By definition, the word Agile means the “ability to move with quick, easy grace” (Source).
While this is how most of us would define Agile, the term has grown over the years to have a much more diverse, broad meaning — especially in the business world, where more and more teams are becoming Agile.
What does the word ‘Agile’ really mean?
Agile can mean many things.
In the traditional sense, as defined above, Agile is about moving around in a fast, fluid way — for example, you might call a ballet dancer Agile, or an animal moving through nature.
But Agile has also shaped into a business approach, most commonly known as Agile Project Management. Just like in the traditional definition, Agile Project Management relies on making project management as seamless and fluid as possible.
The goal of Agile Project Management (or the Agile method) is to take away any unnecessary steps that take place during the work process of a team and keep only the essential parts to get a project done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“Agile project management is an iterative development methodology that values human communication and feedback, adapting to changes, and producing working results.” (Source)
So, while Agile can be used in different ways, it still holds the same core meaning no matter where it is applied.
What is involved in the Agile business method?
There are a number of different processes to Agile that a team can use to become more efficient, including Kanban, Lean Development, and Scrum, but the concept is all basically the same — get work done quickly with as little waste as possible.
The steps below are used in most Scrum-based Agile teams, but they can be applied to almost any form of Agile to retain organization during the work process. Scrum is one of the most popular forms of Agile among teams (Source).
- Sprint Planning – In the sprint planning meeting, your team will decide what will occur during the Sprint (a set time period in which the team does the bulk of the work on a project). Planning is encouraged to make sure everyone knows their role within the Sprint, and what tasks need to be accomplished.
- The Sprint – The Sprint is the designated time where the development team works on the tasks that will move the project forward. This can last a week, a month, or however long your team needs to get their work completed.
- Daily Standup Meeting – This is a meeting held each day (or as often as needed) during a Sprint to catch up with your team and go over what is currently happening within the work process.
- Sprint Review – This occurs near the end of the Sprint process when the work has been completed or is almost complete. The review is the time to show off or demonstrate the product or work that has been accomplished over the duration of the Sprint.
- Sprint Retrospective – The Retrospective is a time for the team to look back on the Sprint that just took place, and to go over what worked for them and what didn’t.
If the process above isn’t exactly what you and your team had in mind, don’t worry, Agile can be flexible. Try using different ways of organizing your Agile team by implementing different Kanban boards or Lean Development principles until you find something that works for you.
Stormboard has great template options for every Agile approach!
Regardless of the form of Agile used, the overall goal is to keep working on improving as a team until you are working as efficiently as possible.
Why become Agile?
Agile can be used by almost any kind of team, organization, or company who wants to embrace a more streamlined and efficient way of doing their work, but there isn’t only one reason to become Agile.
Agility is the perfect method to take on if your team needs some major organization to get the necessary work done. Having a method in place that allows you to show your team exactly what to plan for, how long their work cycle will be, and tell them how it went is valuable for getting people on track and focused.
2) Good Stats
Even though it may seem new to many, Agile has been around for a while, and it’s gaining traction in different departments in companies all over the world —the research proves it. The stats below are just some of the positive ways Agile has been impacting those using it.
“Using agile techniques, Enterprise Advanced Marketing has significantly compressed innovation project cycle times—in some cases by more than 75%.” (Source)
71% of respondents cited improvement in the ability to manage changing priorities, and 66% of respondents cited improvement in project visibility. (Source)
“98% of respondents said that they had success with Agile projects in their organization. 74% indicated more than half of their Agile projects had been successful.” (Source)
3) Overall Efficiency & Quality
Getting quality work done is a priority and is easier to accomplish with Agile, but in most cases, it also needs to be done within a short time frame. With Agile, work is not only set up to be done with high standards but also in an efficient manner.
And when tasks getting done quicker, more work will be completed in the long run without compromising the quality.
4) Collaboration & Communication
Agile teams are perfectly positioned to learn how to better their communication and collaboration skills. Within Scrum for example, everyone has roles to play in the Sprint iteration, and they need to get along with one another for the process to be properly executed. Daily Standup meetings are yet one more thing used in Agile that will increase and improve overall communication.
Having engaging collaboration tools (like Stormboard) will also help teams to enjoy their work and want to make their product the best it can be.
5) Be Ahead of the Game
Agile teams are generally going to be more advanced than teams who aren’t implementing an Agile method. They are more streamlined, have cut out anything that isn’t useful to them, have clear goals in mind, and are able to fully recognize what is working for them and what isn’t — along with the ability to quickly remedy anything that causes a roadblock in their process.
Being part of an Agile team is also great for knowing where to go next. Many times, teams find themselves lost as to what the next steps are or who is doing what. That isn’t the case with organized Agile teams.
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