solutions and promoting a Lean portfolio culture within the enterprise.Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you should be able to-Exhibit how the combination of Lean, Agile, and Product Development shapes the SAFe® foundation.Apply SAFe® principles to scale Lean and Agile development in the organizationFind out and apply a Lean-Agile Mindset and principles accordinglyConsistently discover, incorporate, deploy, and deliver valueEngage with a Lean portfolioHarmonising for the development of the larger solutionsImprove Lean-Agile leadership skillsBolster a Lean-Agile transfiguration in the enterpriseFinish the SA training and lead to the certification exam What will attendees get? 2-Day Instructor-Led Classroom Training16 PDUs and 16 SEUsCourseware authored by Scaled Agile, Inc One year membership with Scaled AgileFree downloadable reference materials from Scaled Agile FrameworkThe course is for:Executives and Leaders, Managers, Directors, CIOs, and VPsDevelopment, QA, and Infrastructure ManagementProgram and Project ManagersProduct and Product Line ManagementPortfolio Managers, PMO, and Process LeadsEnterprise, System, and Solution ArchitectsPrerequisites:The course is free for the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Agilist (SA) exam-5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project managementExperience in ScrumExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), commencement of the examNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 34 out of 45 (76% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Agilist certificate1-year membership with the SAFe® Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of PracticeA variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey2. SAFe 4.5 for teams (SP)Today, SAFe® 4.5 certified practitioners are in huge demand for their ability to scale the Agile methodology within the enterprise. This course makes the team aware of the Scrum principles, Lean thinking tools, roles, and processes. New teams or Scrum teams seeking for the Agile adoption and scaling within the organization, will find this course much helpful. Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® Practitioner (SP), you should be able to-Demonstrate SAFe® Agile principles to the teamManage Agile teams on Agile Release TrainPlan sprint iterationsImplement iterations and deliver valueDevelop your teamCoordinate with other teams on the trainWhat will attendees get?16 PDUs and 16 SEUsFreely downloadable e-book100 Days’ Free Access to Agile and Scrum e-training The course is for:Team members who want to apply Lean and Agile principlesAll team members of an Agile Release Train (ART) preparing for the launchPrerequisites:The course is free for all attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® Practitioner (SP) exam-Familiar with Agile principlesAware of Scrum, Kanban, and XPExperience in software and hardware development processesExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Practitioner (SP) certificate3. SAFe 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)The SAFe® 4.5 POPM certification is intended to make Product Owners/Product Managers aware of the SAFe® principles, Lean-Agile tools, Agile development practices and SAFe® framework. Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® 4.5 (POPM), you should be able to-Implement SAFe® practices in the Lean enterpriseAttach SAFe® Lean-Agile principles and values to the PO/PM rolesCombine with Lean Portfolio ManagementImplement the Program Increment and deliver continuous valueCreate a PM/PM’s role action planWhat will attendees get? Training from a certified industry expertDownloadable courseware16 PDUs from PMI ® (PMI-ACP® / PMP® recertification)15 SEUs for CSPAttendee workbookMake you ready to attend the SAFe® 4 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) examOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformCourse completion certificateThe course is for:Product Managers, Product Line Managers, Product Owners, Business Owners, and Business AnalystsSolution Managers, Portfolio Managers, Program Managers, PMO personnel, and Process LeadsEnterprise, Solution, and System ArchitectsPrerequisites:The course is free to the desired attendees. But, following prerequisites are needed to attend the SAFe® 4.5 POPM exam.Leading SAFe® course attendeesWorking experience in the SAFe® environmentExperience with Lean, Agile, or other relevant methodsExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 35 out of 45 (78% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) certificate4. SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) courseThe SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certification equips the candidates with the skills that can be applied to lead high-performance Agile teams. Also, candidates will learn to apply DevOps practices and Kanban techniques and managing the interactions between the teams, stakeholders, and the Product Managers.Learning Objectives: As an SASM certified professional, you should be able to-Apply SAFe® principles in a multi-team environmentBuild a high-performing team and enable continuous improvementUnderstand Agile and