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How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

How an Agile Consultant Can Help You

Agile methods are among the top solutions for IT management. With a consultant you can utilize an even larger benefit from this framework

Keyword(s): agile consultant

Agile development frameworks are common in the world of IT and software. Giants like Spotify, Twitter, and eBay all use the approach.

The Agile manifesto dates to 2001. It has inspired countless teams to find faster and better ways to develop products.

One advantage is the movement of decision-making control to the teams themselves. This is a collaborative approach, not a top-down method.

So bearing this in mind, how can an Agile consultant help you make the most of the framework? Read on to learn more about the advantages of hiring one.

Enjoy Better Clarity In Your Team

One of the main benefits of using an Agile consultant is the clarity they bring to the project. Think of them as a bridge between the stakeholders and the development team.

The consultant helps the stakeholders to agree on what they expect from the project. This gives them a better idea of what to expect. No more "I'll know what I want when I see it"!

Then the consultant can take this to the team to help with goal setting. Knowing the expectations in advance helps to keep this process more realistic.

The added advantage is that the stakeholders can have more trust in the team because they feel 'heard'. In turn, the team can work more quickly because they have a clear brief.

This reduces miscommunication, which prevents mistakes and unnecessary delays. It also means the consultant has a clear vision of the project's aims and scope.

This 'bigger picture' view can help with decision-making if problems occur. It's a step towards becoming a truly Agile business.

Ensure Projects Have Direction

One of the benefits of using an Agile approach is the iterative formula. Projects become organic, with regular milestones to review progress.

That also gives opportunities to pivot or take projects in a new direction. Stakeholders get projects that are more in line with requirements. Developers create better quality products.

This doesn't happen by accident. It's choreographed by the consultant to make sure groups stick to their goals.

The consultant works to manage the direction but not the content of the work. This lets the teams keep ownership of the project.

At the same time, they can hand over the problem-solving elements to the consultant. This gives teams the time and space to focus on what they do best⁠—creating products.

It also means that the consultant can stop the team from getting distracted. Instead of following tangents, the team is nudged back onto the action plan.

Approach Problem Solving In a New Way

Agile consultants aren't part of your team. It's better to think of them as outside forces helping to guide your team.

They're like IT sherpas. The organization contracts him or her to provide solutions as required.

When your team hits a problem, the consultant is there to help with solutions or answers. The advantage is that they're unbiased.

Their advice comes from their experience with the framework. They're not burdened by attachment to the project.

Their sole concern is resolving the issue so the team can get back to working on the project. This is also helpful if you have issues between the team and the stakeholders.

Agile consultants can act like independent, impartial advisors, rather than invested individuals.

This approach is the difference between Agile consulting and coaching. Coaches are 'in the thick of it' with their team. Consultants stay more detached so that they can focus on solving problems.

Get Targeted Support On a Project-By-Project Basis

Agile consultants usually only work on a short term contract basis. That's because they're hired for their Agile expertise.

They focus their advice to move the project forward. They also create action plans for the team to follow. If you need more hands-on Agile help, a coach might be a better fit.

The coach works within the team. By contrast, the consultant works alongside.

Coaches will help to develop the skills of individual team members. Consultants work at a more holistic level for the benefit of the project.

Remember that consultants work across a lot of projects within many different companies. This gives them a high degree of expertise with experience in a huge range of areas.

When a problem appears, it's likely the Agile consultant has faced something similar. This helps them to solve the problem faster and with a greater chance of success.

If problems occur that the consultant hasn't faced before? They're more likely to be able to troubleshoot.

They've got a huge bank of experience behind them that individual teams can't access. Consultants bring a vast knowledge base with them that can speed up projects.

Bring Agile Into Your Team With an Agile Consultant

97 per cent of companies now use Agile in their development process. That's still not 100 per cent.

It leaves three per cent of businesses that don't use the framework. Beyond that, not every team uses Agile. Some teams may use a version of Agile, such as Scrum.

Does your team still use the old Waterfall approach? The flexible Agile approach may seem unorthodox. You may prefer to have more finalised work created at each step of the process.

