How to Build an Agile Software Development Team for Your Business
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Want to build an Agile software development team? Now is high time to do it and join the 52% of companies adopting this dev strategy.
What are the benefits of the Agile approach to software development to make it worth applying? This development model is handy when making your product SDLC, i.e., the software development life cycle or process. In simple words, it’s highly collaborative, iterative, and cyclic.
By applying Agile SDLC methodologies, you can achieve the best results on your project development in the shortest time. In today's article, discover how to structure your team and implement the Agile strategy properly.
As an experienced company using Agile software development, Softermii can give you a glimpse at what an efficient Agile development team means, what principles you should adhere to, and how this methodology can streamline your software development process.
How Agile Process Works
The Agile development methodology is a type of project management process. Although companies mainly use it for software development, it can also be applied in other areas. It best suits wherever demands and solutions evolve through a collaborative effort of various team members.
An Agile software development team knows and understands how to self-organize and how to measure software development metrics of their productivity. Hence, they are cross-functional, meaning they may be working on several aspects of a project at once to try and attain a goal within a designated time frame.
Agile development, in turn, is a time-boxed, iterative approach to software delivery divided into the usual software dev process stages and then into sprints.
When used correctly, it allows building the software incrementally from the beginning of a project. Rather than trying to deliver the finished product in a mad rush, it is a slow and deliberate endeavor. Agile software development methodology requires both precision and patience.
Agile Project Management Philosophy
Agile development is a modern and iterative approach to software development that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. It was formalized in 2001 with the creation of the Agile Manifesto, which outlines the key principles and values that guide Agile teams.
The Agile Manifesto highlights four main values:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Agile development prioritizes people and their interactions over rigid processes and tools. This approach emphasizes effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving to create a positive and productive environment.
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Agile teams focus on delivering functional software quickly rather than spending excessive time on extensive documentation. It allows for continuous feedback and improvement, ensuring that the final product meets the needs of the end-users.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Agile development values close collaboration with customers to ensure their needs and expectations are met. This approach encourages open communication, transparency, and a shared understanding of the project goals, fostering a strong partnership between the development team and the customer.
Responding to change over following a plan
Agile teams embrace change as an opportunity for improvement rather than a hindrance. They recognize that requirements and priorities may evolve throughout the development process and remain flexible and adaptive to deliver the best possible product.
Agile development is a highly collaborative and adaptive approach to software development that prioritizes people, working software, customer collaboration, and responsiveness to change. By adhering to the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto, Agile teams can efficiently and effectively create software that meets the needs of their customers.
Principles of an Agile Team in Software Engineering
An Agile software development team usually consists of professionals with diverse backgrounds and skills complementing each other. All this is to ensure flexibility in the software delivery process.
This flexibility or, to say, agility is achieved through the following principles:
Communication and Feedback
The Agile approach involves constant feedback and communication in the team. Specialists regularly review completed tasks and immediately make necessary changes, thus developing the product significantly faster.
Agile teams are comfortable with changing software requirements. They swiftly adjust to new specifications and objectives while keeping the development process running smoothly.
In an Agile approach, all team members work harmoniously, regardless of their expertise and skills. It allows for a productive exchange of experience and the search for unique software solutions.
The Agile methodology involves complete transparency in the development process. Improved communication between team members eliminates errors and provides a comfortable work environment.
Adherence to all the previous principles, in particular, adaptability, collaboration, trust, and communication, contribute to better engagement of team members. When everyone is interested in the project, it’s possible to develop better software more quickly.
Agile Methodologies Used in the Software Development Process
Want to get an even better understanding of how an Agile approach works? It’s time to discuss the three most powerful Agile methodologies for software development:
Software development with Scrum is gaining traction these days. According to the 15th State of Agile Report conducted by Digital.ai in 2021, 66% of companies use Scrum as their core Agile technique.
It’s mainly due to its simplicity and proven productivity. It can also act as a catch-all framework for various practices and achieve business goals. That’s why more and more teams will use this approach in their workflow.