Scrum anti-patternsFacilitate program planning, implementation, and value deliverySupport learning through participation in Communities of Practice and innovation cyclesWhat will attendees get? 16 PDUs and 16 SEUsFreely downloadable e-bookCourse completion certificateAttendee workbookOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformThe course is for:Existing Scrum MastersTeam leaders, project managers, and an Agile Team facilitator in a SAFe®Agile coachesEngineering and development managers executing AgileAgile Program ManagersProspective SAFe® Release Train EngineersPrerequisites:The course is free for the attendees. But, having at least one or more of the following certifications is recommended to attend the SAFe® 4.5 ASM exam-SAFe® 4 Scrum Master (SSM) certificationCertified Scrum Master (CSM) certificationProfessional Scrum Master (PSM) certificationExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes, once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 60Passing Score: 42 out of 60 (70% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM) certificate5. SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification trainingSAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master(SSM) certification will make you well-versed with the main components of the Scaled Agile Framework and allow you to lead high-performing Agile teams. This course will help you to improve quality of the products reducing time-to-market.Learning Objectives:As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-Discuss Scrum practices in a SAFe® implementing enterpriseFacilitate Scrum eventsFacilitate effective Iteration executionAssist DevOps implementationSupport effective Program Increment executionSupport continuous improvementTrain Agile teams to maximize business resultsAssist DevOps implementationWhat will attendees get?Prepare and support to clear the exam16 PDUs and 16 SEUs (under the category C)Course completion certificateThe course is for:New Scrum MastersPresent Scrum Masters, who wish to assume new roles in the SAFe® enterpriseTeam Leads who want to understand the Scrum Master roleSAFe® Release Train Engineers (RTEs) who want to coach for the role of the Scrum MastersPrerequisites:The course is free for the attendees. But, following prerequisites are a must to take the SAFe® 4.5 SSM exam-Familiarity with Agile principlesShould be aware of Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP)Work experience in software and hardware development processesExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours), once the exam has commencedNumber of Questions: 45Passing Score: 33 out of 45 (73% passing score)Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master (SSM) certificate6. SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) certification courseSAFe® 4.5 RTE course will educate you on building the high-performing ART and understanding the role of  the RTE in a Lean-Agile transformation. Also, the attendees will learn to mentor the Agile leaders, teams and the Scrum Masters and how to prepare, plan and execute a Program Increment (PI).Learning Objectives: As a SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM certification training, you should be able to-Apply Lean-Agile principles and tools to execute and deliver valueFostering continuous improvementConstruct a high-performing ART as a servant leader and coachPreparing an action plan to continue the learning journeyWhat will attendees get? Preparation and support for the SAFe® 4.5 Release Train Engineer (RTE) examCourse completion certificateOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformThe course is for:RTEs and Solution Train Engineers (STEs)Program and project managersScrum MastersLeaders and managersAgile coachesSAFe® Program Consultants (SPCs)Prerequisites:Following are the prerequisites required to attend the exam-Should have at least one current SAFe® certificationHave launched or participated in at least one ART and one PIExam Details:Time-span: Candidates have 120 minutes to complete the examNumber of Questions: 60Passing Score: 40 out of 45 (67% passing score)Each retake attempt costs $250Certification:On clearing the certification exam, the candidates will receive-SAFe® 4.5 RTE certificateNote:For all the courses, the registration fee includes the first exam attempt if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake attempt costs $50.After any of these SAFe® 4.5 certifications, you will get a Digital badge to promote your accomplishment online.Summing It UpToday, the SAFe® 4.5 certification is considered as a standard for Lean-Agile endeavours. Over 70% of the US Fortune 100 companies are utilising SAFe and the call for the SAFe® certified experts is rising at an exponential rate. The competitors that are searching for the more prominent vocation ahead, can go for the Leading SAFe® 4.5 certifications, as many employers seek candidates with credentials that convey their capability to work inside a SAFe® environment (verified through a SAFe® certification).
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Is SAFe® 4.5 Certification Worth The Price?

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