In today's project management sphere, Agile workflows are all the rage. As industries and the business space evolve, many organisations have started adopting the Agile approach. An Agile workflow tends to be more efficient, streamlined, and well-detailed than traditional workflows.
In this guide, you'll learn the basics of Agile workflow and the components of using the Agile methodology for project management.
What Is Agile Workflow?
Agile workflow is a collaborative and iterative process that allows constant feedback and improvement to nurture a high-performance culture that focuses on work productivity and performance. It is typically used in software development but can be applied to any project where a clear goal needs to be met.
There are many benefits to using an agile workflow. One of the biggest is that it allows for quick and effective communication between team members. Moreover, the Agile methodology empowers people working on a project by making decisions and taking action. As a result, it leads to a more productive and creative team environment.
In addition, agile allows for rapid response to change. As requirements or goals change, the agile process can adapt quickly to accommodate those changes. Thus, it is an ideal methodology for projects that are constantly evolving.
Most project management methods include user feedback only after the product has been released. On the other hand, Agile methodologies always involve customers in the process. Agile methods break down the product development process into small, manageable development cycles known as sprints.
Here are the principles of Agile Workflows:
- Smaller Pieces: The project is divided into smaller, more manageable pieces. The teams then prioritise these pieces based on their importance and urgency in the project timeframe.
- Collaborative Working: The Agile team works together to complete the tasks. It includes working closely with the customer or client who provides feedback and direction on the project.
- Iterative: The team works on a specific task, gets feedback, and then adjusts their approach before moving on to the next job. The system allows for constant improvement of the final product.
12 Vital Steps Involved in Agile Workflow Process
The Agile workflow has specific steps that you need to follow irrespective of the type and scale of the project. You can tailor these steps according to the project's needs to work smarter and not harder.
1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Improve your team's agility and be able to respond to changes more quickly if you use this approach. On the other side, your clients will be pleased since they will receive the value for which they are paying more frequently. They will also be able to provide you with feedback early in the process, reducing the probability of making significant adjustments later.
2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
In traditional project management, any change at a later stage is avoided as it usually means an increase in work and higher costs. However, in Agile, teams tend to embrace uncertainty and recognise that even late changes can have great value for the end-user. Due to the iterative nature of the Agile process, teams should have no problem responding to these changes promptly.
3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to several months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
This principle became necessary due to a large amount of documentation that was part of the software development planning process at the end of the 20th century. Agile development cycles often called "sprints" or "iterations," break down a product plan into smaller pieces that can be completed within a set time frame.
4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
Communication is an essential factor in the success of a project or team, and Agile principles require it to be an everyday event. Daily update meetings or stand-ups are steps many agile teams practice to keep everyone connected.
Holding regular meetings is another essential part of the agile process. You need to check in regularly with the project team to keep it up to date and keep everyone on the same page. The two types of meetings required as part of the development workflow are:
- Daily stand-ups/scrum - These are the daily meetings you hold to discuss what happened yesterday, what is happening today, and share any obstacles you face.
- Sprint retrospectives – This meeting happens after a sprint is completed and allows the team to discuss what went well and what can be improved before the next sprint starts.
5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
An essential part of agile philosophy is empowering individuals and teams through trust and autonomy. Agile teams need to be carefully constructed to include the right people and skillsets to get the job done, and responsibilities must be clearly defined before the project begins. Once work is underway, there is no place for micromanagement.
6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
The overall goal behind this principle is to encourage accurate real-time communication between product people and developers about products, requirements, and the high-level strategies that drive these things.
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Elaborate and detailed documentation is secondary to software. This mindset pushes to get products to market quickly rather than letting documentation, or the "it’s not done until it’s perfect" mindset, becomes a bottleneck. The ultimate measure of success is a workable product that customers love.
8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
To elaborate, this principle means maintaining a sustainable working pace. Your goal is to avoid overworking and improve how you do business to bring your products to market frequently and respond to change without burning out your team.
9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
While the agile philosophy encourages shorter cycles and frequent releases, it also emphasises the importance of keeping things neat, so they don’t cause problems in the future. This principle also reminds teams to create not just working software but also a stable product of high quality.
10. Simplicity – the art of maximising the amount of work not done – is essential.
If you can simply do something, why waste time complicating it? Your customers are not paying for the effort you invest. They are buying a solution to a specific problem that they have.