With Scrum software, there is a designated “Product Owner.” This individual or entity works closely with its team to identify and prioritize the goals or most critical features. They add these to what is called a “Product Backlog.” The backlog might consist of features, bug fixes, or non-functional requirements. It’s a system that is sometimes referred to as waterfall software development.
Once this backlog is in place, the Product Owner decides the priorities. Teams sign up to deliver “potentially shippable increments” of software during their Sprints, which typically last 30 days. It’s exclusively the assigned team members who work on each Sprint. At the end of those 30 days, the backlog is analyzed and reprioritized if necessary, and the whole thing starts again.
Kanban in software development is another Agile methodology built around continual delivery. It’s among the most commonly used in software development, according to the 15th State of Agile Report, but much less popular than Scrum.
It was designed to keep things simple and not overburden the development team. Kanban applies three basic principles:
- Visualizing Your Workflow on a Board: this means you can see all the items you’re working on in the context of each other. This approach is highly intuitive. It helps keep things clear when projects are in danger of becoming too complex.
- Keep Your Work-in-Progress (WIP) Limited: the backlog is defined before your Sprint, and nothing can be added. Kanban relies on teams knowing how much they can do in each Sprint. It means no member of the design team becomes stressed and overburdened.
- Have Clear Next Steps: to keep the flow of Kanban moving, you should always know what is meant to happen after each task is completed. It means keeping your backlog prioritized and updated.
Extreme Programming (XP)
XP could be considered a more disciplined approach to Agile project management. The main difference between XP and the previous two is the amount of customer involvement. Rapid feedback loops, continuous testing and planning, and close teamwork are all employed.
The goal is to deliver working software quickly and efficiently that meets the customer’s needs. A typical XP Sprint lasts only 1–3 weeks, as opposed to multiple months, as might be the case with the others.
The original XP “recipe,” described by software engineer Kent Beck in his book Extreme Programming Explained, was based on four values. Those were simplicity, communication, feedback, and courage. He also outlined 12 supporting practices that team members should employ who use this system.
In XP and waterfall development methodology, there are tight feedback loops. The customer, the person or company who conceived the project, works closely with the team. They define and prioritize granular goals called “User Stories.” The team then estimates, prioritizes, and plans these stories’ delivery. After each phase, they get feedback from the customer. At the end of the designated time, if everything goes according to plan, a highly-polished product will be ready for release into the market.
How to Implement Agile Approach into Your SDLC
At this point, you might think using an Agile framework in software development might be beneficial in helping you attain your company’s goals. Thus, let’s dive into how to implement it in practice.
The agile methodology overview combines constant planning, execution, learning, and iteration.
But the overall process starts with the following:
- Understanding and defining who will be using the finished product
- Crafting and documenting a realistic vision statement to which your team can adhere
- Defining the correct scope, opportunities, and desired outcome of the project
Here is a common structure of the Agile software development process:
Let’s dive into more details on these and other steps to implement Agile software development:
- Brainstorm and craft your vision through a strategy meeting: at this stage, you outline what your project will entail and what functions and tech stack it’ll require. You also talk about how you envision the finished product.
- Set up your product roadmap and design: this is where you would talk about the project’s requirements and timeline.
- Formulate a release plan: Agile projects will be released in multiple stages. You’ll want to prioritize the features needed to get you to where you’re ready to launch. For example, usually, you can start by setting up a product design process first.
- It’s time to plan your sprints: Sprint planning is a team effort. The product owner, project managers, and all team members should be present to voice their thoughts and concerns.
- Keep your team on track with daily standups: in Agile-speak, the standup is the daily meeting. These are vital because they allow project leaders to know immediately if a team member has any issues or concerns.
- Sprint is done: at the end of each Sprint, it is time for a thorough review. If everything has gone as planned, you should have a functioning piece of software by the end of your Sprint cycle. At this point, it’s time to review what was done. You can also bring in any stakeholders so they can review your progress.
- What’s next: the final step will be to decide what to focus on in your Sprint retrospective. Are any phases of the project that need finishing touches, or is it ready to bring to the market?
