Learn about how agile has more than a dozen actively used practices so you can flex and adapt your agile practices.
- I come from a very large family. I have more than 60 first cousins. While we're all unique in our own way, we share certain characteristics that make us recognizable as a family; hair color, eye color, height, and so on. The same is true for Agile. It's a family of more than a dozen actively used practices. Some are more commonly used than others, so we'll spend most of our time talking about those, but it's incredibly useful to understand a little bit about several of them.
Knowing something about these Agile family members, will enable you to flex and adapt your Agile practices when you need to based on whatever situation you face. Let's start with the most common practices, Scrum and Extreme Programming, XP for short. Scrum is probably the most commonly practiced methodology out there. It's based on three pillars. The pillars are: transparency, provide visibility to the people responsible for he outcome.
An example of this is the Definition of Done for stories. Inspection, regularly assess how you're doing in relation to your stated goals. Adaptation, change the team's processes to minimize issues when you're trending in the wrong direction. One key element to Scrum, is that it's pretty much an out of the box methodology. There are key roles and activities that teams need to use until they have some experience.
Scrum teams work in short, time-boxed iterations known as sprints. The roles every Scrum team needs are: the product owner, your business representative on the team, whose focus is to maximize the value delivered in each and every sprint. The Scrum master, your process owner whose responsible for ensuring that the Scrum methodology is followed and applied effectively. The development team, the group of professionals working together to meet the goal of the project.
In practice, Scrum follows a repeatable set of activities, or ceremonies, every sprint. By doing so, it has guard rails that help teams effectively apply its practices. The essential activities for all Scrum teams include backlog refinement or grooming, meetings where everyone gathers to discuss new or changed items in the backlog. Sprint planning meetings where everyone gets together to discuss the work items that will be committed to for an upcoming sprint.
Daily Scrum, or standup meeting where all the team members report on what they did the previous day, what they'll do today, and ask for help when they're stuck. Sprint review meeting where the development team, the PO, and Scrum master meet to demo what's been accomplished in the current sprint. Sprint retrospective meeting, where the team assesses themselves for the effectiveness and efficiency of their Scrum practices. They also decide here what can and should be changed to help them improve as a unit.
All Scrum teams also produce the same set of tangible documents that are used to guide the team throughout the project. These are the product backlog, which is a defined set of the work items needed to be done to deliver the full valuable product, the Sprint backlog, which is a set of the work to be completed in a single Sprint and is therefore, a subset of the product backlog and represents the highest value items first whenever possible.
Finally, a product increment is a portion of the overall product being developed and can be released on its own in order to deliver incremental value to customers. Scrum has a lot of structure around it so that teams can follow a predefined process with a known set of activities and artifacts. By following these guidelines, teams can achieve success earlier in the project, ensuring the overall success of their product.
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- Agile principles and the agile mindset
- Defining valuable deliverables
- Engaging your stakeholders
- Collaborating across stakeholders
- Planning agile projects
- Troubleshooting projects
- Continuous improvement