Whether you use Waterfall or another method, an Agile consultant can help to set up the systems you need to make this framework work for you.

They will guide you through the iterations so you can see for yourself how Agile benefits project development.

If this is your business, you would enjoy having an Agile coach on staff. They can take the action plans created by the consultant and help the team implement them.

Enjoy These Benefits

Now you know the huge benefits an Agile consultant can bring to your business. As impartial outsiders, they offer advice for the good of the project. They're not tied into individual teams.

They're trained to solve problems using their vast experience within the Agile methodology. Your business can benefit from their expertise.

Agile Center offers consultancy services for Development Teams. Contact us if you need more information about these services.

SAFe Devops: The Great Opportunities of Integrating Devops and Agile

SAFe Devops: The Great Opportunities of Integrating Devops and Agile

SAFe Devops: The Great Opportunities of Integrating Devops and Agile

Discover the incredible opportunities of combining DevOps and Agile frameworks, and how to make it happen, in this extensive look at SAFe DevOps.

Keyword(s): SAFe DevOps

Is your company working harder than ever and barely keeping up with the ever-changing tech landscape? Are you finding it harder to create new programs that can be launched before they become outdated?

In the software industry, companies are expected to produce at break-neck speeds. And if you’re having a hard time keeping up, then you might need to consider streamlining your processes with agile and DevOps systems.

When combined in a SAFe DevOps framework, software development companies are seeing significant gains in their processes and productivity.

Don’t worry if this sounds confusing; we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all about the DevOps process, why it’s so popular among software developers, and how you can couple it with agile to produce extreme results.

A Move into the 21st Century

Nearly two decades ago, the agile movement took the software industry by storm and changed the way tech companies operated. Now, industries and organizations across the spectrum are following suit and adopting the agile framework to help increase productivity and employee engagement.

Outdated 20th-century leadership valued industrial processes and tools. And rightly so, the 20th century saw the invention of machinery never before imagined. However, in the 21st-century, leaders realize that they need to focus on individuals and collaboration if they want to see monumental success.

With these changes comes a change to the traditional waterfall development process. Instead, with movements such as agile and lean, developers everywhere can launch new products regularly and with more success than ever before.

If your company has a firm foundation in organizational architecture that looks like the 20th century, don’t worry, you too can adopt agile and DevOps.

What Is DevOps?

If your development team and your operations management team had a baby that was raised by your quality control team, you would have DevOps. So how does it work? And how can you convince your team to embrace it?

Historically, development took months and required strict process controls and documentation. Today, customers want to see new products reaching the market regularly.

At the heart of any agile process is getting the product to the customer faster. And it doesn't have to be limited to software companies any longer.

When your development team can operate faster, test faster, and deliver faster you will see true integration between your agile research teams and product development.

The DevOps methodology helps tech companies to scale their product development through automation and streamlined processes. When coupled together, agile methodology in DevOps allows companies to increase their productivity exponentially.

How to Go Lean with SAFe DevOps

The Scaled Agile Framework can integrate seamlessly with DevOps when done correctly. Unfortunately, since both ideologies are more of a culture shift and not necessarily a set checklist, it can be challenging to implement. You can’t just check off the boxes and say you’re using DevOps and agile. They both require full buy-in from all users, including management and employees alike.

At the foundation of both frameworks is the concept of inter-departmental collaboration. The software development team cannot work in a separate silo from the organizational operations department; they need to work together.

Encourage regular communications and meetings between both departments. This is where scrum meetings in the agile framework can be very beneficial. In essence, the people using the code need to be working together with the people writing the code.

Putting These Ideas Into Action

So, how can you put that into action in your everyday work environment? One of the key processes embedded in the DevOps foundation is to automate as much as you can. When you start to scale and create new products at a rapid pace, you need to automate.

Whether you’re building new systems, eliminating redundancies or running tests, find or create ways to automate as much as you can. It will enable you to truly increase your productivity and launch more new products.

And just as in agile, with DevOps, you need to be able to test fast, fail fast, then pivot and change quickly to adapt. You need to know what the market wants and what the customers expect. Then you need to be able to react quickly to provide them with the products that fit those desires and expectations.