For Agile software development methods to work, you need clarity in the process from start to finish.
A step-by-step approach that leaves nothing to chance is your best opportunity for success. Your Sprint retrospective is when you’ll determine how well your strategy has worked. The more projects and Sprints you do, the better you and your team will likely become with them. The Agile development environment thrives on cooperation and experience.
Ultimately, implementing Agile requires a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, as well as a willingness to embrace change and adapt to new ways of working. With the right mindset and approach, however, Agile can help your team become more productive, efficient, and responsive to changing business needs.
Agile Software Development Team Structure
At this step, getting to know what Agile is and how it works, it’s critical to understand to create an agile software team structure or rebuild your own team so that all members understand their roles and how to execute them.
Hence, the common Agile software development team structure includes the following roles:
Team Lead or Scrum Master
In a Scrum, the team coach or project leader facilitates the team in various ways. They obtain whatever resources the team members lack. They try to anticipate problems before they occur, but they also deal with whatever new ones arise as the project moves forward. The team leader often oversees extreme programming in Agile.
Team Member (Engineers, Designers, QA Specialists)
The tasks of each team member will vary depending on their expertise and the scope and intention of the project. But, every team member, either an engineer, designer, or QA specialist, should understand how your project’s development process based on Agile methodology is going.
The product owner acts as a liaison between the customer and internal stakeholders. This team member collaborates with stakeholders to try and reconcile the vision of everyone involved. This expert operates from a set of agreed-upon goals. The product owner also gathers feedback from the various entities working on the project as it takes shape so that the result ends up being as close to the original product vision as possible.
The role of a stakeholder might vary dramatically depending on the parameters and objectives of each project. Some stakeholders do little other than put in the needed capital. Others, who have a hand in the creative vision, provide feedback before, during, or after the project is finished. Agile software delivery is what they are looking for at the end of the development time.
To get more visual understanding, watch a quick video to sum up Agile software development team roles in any project:
How Agile Dedicated Teams Work with Other Departments
A good Agile software dev team knows how to cooperate with other company departments: from marketing to finance. The smooth collaboration of all those units significantly impacts the quality and efficiency of software delivery.
Being cross-functional, the Agile software development team can work more productively. The basic principles of Agile methodology can be applied to other departments to keep everyone informed.
In particular, you can achieve effective cooperation between departments thanks to the following:
- Leadership. Usually, having a business or project manager who understands the responsibilities of employees in all departments allows you to oversee not only the software development process but your overall progress.
- Constant communication. Promote communication in other deparments, similar to the Agile project development team. It will make it possible to keep processes transparent for all employees and build trust between departments.
- Setting common goals. Another thing that all departments will rely on is the goals you set. Then each employee will clearly understand in which direction your business is moving and, as a result, will show a better result.
4 Tips for Building Your Dedicated Agile Team
You can rely on the following tips to build an Agile engineering team that works quickly and efficiently:
Rigidity is your enemy when trying to create an app, a piece of software, a new platform, or anything else along those lines. New technology always brings new opportunities but also unforeseen challenges. The best Agile team can stick to a schedule when things are going right, but they can also adjust on the fly when you run into unanticipated circumstances.
Choose Results-Focused Team Members
The best Agile teams are composed of members who can focus more on results and outcomes than processes and procedures. No team member will be helpful to you who gets more bogged down in the minutiae of day-to-day work and stops focusing on the project’s goals.
Seek and Use Feedback
Excellent Agile teams have systems and methods as UX deliverables or web frameworks to get their software out in front of their potential customers as soon as possible. They’ll want to collect feedback early on and incorporate it into the product. An Agile team that knows how to set up and conduct focus groups and product testing opportunities is usually one that becomes successful. Iterative software development means incorporating feedback as the project is taking place.
Ultimately, an Agile engineering team is nothing without trust. The Agile software development model thrives on it, and it’s essential for the team’s functionality. The more a group of software developers works together in the Agile format, the more they should come to trust each other. They will anticipate what each other is thinking and feeling. They will become like a well-oiled machine.
