Agile is the new buzz word. But what the agile teams do differently? And more importantly why? Agile is all about breaking your huge projects into smaller chunks and working on these chunks one by one. You create-test-improve on it-test again… thus you are testing what you are doing right way; not waiting till the end to see the results. This is the key differentiator between agile and traditional project management approaches. Let’s see how Basecamp breaks down their work:
● “Each development cycle is six weeks long, with some flexibility over how to adjust depending on priorities and requirements.
● Every feature to be added either goes into a major list (the Big Batch) or a minor feature list (the Small Batch). A single Big Batch feature may last the entire six week cycle while 4–8 Small Batch features are tackled during the six week cycle.
● Each team is made up of either 2 people (1 programmer + 1 designer), or 3 people ( 2 programmers + 1 designer). Never more than that. This way teams stay clear of complexity.
● People elaborate on ideas for features in the form of extensive pitches before the cycle begins and which pitch is selected for the lists depends on Jason (CEO), David (CTO) and Ryan (Strategy).
● Before each cycle begins, all pre-planning is as detailed as possible and tries to scrutinize every aspect of the project. Between each cycle the team teams take a 1–2 week break to recalibrate and work on future strategy.”
Now probably it’s clear what I meant by breaking down your projects into smaller chunks.
Let’s head to why to adopt agile? I can give you ample reasons for that but lets first have a look at this storyboard.
Did you realized how Helen’s approach of testing her question set before proceeding with the quiz gave Frank an opportunity to add meaningful insights to improve the questionnaire. As a result it served as a better measure to understand the candidate’s competence.
Thus validating your work at each step allows you to understand where you are failing, without much wasted efforts. And that’s the key to motivation to go agile. To name the list of benefits I would say Agile methodology gives you quick results, minimizes rework, helps with optimizing resource and time requirement planning, inculcates self managing skills among team members and fosters teamwork. Opting for agile is good but implementing it right is equally important. To understand deeply read this tale of two scrums: AGILE DONE RIGHT AND AGILE GONE WRONG.
Agile is an iterative framework that stands on 3 pillars: Effective Collaboration, Continuous Testing, Development and delivery in short sprints. Development and testing is not performed in one go when it come to agile teams. Thus keeping a track of issues across sprints is necessary to prevent getting lost into the cycle of thoughts like: what issues were fixed in previous sprint? Which issues are carried forward? What are the new issues? etc. Manually tracking issues this way can be cumbersome. The best option is to go with an Issue tracking tool. Let’s investigate deeper how issue tracking tools support agile and sustainable development.
With agile you develop quickly so that you can fail quickly if you are not on right track. For this filing and tracking issues should be swift. If we will waste time in filing issues then we might need to compromise on finding and resolving issues which is quite undesirable.
As stated here “Software project management tools sound great in theory, but in practical are too complicated to use with non-tech savvy clients. With these tools time and money are wasted on training and the bugs are lost or forgotten.” An issue tracking system clears the jargon and maintains all to do work items, as issues that need to be resolved. It clearly mentions priority, status, reporter and assignee thus making it easy to track.
To avoid spilling off and to escape any probability of missing out anything its best to collate everything at one place. Of course, with proper tagging. This acts as a go to reference, each time you have any doubt or you are stuck. The central repository fits the agile needs as you can stack and track everything at one place. Thus, cutting the hassle of hopping from one platform to other.
Teamwork is necessary to harness the expertise of all team members well. In agile framework it gets even more important as you need to accomplish tasks in short time spans. Effective collaboration and communication fosters teamwork. The Issue tracking systems let you add desired team members as collaborators to any issue and the collaborators are notified for any updates on their tasks, seeking their immediate attention.
Stakeholder engagement is a concern for all agile teams. As they have tight timelines. And making the clients and other stakeholders respond to their requests within those schedules is a next level challenge. Issue tracking tools allow for permissions such that clients can see some specific issues that broadly define project performance and status at the same time hiding the internal tasks that the team is working on. This keeps the external stakeholders in the loop with minimal efforts.
Issue tracking systems can be broadly differentiated in terms of level of customization allowed, third party integrations it supports, number of collaborators it allows, technology, pricing, etc. But you need to choose the right issue tracking system based on your team size, standard workflow and your team structure. So it’s time to part from mails, excel spreadsheets, paper notes etc to manage issues. The time and effort you save with an issue tracking system will help you deliver better and faster.