If you’re ready to put DevOps into action with SAFe, we can help. We grow SAFe experts for your team to help scale your product development. We offer certified online training to give structure to the learning environment and help your team members learn most efficiently.

Integrate DevOps and Agile to Increase Your Opportunities

The world is changing at increasing speeds. And the software development field is changing even faster. To keep up with new technologies, your company needs a new framework within which to operate. The best way to create that new framework is to change the culture in your company, from the top down.

Get everyone on board with the right training so you can move forward with this new mindset that will allow your development and operations team to scale their efforts. Watch as they create new products that your customers love, then watch as they listen to your customers and improve on their products while also creating more.

Bring the SAFe DevOps values and culture to your team with our training programs. If you have more questions about this process or our training, reach out to us today.

Lean Portfolio Management may just be the most important development for online learning since the industry's adoption. This management aligns the strategy and execution of information - in essence: it creates effective processes.

Lean Portfolio Management has several benefits like reducing waste and helping to amplify learning. It also empowers teams, optimizes interactions, and allaround builds stronger integrity within the business. Our video is a short but succinct overview of lean portfolio management. By our videos' end, you'll have learned the primary focus of lean portfolio management, its benefits, and how you can introduce it into your operations.

You'll also get handy resources to maximize your results. Want to learn more? Read at: https://agile-center.com/blog/110-lean-portfolio-management-what-is-the-primary-focus.html

Be sure to talk with our experts when visiting our site, too, for all things Agile training and consulting.

Let's work together in helping you explore all the many benefits of Lean-Agile transformation!

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The Phases of Agile Software Development

The phases of agile software development are six equally important part. They optimize development tasks and help to help to reduce the amount of errors

Keyword(s): agile software development

Projects that involve agile software development are 28 per cent more successful than projects that use traditional development. If you want to increase the success of your projects, you should switch to this process.

Not only will it help you be more successful, but it will give you a list of steps that you can follow for your future development work.

Keep reading to learn about the phases of agile software development.

Determine and Prioritize Projects

The first step in agile software development is to determine what projects you need to complete. Many software development companies focus on more than one project at a time.

If you have two or more projects to work on, you need to decide which takes the highest priority. The easiest way to do this is to determine how a project would affect your company's bottom line.

Perhaps you have a project that you're passionate about. But if it's a smaller project that won't earn you a ton of money, it might not have as much priority.

You can also use any deadlines to determine the priority of your projects. If one project is due in the next month while one isn't due for a few months, you can focus on the first option.

The project that receives your top priority may not always be obvious, so you should consider everything that you can. From the payout to the due date, make sure you prioritize your projects correctly.

Outline the Requirements

Once you have your top-priority project, you should move to the next stage in the agile software development life cycle. You need to work with your stakeholders to make sure they are happy with the requirements.

Consider using flow diagrams when planning out any new features. Diagrams are a popular tool in agile software development because they can give you a visual.

Instead of listing all of the features you will add, you can view how each feature affects other features. Then, you can make sure the connections make sense.

If one requirement doesn't make logical sense, you can add something to it. Or you could drop it altogether if you find you don't need it.

No two agile software development projects will have the same requirements. For example, the first round will involve creating the software from scratch. But as you add more features, you will be able to work off the original program.

Create the First Draft

The next step of the agile software development model is to create the first draft of the software. If you have a team, you will need to assign tasks to everyone so that you can get the draft done quickly.

If you're working by yourself, you will need to focus on everything from the user experience to the coding. Luckily, you don't need the draft to cover every feature you plan to add.

You will need to put the software through a few rounds of revisions, so you don't need to add anything fancy. But you should have an idea of where the more advanced items will go.

Then, when you need to add those specifications, you can do so more easily. So think of your first iteration as just that. Don't worry about getting it perfect on the first round.

Test the System

After you complete the first iteration in your software development, you need to test it out. You can test the system yourself or have your team do so, even if they work remotely.

If you want customer feedback, you can release a beta version and have people use it and give you their thoughts. Then, you can make any changes that your team and customers have.

Whether you work with your customers or your team to test your iteration, you will probably need to fix some issues. Sometimes, the issue will be small and easy to resolve.

