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The 6 Steps to a Successful Agile Software Project

Abdul, Aug 17, 2016

Agile software development is a flexible framework, that is implemented through a set of methods and practices.

What steps should you be taking to ensure your agile software project is a success?

Step 1 — Project Kickoff

A strong project kickoff is an important first step to Agile software development projects. A good kickoff has two components. The first is Agile training. This is critical to those who are new to Agile. The second is project readiness.

During project readiness, the Scrum Master establishes the development environment, a common language, approach, and understanding between the development team and product team. Items covered include roles, communication process, schedule and logistics, tools required, and asset lists including logins and other operational information.

Step 2 — Product Backlog

The key event to create the product backlog is the release planning meeting. This is a highly interactive meeting often lasting 2–4 hours. The objectives are to develop the product vision, create and prioritize user stories and themes, and to develop the minimum marketable feature (MMF) line and a corresponding release plan. We will cover each of these in more detail in future posts.

Step 3 — Grooming

Grooming is an open discussion between the development team and product owner. User stories are discussed to help the team gain a better understanding of the functionality that is needed to fulfill a story. The team will discuss the role, desired function, and goal of the user story with the product owner. Then, among themselves, they will discuss how they plan to technically implement the user story.

Step 4 — Sprint Backlog

Once the team and product owner have groomed enough stories to start the first sprint, they pull user stories from the product backlog into the “sprint backlog.” The team keeps the product owner’s priorities in place when creating the sprint backlog, but can pull stories into the backlog out of order if it makes sense for certain stories to be developed together. This creates the work commitments for the 2 week development sprint.

Step 5 — Sprint Development Cycle

A sprint is the development period in the Agile process. This is when the development team writes code, designs the user interface, creates the features of an application, and tests and verifies their code. Typically, a sprint lasts 2 weeks. The number of hours devoted to each sprint varies with the size and scope of the project. In some cases, a sprint can last 4 weeks or another suitable interval, depending on the needs of the project.

Step 6 — Review And Retrospective

At the end of each sprint, the team has produced a coded, tested, and usable piece of software. The sprint review consists of demonstrating the functionality of the software to the product owner and other key roles on the team. The objective is to prove that the sprint goals were (or were not) achieved. Identified changes or bugs can be added to the product backlog and prioritized for the next sprint if desired.

Continuously Improve Your Agile Software Development Process

An important element of the Agile process is continued learning and improvement. This is the spirit of the sprint retrospective. At the end of every sprint, the team reviews what worked well and what could work better. These key learnings are incorporated into future sprints to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Do you follow these steps in your Agile development projects? What is different in your approach? To learn more about the Agile software development process, download this free Ebook from Boston’s leading software development company.

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