11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.
Agile principles suggest the use of self-organising teams which work with a “flat” management style where decisions are made as a group rather than by a singular manager or management team.
12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.This allows you to experiment and improve performance continuously. If things don't go according to plan, the team should discuss what went wrong and adjust to get back on track to prevent it from occurring again.
How Is Agile Workflow Different from Traditional Workflow?
Agile workflows differ from traditional approaches, including development models, client involvement, restart cost, testing, and organisational structure. Here are some ways both methods differ:
There's a linear organisational structure in traditional workflows, which means that decisions flow from the top down. Employees at different levels in the hierarchy have specific job duties and responsibilities that they must adhere to. In agile workflows, an iterative organisational structure uses more communication channels and enables employees to be more flexible.
There's minimal client involvement in traditional workflows, and clients are only brought in when the project is completed. In agile workflows, clients are involved throughout the entire project cycle, which allows for more feedback and better results.
In traditional workflows, projects are typically divided into phases, and each step has a specific goal. Once the stage is completed, the project moves on to the next phase. In this way, the development model is relatively fixed.
Agile workflows don't use phases, instead opting for an incremental model in which new features are added as they're completed. That allows teams to make changes quickly as required.
In traditional workflows, testing is done at the end of the project. For instance, if the project revolves around software development, the software will be tested after the developers have finished coding. In Agile workflows, testing takes place after each iteration. It allows teams to identify shortcomings as they move from one step to the next.
How to Create an Agile Workflow?
The steps involved in creating an Agile workflow have already been discussed above. Here's how you can make an Agile workflow for every project.
Use Appropriate Agile Practices
Agile practices refer to the specific methods you use to manage your projects. There are several different agile practices, and you should select the ones that fit your particular needs. Some examples include Lean Software Development, Dynamic Systems Development Method, and eXtreme Programming. Invest in workflow automation tools like digital signing software, document management software, or client management software that help you streamline your operations and reduce time spent on repetitive tasks to achieve resource efficiency.
Select a Framework
Choose a framework to help you organise your agile practices. There are several different frameworks to choose from, depending on the scope of your project. Some popular frameworks include the Resource Levelling Framework, Pareto Distribution Framework, Scrum Framework, the Kanban Method, and the Crystal Method.
Create Your Workflow
Once you have selected your agile practices and framework, it's time to create your workflow. The workflow will outline the specific steps that need to be taken to manage your project. It should be tailored to fit the needs of your team and project.
Assign Sprint Teams
The sprint teams in an Agile workflow are responsible for completing the tasks in each sprint. Assign team members to specific sprint teams, and make sure that everyone is familiar with the tasks they are responsible for. Some ways to organise sprint goals can be based on creating weekly workplans that enable you to stay focussed on your tasks and meet OKR and KPI goals. The goal of each sprint is to complete a particular set of functions.
Sprints are where you act on the items on your backlog. These brief development cycles have a clear set of objectives that must be met within a specific time frame. Typically, your sprints will focus on only a few different backlog items to ensure that they are completed as quickly as possible.
This way, you can get customer feedback and take any necessary action right away. It prevents your team from spending too much time and effort on a large set of tasks that might need to be redone!
Utilise Product Backlog
All Agile development methods begin with the creation of a product backlog. Your product backlog contains all the tasks and ideas that go into the creation of a product. While your backlog may begin as a jumbled collection of ideas, it will gradually take shape as your project progresses.
You'll get a better idea of what to target and what your customers want as you incorporate more customer feedback. As a result, your backlog becomes more concrete as you progress.
Your backlog should include the following items:
- Well-defined – with a clear reason why the user will benefit from it
- Prioritised – to emphasise the most pressing user stories (backlog items)
- Tightly scoped – to ensure that they can be completed within a reasonable time frame
Perfect Your Agile Workflow With Tessaract
Adopting the Agile approach is the way forward for businesses that want to succeed in the current market. It allows for greater flexibility and adaptability, which is essential in a fast-paced market.
Tessaract is the perfect partner for businesses that want to take up the Agile approach since it helps you make data-driven decisions, allows collaboration, and streamlines client management. As an optimal business management software solution to your digitalisation needs, Tessaract can power your business and enable you to achieve operational efficiency. Request a demo today to learn how Tessaract assists your business in today's digital world.