Other times, you may need to go back to the drawing board. But that is all a part of the agile software development life cycle.

After you fix any problems that you have, you should retest the system to make sure it works now. Once you get rid of all issues, you can finalize the system and user documentation.

Review with your team how the software works so that you all know how to improve it later on. Finally, you can release the software to the public.

Offer User Support

Now that your software is available to anyone, you may feel like your job is done. Remember, continuing support is an essential element of agile software development.

You should provide assistance to users whenever they have questions. You can offer a tutorial on how to use the software, or you can answer individual inquiries.

Whenever you or a user finds a bug, you should fix that error as soon as possible. You can then release a fix for that problem, and you can release it as an update rather than a new version.

You should keep offering support for users for as long as you plan to keep the software active. However, there will come a time when you can stop supporting it.

Replace the System

The final stage of the agile software development life cycle involves replacing the system. If you encounter a major issue, such as a lack of compatibility with hardware, you will need to make bigger changes.

One fantastic solution is to replace the system with a new version of the program. You can then follow the same steps to create that new version.

However, if you find that your software isn't as popular as it was, you may choose to retire it. You don't have to create a new version of the program if it doesn't make sense for your company.

Remember the first step, and always prioritize projects according to company values and needs.

The Circle of Agile Software Development

Agile software development involves a set of steps for designing, creating, and releasing software. Updating the system over time is also important for many programs.

You can do a lot with agile software development, but you need to make the most of it.

Want to learn more? Check out our course list to learn more about agile software development.

Importance of Daily Stand-Ups

Importance of Daily Stand-Ups

Stand-up meetings; that also go by the names daily scrum, morning roll-call, and daily huddle are short meetings where every participant communicates the progress since the last stand-up, action items planned till the following stand-up, and brings up issues if any so team members can contribute solutions.

The idea behind a daily stand-up is to give the whole development team an opportunity to see what has been happening in the development timebox since the previous stand-up, what is planned to be done before the following stand-up, and to state any issues that they may be having. A daily meeting the place problems and roadblocks are outlined and discussed permits the team lead or different team members to solve them shortly and successfully.

The Scrum Guide says that the daily stand up ought to take not more than 15 minutes; the Agile Project Framework says that usually the daily Scrum stand-up shouldn't last more than quarter-hour but also says that 2 minutes per participant + 2 minutes is an efficient guide; for a team of 9 members this may equate to twenty minutes.

What is Daily Stand-Up?

In Scrum, on every day of a sprint, the scrum group holds a daily scrum meeting known as the daily scrum or the daily standup meeting. The daily standup meeting offers both project stakeholders and the team an opportunity to get a fast update of the project's status and align their targets with that of the project.

Stand-up meetings are a good way for teams to align brief- and long-term targets, along with personal tasks and general team projects. The standup meeting is held to make the team conscious of the present status and impediments, not to foster an extended discussion or try to solve problems.

The development group uses the daily Scrum stand-up to examine progress toward meeting the development timebox objective and the likelihood that the development timebox MVP shall be met. You don't need a lot for a stand-up meeting agenda - since they're so brief, all you need is a handful of questions to get the ball rolling and immediate team members to offer status updates.

The Scrum Master concentrates on the success of project, by helping the product owner and the team is utilizing the proper process for making a successful goal and establishing the Agile principles. There are numerous activities or "meeting rules" you can put in place, to make sure your team stand-up meeting is efficient, and not a complete waste of time for everybody.

These kinds of meetings are commonest in software program firms and other companies that use agile development methodologies, like Kanban, however they're also helpful amongst all kinds of teams in search of an efficient method to share updates, overcome roadblocks and keep aligned as a team. So, the Scrum Master ought to be capable of help the team members to undertake the changes.

All development team members should attend, both full and part-time members. Also, non-development group members are welcome to attend daily stand-ups but aren't allowed to talk.

Time and Structure of Stand-Up Meetings

Time and Structure of Stand-Up Meetings

As described within the Scrum Guide, the Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the following 24 hours.

