Why Agile Might Benefit People Even More Than Software
At this point, it’s hard to deny the benefits that come from adopting an agile state of mind. Even defense acquisition officials in the Pentagon are considering turning to agile development to address the colossal challenge of refreshing the software in its weapon systems.
It’s a methodology that produces software that is more thoroughly tested and more secure, at a speed that the current marketplace almost demands. But beyond making better mobile apps or more appealing software, how important is agile when it comes to not only cultivating a strong team, but also communicating with the clients you’re working with?
Coveros CEO Jeff Payne explained to StickyMinds that what agile can do for the people involved with it is invaluable.
There's a lot of studies out there that show some of the business benefits of agile. They document and define better quality, decreases in costs, faster time to market, all that stuff. What you don’t hear a lot about are really the team benefits, the underlying things that make those business benefits possible. ...
Some of the biggest team benefits I’ve observed that result in business benefits such as productivity and higher quality are, for instance, increased visibility. The ability to know all during the software development process how much progress is being made, that relates right back to this idea of working code as your progress, but also the fact that we’re always communicating and we're keeping the customer in the loop so that everybody knows where we're at in the process.
Iteration and communication are critical to the success of an agile team, and that allows different members to know what’s going on throughout the entire process, not just in their specific roles. It makes overall quality something that not one single department has to worry about—it becomes a full team effort where, if the chemistry is right, everyone is happy to chip in.
By evaluating and reevaluating every step in the agile development process to get a clear picture of the project’s projection, everyone on that team can feel closer to what’s going on. Each member can see what they’re working toward, and even feel like a grander part of the project’s overall success.
And on this same train of thought, keeping your customers close to what’s going on is critical. Providing seamless feedback on what’s going right, what might need to change, and how both parties can work together to create something even better and hit all your targets is easier when agile is in play. If a customer changes his mind, agile teams can show him one of their iterations and convene in order to get feedback on whether that’s what he really wants.
It bolsters quality, and the stronger sense of teamwork that comes with agile allows individuals to feel more empowered to make decisions. They feel as if they have the authority to get the job done. Agile provides major benefits to software, but it all starts with how much it does for the people developing it.