In today's fast-paced environment, businesses are under considerable pressure to adapt to changing market conditions. This pressure has seen organisations increasingly transition towards agile development as a means of achieving faster time to market and reduced costs. If executed well, agile methods can transform IT-business relationships and have a positive effect on IT delivery. However, the value will only be delivered if the leadership team are dedicated to the culture change that is necessary for success.

Agile is now generally accepted as the de facto standard for developing digital and mobile apps, however, understanding agile and successfully implementing agile are two completely different things. As a business leader, it’s important to consider how agile practices can increase innovation and reduce the time it takes to get your new products and services to market. Below are some of the key things you might want to consider if you are planning on adopting agile:

Get to grips with the basics of agile – there are a number of common misconceptions about agile, such as there is ‘no planning just do it’ or ‘agile requires no documentation’ through to ‘agile gives instant benefit’ – in reality these are myths. Getting agile right means understanding the basics and if you’re new to the world of agile, you need to consider how it can be implemented within your company. There are three main types of agile, each possessing slightly different traits depending upon what you wish to achieve:

  1. Scrum focuses heavily on adaptive and creative teamwork and empowering teams to solve complex mobile software challenges in a collaborative way.
  2. Lean development focuses on the reduction of technical and commercial waste (i.e. providing clear focus on the most important and valuable tasks).
  3. Kanban focuses on reducing development lead times and optimising workflow processes. This enables leaders to choose the right type of agile practice in relation to strategic goals and priorities.

The basics of agile are relatively straightforward. If you’re organisation is seeking to exploit a specific commercial opportunity, agile enables you to empower small, highly focused teams (usually 3 to 8 members). Each agile team is then tasked with working across different functions within each sprint, and should possess all of the required skills and expertise to execute each task. Teams should be held accountable for every single task within each sprint and should, to a large extent, be self-organising and self-managed.   

Mobilising an agile team – within each agile team there are a variety of roles and responsibilities to consider. The product owner manages the overall project vision, the app backlog and is responsible for delivering value to the end customer. The product owner prioritise’s each task, with team members  responsible for completion of the tasks in each sprint. Sprints enable the team to develop a structured workflow pattern, or sprint cycle, often broken down into two or four week cycles. The scrum master manages the workflow process within each sprint cycle and helps to remove task completion barriers for each team member. Daily stand-up meetings are often used to provide transparency and teams must manage a backlog in order to refine and improve workflow for future sprint cycles.

Agile provides a number of key benefits – sprint cycles can help to boost team morale and productivity, whilst facilitating the cross fertilisation of new ideas and thinking across different departments. Agile enables companies to minimise technical waste by focusing on specific KPI’s and commercial goals, reducing the potential for unnecessary feature development, particularly when developing mobile apps. This reduces the need for technical documentation and helps development teams to focus on developing app features that deliver value against strategic KPI’s.

Think about your mobile strategy – getting mobile right is all about having a clear vision at the start of the project. It’s essential to always begin with the end in mind. Understanding the big picture enables product owners and key stakeholders to develop a concise and meaningful series of KPI’s that deliver against both commercial and technical goals. Agile requires flexibility and the ability to adapt in response to the overarching goals of the entire company, which will constantly flux in response to uncontrollable, external market forces. This means that agile teams are constantly forced to prioritise each individual task in relation to sprint KPI’s. This helps to simplify company workflows, stimulate collaboration, and deliver new products and services to market in a faster timeframe.

How to get started in mobile – in today’s lightning paced commercial environment, digital and mobile technology sits at the very heart of most new innovative products and services and has become a core requirement. Developing mobile apps using an agile methodology is the perfect way for large companies to innovate faster than their competitors. However, the reality is that most companies don’t have the access they require to bring new mobile initiatives to market and finding the right development resource can be extremely challenging. Industry analysts estimate that 50% of enterprises currently possess a backlog of between ten and twenty mobile app development projects. This means that finding the right mobile partner can underpin success or failure. 

Exception‘s has extensive experience of successfully delivering client projects using agile methodologies. If you are looking for a partner to deliver agile based projects on your behalf, or if you are looking for a partner to provide collaborative support contact Exception today.

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