The place and time for the every day stand-up must be chosen to offer the least inconvenience to the development group members. When deciding a time to run the every day stand-up, the time should be set to inconvenience the development team members as little as possible; totally different individuals ought to select whether their attendance throughout "unsocial hours" is worth it to themselves. Similarly, if group members should arrive later for personal causes (e.g., need to drop off children at school), the beginning time should be set at a time so that everyone can attend. The time for the daily stand-up ought to be set when all development team members have a great chance of attending, that is necessary for geographically dispersed groups.

Team stand-up meetings are a incredible method to make sure everyone inside your team is on the same page, have a shared understanding of duties and objectives. The structure of the meeting is set by the Development Team and can be carried out in different methods if it focuses on progress towards the Sprint Goal. With just one 10 to 15 minute meeting through the day, group members can spend their time on focused work, rather than arguing about points that are simply resolved.

Since both the Scrum Master and product owner are committed team members, they are expected to attend and participate. The daily stand-up must be run by the development team though, in some organisations, the Agile Project Manager/Scrum Master runs the event. In the standard scrum meeting format, the members of a team stand across the room or close to the project board and report on their progress. But, the daily stand-up is not meant for members to "catch up" with each other on non-project-associated matters.

If your organization has employed remote workers, be sure to embrace them in your standups; one of the primary aims of standups is to make the whole team feel closer together, which incorporates your remote workers.

As every team member is sharing the 3 main points ( current goals, completed objectives, and challenges facing these goals), they should remember to try to keep things as succinct as possible.

If you uncover the standup meeting is beginning to get longer, this could possibly be a sign that group members aren't speaking effectively over the course of the working day.

Importance of Daily Stand-Up

Daily Scrums improve communications, get rid of other meetings, determine impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote fast decision-making, and enhance the Development Team's stage of information. If your standup meetings tend to devolve into discussions round who can swap shifts or take on totally different projects, think about whether a tool that facilitates easier communication between team members might work better than a daily meeting.

For those of you who're unaware of what a daily stand-up is, it's the chance for group members to shortly and effectively "stand" together within the office and every run through their priorities for the day, what they achieved the day before and if they need help from any friends.

But remind yourself and your group that the daily standup meetings usually are not held to solve issues or have long discussions. Teams that don't run efficient standup meetings are those where every team member offers in-depth status stories, repeating the identical information day after day, or the discussion is allowed to spirals right into a sea of in-depth technical problem-fixing discussions.

When teams don't maintain a daily standup meeting, the group risk losing the communication, focus and momentum of a team needed to build the proper product with the suitable quality on time. The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal and to examine how progress is trending toward completing the work within the Sprint Backlog. The Development Team or team members often meet instantly after the Daily Scrum for detailed discussions, or to adapt, or replan, the rest of the Sprint's work.

Daily stand-up meetings are a recurring solution to a specific set of problems that occur when a group of individuals try to work collectively as a group. The function of those meetings is to get fast info and make fast recommendations, and not essentially to provide status updates to stakeholders (though they might be present) and they also continue even if certain team members are absent.

When the team is conducting effective standup meetings, potential delays to the project are discovered early and shortly, allowing the team to proactively find methods to stay on schedule. The daily standup meeting helps you and your team to have a shared understanding of your objectives. You and your team members can update the board outside of the standup and may raise challenges anytime you're working.

The two roles - Scrum Master and Product Owner are priceless for the team, as they build an ideal relation with the team, and thereby delivering the best outcomes. When holding the daily stand-up meeting, it makes it a lot easier if group members can point at stories and duties on a task board. The Daily Scrum optimizes the chance that the Development Team can easily meet the Sprint Goal.

Also, just remember to give extra introverted team members time to speak about what's on their minds, whether it's updating other members of the team on what they're working on or helping to reply questions on upcoming tasks.

If you're working in remote groups, a daily standup through video chat is usually a significantly useful tool for staying connected to your team, growing their efficiency, and instilling in them a sense of group. To conclude, a daily stand-up is there to assist the team communicate, search support as well as track progress or obstacles with each other.

Agile Center offers training and consultancy services for Scrum Masters and Development Teams. If you need help or more information, please contact us.

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