Everything you should know about the Agile team structure
13 minutes read
Agile is now a fancy notion among team landscapes. Essentially, it is a set of principles that usher in an adaptive approach towards software development. For better perception, let’s look at the key elements of the right Agile working process and some of the philosophy that underlies this methodology.
Agile teams are deliberately kept small, mostly 7-9 committed members. Thus, this size is intentional to be able to work as a team effectively and ease of communication that targets everyone’s input.
One of the critical features of Agile is that it welcomes change. Unlike traditional approaches, Agile encourages amendments even in a later stage of development.
Agile is not a one-way street but an ongoing dialogue. Developers get continuous input from stakeholders, end-users, and fellow team members. It helps implement changes needed very quickly for the product to fit into user needs.
It was around two decades ago when the Agile Manifesto came out which summarized core principles and values of Agile philosophy. We will briefly recap them as they still hold good in agile practices now.
The 4 decisive reasons to choose agile over anything else are:
Two distinct methodologies stand out: traditional and Agile project management. While both have their merits, it’s vital to understand the differences to choose the one that suits your company.
Traditional project management, like Waterfall, is based on systematic planning, detailed paperwork, and the implementation of preplanned methods. It works well in a linear manner where one stage has to be achieved for the other one to begin. While this methodology presents a clear roadmap, it may face challenges in responding adequately to changes especially where the conditions of the project shift abruptly.
The most popular approaches we know are Waterfall and Scrum. We will zoom in on the methods for you so you have a clear grasp of their differences.
Compared to the traditional approach, Agile has proven resilient to unexpected change. The fact is reflected in numbers: The CHAOS Report states that only 14% of traditional projects are completed on time, within scope, and within budget. The same report highlights that 44% of traditional projects fail due to changing project requirements. Not compelling enough, right?
|Approach||Linear and Sequential||Focused on flexibility, teamwork, and change|
|Phases||Each phase is completed before moving on to the next||A project divided into smaller, manageable units|
|Challenging to make changes once a phase is completed, often requiring going back to the beginning||Change is expected and embraced|
|Requires well-defined and stable project requirements up front||Adaptive to evolving requirements|
|Meetings||Not specific to Waterfall||Collaboration and cross-functional teams|
When we are talking about forming a team, it does not mean you have to hire the most expensive and expert team. The main point here is to correctly define what specialists you need to cover all the project development needs, so each team member has its mission and value. For instance, when you decide not to hire business analysts, you risk getting the wrong product requirements in projects. For your information, a study by the Project Management Institute proves that inadequate requirements gathering is a primary cause of project failure in 37% of cases. This can lead to prolonged and challenging development, even with a team of exceptionally skilled developers. Moreover, such a choice not only impacts the pace of software delivery but also jeopardizes meeting user needs effectively. In essence, it becomes a total drain on both time and resources.
It depends on the type of cooperation with the client. The development team can work:
In this case, the team is responsible for a certain amount of work, such as developing a specific functionality or feature. To achieve the best result we have a knowledge transfer to synchronize the work with the internal team.
When working autonomously, here is more about the technical side of the development as all the organizational and other duties, such as sales and marketing, are on the client’s side. The development team gets clients’ demands, and Business Analysts transform them into detailed requirements for the team to develop them.
Each member has a specific role to do within the team and each is equally vital for a successful project delivery. Here we discuss the basic agile team structure and roles and, of course, what they do on their part.
These agile team structure roles and responsibilities are fundamental. You can hire more narrow specialists – that’s up to you, but never compromise on a single link because it can affect the quality in a bad way.
You will find various management tools out there, but we recommend using these tried and tested ones that have established their reputation in the market for top-notch usability.
The agile software development life cycle consists of 6 phases. They cover the whole path from an idea to the closing phase when the project has to be closed.
The first step in development is where you define the whole further development process. In the list, we have to define the scope of work, develop the main requirements of the functions and features needed to develop the product in the first place, set deadlines, define possible risks and issues that can challenge the development, and estimate approximate costs.