Metrics to Measure the Efficiency of Agile Development Teams
After applying the tips for building an Agile development team, you will probably want to test how effective this team is. To do this, you can use several metrics.
Team Productivity and Efficiency Metrics
These metrics allow you to determine how productive the developers of an Agile team are. In particular, they consider the speed of development and delivery of value. Here are a few things you can explore:
- Lead time. This metric measures the time passed from setting the requirement to its realization.
- Cycle time. This indicator measures the time from starting work on a line item to completing it.
- Sprint velocity. It’s the number of story points from each completed User Story during a particular Sprint.
- Sprint burndown. It’s the ratio of the number of planned tasks to the completed tasks during the Sprint.
- Flow efficiency. This indicator is the ratio of the work time to the total wait time.
- Completed vs. committed stories. It’s the percentage of completed Stories against the total committed.
Development Quality Metrics
These metrics examine the quality of delivered software, considering defects found during the development process. Here are some of them:
- Escaped defects. It’s the number of flaws the team finds after completing a Sprint, build, etc.
- Defect density. It’s the number of bugs detected during a particular period divided by the software’s size.
- Defects deferred. It’s the number of bugs the team plans to fix in the next release.
- Code churn. This metric measures the lines of code changed, deleted or added. Agile teams should strive for this indicator to be close to zero.
- Automated test coverage. It’s the number of tests performed on the software.
- Failed deployments. It’s the total number of failed deployments.
These metrics generally examine the satisfaction of your team and customers. Pay attention to the following:
- Team happiness rating. It involves conducting surveys among team members to determine their overall well-being.
- Team Sprint effectiveness rating. This metric allows you to determine the effectiveness of Sprints through discussions at retrospective meetings.
- Customer satisfaction. This indicator allows you to determine customer satisfaction with your product by conducting various user surveys.
Softermii Is Your Awesome Agile Project Development Team
Softermii is an experienced software development service provider. We mainly use Agile methodology to deliver top-notch websites and mobile and web apps in various niches. Our primary areas of expertise include healthcare, real estate, eCommerce, and FinTech.
We also offer a dedicated Agile development team, which guarantees high flexibility and a maximum deviation from time and scope for project delivery of 15%.
Our portfolio includes numerous high-quality projects that you can only imagine.
For example, it is the development of the Zoom-like web and mobile app PractiCall, which enables high-load video conferencing, messaging, and streaming.
Our Agile team also developed the NFT marketplace Radiant. It offers minting and catalog functions, point cloud, world map tours, and even audio discussion rooms for better world exploration.
Expedipay is yet another significant project delivered by our team. It’s a P2P wallet with advanced security owing to fraud detection features and increased convenience thanks to a user-friendly interface.
We mentioned only a few software examples our dedicated Agile team can develop. Thus, if you have ideas for your product, don’t hesitate to opt for our software development services.
The Agile software development methodology might seem complex. Yet, with the right individuals working for you, you can get to where you want to be. This approach is beneficial because it’s a way to get a project together quickly and accurately.
If you have the personnel yet experience time and budget restraints, then using Agile might be just what your company needs. If you don’t have an Agile development team, you can always delegate your software development process to one already formed and experienced. Though if you’d like to set up your Agile team and ensure it works effectively, you can choose to get project management services.
Softermii can help you with any of those. Leverage our many-year expertise in Agile software development by just contacting our team.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why use Agile for software development?
An Agile methodology is your way to improve the final product’s quality, achieve flexibility in the development process, get predictable results, and reduce risks.
What are the main types of Agile software development teams?
There are three types of teams: generalist, specialist, and hybrid. Generalists work in many areas, as opposed to specialists, which are niche or technology-focused. Hybrid teams are a combination of the previous two.
What is the right size of an Agile software development team?
The size of the development team is affected by many factors, including the project’s complexity, the amount of code required, your budget, the project’s timeframe, etc. Yet, seven team members are enough on average.
Where can I find a decent Agile development team?
We offer dedicated Agile development teams in Softermii. Our experts are well-versed in this methodology and readily apply it when building various types of software.
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