Firstly, what is agile working? Agile working is a modern business concept that removes barriers within the workplace so that the employees can work more efficiently and have more freedom. Focusing on the outcomes of work, many employers are adopting the concept, whether it be by offering their employees the opportunity to work from home, through telecommuting or offering them flexitime. Giving the employees the chance to work when and where they like, it produces many positive results.
There are four core values that agile working presents. These are:
- Respond to change within a business and act upon it
- Recognise the importance of directly collaborating with the customer
- Individual employee interactions over tools and processes
- To ensure that there is the software that’s utilised is consistently working
In terms of principles, there are 12 that the Agile Manifesto includes:
1) Customer satisfaction at the start of the project and throughout in order to create valuable work/software
If there is a shorter period between planning the project, delivering it to the customer, and receiving feedback from it, you can produce work/software that’s valuable to the customer. As they are receiving it at regular intervals, there will be a higher level of customer satisfaction.
2) Accommodate changes throughout the project
Even if the customer requests a change late in the development process, if you agree to alterations you will be able to avoid delays, it will give you a competitive advantage and it allows you to stay ahead of the game. If you don’t plan for changes it will result in customer dissatisfaction and costly reinvention.
3) Breaking the work down into sections that can be completed quickly
In order to stick to this principle, you won’t have to follow a strict schedule. A quick and efficient way of working, it means that the customer can receive their work as soon as possible, as well as saving you time that you would have spent on creating paperwork.
4) Giving your employees’ motivation to get the task done in an environment they feel comfortable in
If you build a project around motivated members of your team and give them the support that they need, they can get the job done efficiently. There is no point in micromanaging. This method will help with morale and show them that you trust in their abilities.
5) Working together with the developers throughout
If you don’t have an understanding of what the developers are doing or there is a miscommunication, the goal of the project will become lost. You should work with them daily so that the message of what the customer wants is correctly conveyed. This also allows for ideas to be exchanged between the teams.
6) Ensuring that there is face-to-face communication between the developers
In order to convey information correctly, there should be regular face-to-face interaction between the development team. You will need to talk in person or over video in order to achieve the goal of the project.
7) Using processes that support sustainable efforts
Don’t overtax the team working on the project. You want to have a process in place that doesn’t impact the project’s quality and won’t burn your team out.
8) Realising that working software is the primary measure of success and progress
If you deliver software that is fully functional to the customer you will be able to measure the success of it and ensure that you achieve the goal of the project.
9) Enhancing agility through continuous attention to the design and technical details
In order to maintain the pace of the project, improve it throughout the development and make changes, attention should be continuously paid to its design and the technical details of it – no matter what the project entails. Without this, you will have to fix any issues that arise after it is developed.
10) Ensuring that there is a sense of simplicity throughout
Make sure that you get rid of any unnecessary complexities that arise throughout the project. If you keep it simple, the project can be streamlined and it can be completed quicker.
11) Encourage self-organized teams
If you want your project to succeed, you should encourage your employees to act independently by choosing teams to work in. This shows that you trust them and will result in a greater level of agility.
12) Take time to reflect on the project
By sitting down with the team and discussing with them how the project is going, it will allow for skills to become advanced, self-improvement, improvement in the process and improved productivity. Without this, your team could become disinterested in the final product and won’t have the motivation to produce something valuable.
Even though agile working gives employees a greater sense of freedom, however, at the end of the day, it’s still all about the business outcome. A project that uses agile working, still requires thorough research, planning, design, development and, of course, testing. This means that improvements can be made as the process develops.