The inception phase is the software development start, where all the requirements are accurately defined.
The main part of the process starts here when the development team has tasks and aims. It takes the most time among other steps. Here is the process that conveys previously made requirements for features and functions into fully working software
Before releasing the product, it is essential to conduct testing by the QA team, who will ensure that the product has no issues or bugs. In case there are bugs, the QA team will fix them. Be aware that you can not eliminate all the bugs during pre-release testing, as new bugs can emerge even after the release.
It is a crucial phase of the product. The maintenance phase takes care of supporting software on the market, fixing bugs that emerge, upgrading the product according to user feedback, and other processes that are necessary for support.
It is the closing phase of software where the software can not perform its purpose and satisfy customer needs. There are two ways further: completely update the software according to the new market needs and trends and closely support the product to create a new one.
Typically, they are research, ideation, design, development, and iteration, but our company has a slightly different picture. There are three stages of software development at ASD Team which were designed based on our 15 years experience of working with different types of clients and project types to help both us and clients achieve more efficient results during and after the actual software development.
At this early stage, it’s all about getting to know the project inside and out. Our team dives in, asking questions, analyzing, and brainstorming potential adjustments where needed.
The account Manager is responsible for constant communication with the client, which includes gathering information and feedback about the project and working process. It can be performed by the Project Manager as well, but it depends on who has tighter relationships with the client.
The Initiative stage includes the following activities:
This stage is an important one in terms of detailed planning and further development process. It includes the following:
When we reach the development stage itself, here is where the coding process starts. Along with the coding, there are:
Our team presents all the developed features and functions to the client at the end of each sprint. That allows us to receive feedback from the client and to clear the further steps and actions regarding the development of the software itself
The evaluation stage is not a single-time performance as we are constantly gathering feedback from our development team and the client to evaluate how the working process on the project is going.
After each sprint, commonly biweekly, there are retrospective meetings where the team discusses and shares feedback about the last sprint. It helps gather all the necessary information to improve some sprint drawbacks in the next one.
Moreover, each month there is a separate meeting conducted by an Account Manager or Project Manager aimed at gathering the overall feedback directly from the client to understand if the client is satisfied with our cooperation and how we can improve our services and the whole development process.
The flawless agile team structure is based on healthy team practices. Some of them are:
Start from the identification of the project’s requirements and goals. Get down to the client’s vision, user needs, and business objectives. This allows for a team structure fully attuned to the dynamics of the project through analysis.
Evaluate the knowledge and skills of the development team members. Highlight any possible skill or expertise gap that might slow down project progress. Make sure that each member of the development team has such competencies to deliver their best for the project.
Any Agile methodology points out the importance of communication. Encourage members to converse with each other to foster collaboration, information sharing, and fast decision-making. This will include daily stand-up meetings with every team member present, occasional retrospectives for analysis, and transparent documentation considering all parties involved.
Feel free to ask any additional questions.
Good communication is the key to success. Properly adjusted and aligned communication channels in an agile software development team are a must and a sign of a productive team.
Well-defined responsibilities and roles make the software development process work as it has to work.
A team that understands the project doesn’t need constant supervision and motivation to perform the job. The autonomous teams do their job as they know what and why should be done.
In sum, we have an excellent methodology that makes the software development process flexible and adjustable to change what positively impacts the speed and quality of software development.
If your project scope permits, that’s a smart move for your company. It provides flexibility, better client collaboration, faster results, and many other perks. Just make sure your team and clients are on board.
Despite all the pros, there are also some problems with agile software development. It needs experienced team members, can lead to scope changes, and may be tricky with remote teams. Among other disadvantages of agile methodology, it requires constant client input and communication. Be ready to handle these issues if you go Agile.
Agile is flexible and works well for many projects, especially those with changing requirements. However, for projects with strict budgets or regulations, it may not be the best fit. It depends on your project’s needs.
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