How you do business anywhere in the world is now subject to new rules and norms. Emerging technologies influence how you work; you are no longer tied to a location thanks to remote working capabilities, but new developments require you to constantly upskill and reskill to remain relevant in the modern workforce.
Two significant IT challenges in this transformation are reliance on a massive correlated ecosystem and intricate technologies. Tedious as it may seem, developers must embrace digital transformation to deliver innovative software products and provide value to customers. It also doesn't help that businesses are expected to satisfy client requirements, regardless of challenges.
Agile is a thriving software development methodology that can help companies provide their customer base with outcomes in real-time, based on its established practices, scaling frameworks, and methods.
This is where Ways of Working (WoW) come in handy. But what is the Way of Working?
Let’s learn more about it.
What Is the 'Way of Working'?
WoW, or Ways of Working, is the blueprint of how you should operate within a given framework, summarizing how individuals cooperate, usually focusing on team collaboration and success.
Ways of Working comprises guidelines that enhance communication and teamwork and define a set of team expectations for interrelating, collaborating, and participating.
This helps Agile software development teams to adapt to the process quickly and overcome the challenges it entails. However, Ways of Working (WoW) go beyond merely selecting a software development process.
In this rapidly evolving digital realm, the ability to adapt and learn is a competitive advantage. As teams, it is imperative to define proper Ways of Working to continue adjusting and learning along the way.
What Is the Agile Way of Working?
An Agile methodology includes practices and frameworks that are well-suited for every organization that prioritizes speed and efficiency, no matter what its project requirements are.
Development teams start small by implementing Agile methodologies for software delivery. Once they attain a certain level of maturity while scaling, they are ready to undertake a progressive transformation journey.
A team can first select particular Agile Ways of Working and move to another WoW later on, to scale Agile within the enterprise and facilitate groups, portfolios, and cohesive high-level solutions.
WoW outlines a particular Agile working approach for every team or product. It allows the unit to operate with minimum constraints and maximum flexibility to optimize their performances. As a result, a team adopts and evolves these practices and methods to meet company-related needs/requirements.
6 Ways of Working within Agile
This Agile framework comprises a conference-like setup, where plans are devised to manage backlogs, and roles are assigned to organize the work with deadlines. Scrum includes flexibility and rapid changes by generating outcomes iteratively and incrementally.
Typically, a Scrum team has a Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master. These teams are cross-functional and self-organizing. Instead of being led by other individuals from outside the team, they can select the best ways to accomplish their work all on their own.
Kanban boards act as tools to help you achieve efficiency while maintaining story continuity and its respective features. It allows for smooth flow and increases productivity without any bottlenecks interrupting the existing speed of work. With Kanban, you have a lean methodology that enables you to conceptualize the workflow and reduce the labor according to the capacity of a team.
Enterprise Scaling Framework
With an Enterprise Scaling Framework, you can implement a lean-Agile method at the enterprise level and scale from top to bottom. This framework is further categorized into four layers:
- Value Stream
Enterprise Scaling Frameworks help even the simplest and the most intricate systems to scale and fit the stakeholders' requirements. Also, the Enterprise Scaling Framework allows for the delivery of valuable software consistently and effectively.
Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) is a process that helps scale Scrum across various teams. It has two common structures: LeSS Huge and LeSS framework.
This approach endorses one Product Owner for teams, a single product with backlogs, Sprint planning, and elucidation of 'Done' and output. The main aim of LeSS is to scale the entire product within Scrum's constraints.
Disciplined Agile (DA) framework advocates current Agile and lean methods. It's a goal-driven framework and hybrid model that addresses aspects that aren't covered in more minor scales in the Agile framework. DA also expands the Scrum lifecycle to accomplish an end-to-end cycle of deliveries for end users.
Disciplined Agile is categorized into the following phases:
- Inception: The project launch phase. This phase's goal is to make sure that all teams are connected, aligned, and on the same page.
- Construction: This phase aims to develop a consumable solution with adequate functionality for meeting the stakeholders' needs.
- Transition (Delivery): This is the last phase and it focuses on deploying the solution into production. Also, this phase is known as a Hardening Sprint, Release phase, or Deployment phase.
Agile Portfolio management allows companies to prioritize, recognize, manage and arrange products. It produces less flux and its independent nature makes it possible for teams to adjust to changes, without having to monitor resources.
With Agile Portfolio management, it's easy for teams to improve and enhance software development flow and delivery, and the outcomes are outlined for the supported portfolio areas.
How Can You Start following the Agile Way of Working?
The actual power and advantages of Agile lie in reconsidering the way of operating that ensures business value first and can deliver practical benefits frequently and early on. The Agile approach is contingent on predictability.
For teams to be liable, members and a controlled environment are dedicated to a certain number of hours every week.
Here are some viable steps to get started with the Agile Way of Working (WoW).
Select the Team and the Project
Core Agile and support teams are vital to getting your plan off the ground. It is essential to assign a team that can dedicate their time, but not all team members have to devote the same number of hours.
The teams can then deliver the project deliverables by themselves. Providing the project means carrying out all the necessary tasks required for the ultimate beneficiaries to leverage the project's output.
Your project duration should match the project type and last 1 to 3 months, minimum. It is imperative to have adequate data and time to appreciate this methodology and its practices while learning how to utilize it best.
The Agile approach can be applied to any project, such as finance, marketing, Human Resources (HR), etc.
While picking your initial Agile project, here are some things that you and your team need to consider. Make sure to create a listicle of all the essential tasks for your team, and choose an Agile project in which your projects/tasks/work is independent of other individuals.
For instance, is your team dependent on anyone else for the deliverables and their tasks? If that's the case, list down the names of individuals your team relies on, and which tasks are affiliated with them. You can also make a list of work items your team has to work on, then manage the tasks with the help of Agile methodologies.
Prepare Your Agile Backlog
Prepare your Agile backlog, i.e., the list of projects/tasks/work you have specified. In Agile, it's essential to deliver customer value.
So, define your stakeholders and customers for your Agile-based project. Here is how you can do that:
- Even though you want to define your ideal customers, it is imperative to be specific. These are the individuals or groups who'll be invested in approving and seeing your deliverables.
- Your customers are those who leverage and want deliverables. Customers can be departments, a person, a paying client, a department, or a user.
- The stakeholders are those who are interested in what your team is doing. They can also be managed by customers and colleagues.
Next, you need to define the deliverables. Don't fret about things getting complicated. However, instead, make a deliverables list for your customers.
Also, at the same time, it is vital to define the project deliverables as Agile stories. This is paramount because of the following reasons:
- To comprehend how a particular deliverable can provide insights to the team on how they can best serve their customer best
- To ensure that the Agile team knows what their customer demands
- To help the Agile team identify the business value and deliver the greatest worth
Finally, group all the tasks under relevant stories, look over your initial task list, allocate their related stories, and add more jobs.
Choose the Suitable Agile Methodology
The critical question to address is Kanban vs. Scrum as an Agile methodology.
If you opt for Kanban:
- Make sure you outline the maximum work in progress, i.e., the number of tickets that you can manage at once
- State the time and the day of the delivery planning conference, the instant when the team presents the deliverables to the stakeholders
The main principle of the Kanban approach is that when tickets are started, they go ASAP through the whole process until completed.
On the other hand, Scrum is well-suited for the product development teams, and Kanban is appropriate for groups that are primarily into operational work.
If you plan to go with the Scrum methodology, make sure that you:
- Have a Scrum Master, someone who makes sure the scrum procedures are followed. If all the team members are new to Agile, it's best if they all take turns filling this position
- Decide on the Product Owner, The person who outlines what functionalities are essential to build, and sets their priority
When it comes to Scrum, the golden rule is to accomplish everything the team promises to deliver at the start of the Sprint.
Get Smarter With Agile Methodology Along the Way
Agile is practical because it takes the entire team into consideration. The Agile methodology makes sure that the teams have adequate time to plan, implement, introspect and brainstorm, and sets straightforward rules for team collaboration and work structure.
It is essential to be authentic to each other within the team and enhance things in every retrospective.
Here are some tips for implementing the Agile Way of Working:
- Implement it when setting new rules after a retrospective (do it before the next retrospective and evaluate the team to decide if it's good to continue)
- Try not to modify any rules before the next retrospective
- Amendments should be made as a team
- Be patient; it takes around three months to function smoothly as an Agile team
- Be particular about the problems you want to resolve
Adopting an Agile Way of Working for creating and delivering software is the initial phase in the revolutionary Agile transformation journey. The digital transformation rate is augmented by leveraging and selecting the best Agile Ways of Working.
The goal of any business is to reliably provide innovative software products to their customer base while ensuring satisfaction. When teams leverage and adopt an Agile Way of Working that aligns with their flow of work, innovation and creativity become the norm.