What is an Agile workflow? (With benefits and tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 14 November 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Today's dynamic work environment requires companies and organisations to establish processes that are efficient, adaptable and easily monitored for continuous improvement. An easy way to do this is to take an Agile approach to workflow for completing work, managing projects and delivering products and services. Learning about the Agile methodology can help you determine whether it's beneficial to the business. In this article, we explain the Agile approach, discuss its benefits and provide tips for assembling an Agile workflow.
What is an Agile workflow?
An Agile workflow refers to completing a project in sprints, with multiple professionals performing separate tasks to finish the entire project. This approach has several stages, including concept, inception, construction, iteration, release and production, which outline how a project moves from one stage to the next. The Agile methodology is flexible, allowing project managers to respond to changes occurring during project development. This is because, unlike traditional workflow that follows a linear and sequential approach, the Agile method focuses on continuously delivering small pieces of work to clients and receiving feedback.
Benefits of an Agile approach to workflow
Here are seven benefits of an Agile approach to workflow:
1. Improved workflow
In the Agile methodology, testing isn't a single designated stage. It's integrated into almost every step of the product development process, allowing professionals to inspect the working of a product regularly. This ensures project managers easily understand the evolution of a product through various phases, which improves quality. With Agile processes, you find issues and apply solutions consistently over time instead of all at once.
2. Clear visibility
The Agile approach to workflow ensures visibility throughout the entire life-cycle of a product. This is because you test products at every stage to better understand how they grow and change at every stage. Share this information with key stakeholders and teammates to maintain clear visibility with everyone involved in the project. This can improve your project's success.
3. Early detection
Since you get to test a product's output in every single stage of development, you quickly identify errors and bugs with your product. This helps you and your team find viable solutions to fix issues in the early stages instead of dragging the problem throughout the product's life cycle. Early detection and rectification of issues save you and your team time, money and resources. It also allows the client to review the product and suggest any improvements or views.
4. Continuous feedback and improvement
The beauty of the Agile approach to workflow is that it focuses on continuously delivering small pieces of work to clients so they provide feedback. This constant involvement allows product owners to offer suggestions on improvements and changes that meet their expectations. Business developers normally use this feedback to achieve great customer satisfaction. If you want to ensure your client is happy with their product, consider using the Agile approach to include them in a product's development process.
5. Developer-friendly approach
Some find the Agile product methodology can be more fun to work with when compared to the traditional product development process. It encourages collaboration and the active involvement of all development teams that are part of a project. Instead of teams working sequentially to achieve a single goal, they work independently on specific tasks they specialise in to complete the entire project. They also process multiple procedures simultaneously and share their progress and updates through discussions, meetings and questionnaires. This constant interaction makes working on a project fun for everyone.
6. Ultimate transparency in work
In Agile development, the product owner has unlimited access to the entire life cycle of the project, from its inception to completion. They review each output to implement recent changes and request product updates at every phase to gain a better understanding of their product. This level of transparency significantly boosts the developer's business, as it builds respect and confidence.
7. On-time delivery
The Agile approach to work has set deadlines that team members can meet to ensure project success. Even when continuously delivering small tasks to the client or consumers, they still adhere to deadlines to achieve shared outcomes. This ability to provide small deliverables as team members complete them ensures the project stays on track for on-time delivery.
Tips for assembling an Agile methodology
Here are some useful tips to help you assemble an Agile approach to workflow:
Embrace continuous improvement
Embracing continuous improvement in an Agile environment is crucial to making your project progress better and better throughout its life cycle. This means running regular experiments and implementing frequent loops and learning cycles. For example, if there's a bug or issue inside your workflow that's delaying your project, take time to identify the root cause and test a potential solution. Be sure to measure the results and implement that solution if it's successful. When you regularly reflect on your process and identify improvement areas, you increase product quality and customer satisfaction.
Analyse your workflow efficiency
Analysing your Agile product development process is an integral part of Agile project management. It ensures effective collaboration and teamwork, while guaranteeing your project stays on track at every stage. An easy way to analyse workflow efficiency is to hold frequent meetings and discussions to act as reflection points. During these meetings, ask team members to share updates and progress and discuss potential improvements. Teams may also discuss everything that has occurred since the last meeting and measure their work process efficiency to find areas of improvement.
Reduce the batch size of work items
When executing projects using the Agile methodology, work in small batches rather than large batches. This enables frequent and continuous delivery of tasks for feedback and improvement. Reduce your batch sizes to ensure team members deliver tasks throughout the development process to guarantee timely customer delivery. Ensure the batch sizes aren't extremely small as they won't produce value in the development process. The goal is to find a compromise and determine the smallest work possible you deliver to your client for examination.
Implement Agile monitoring practices
Since teams in the Agile methodology work independently to contribute to a project, monitoring progress for continuous improvement can be challenging. An easy way to overcome this is to implement Agile monitoring practices that contribute to effective collaboration. You can do this in three ways:
1. Sync progress daily
Conduct daily stand-up meetings where team members meet to discuss their progress and share updates. These meetings give everyone involved in the development process an idea of who's working on what and how the team is tracking against the plan. It also eliminates confusion and ensures everyone agrees regarding the project. As a general rule, keep your daily meeting brief, such as limited to 15 minutes. The idea is to sync progress quickly, allowing team members to return to their work.
2. Track and measure flow metrics
Tracking and measuring flow metrics are key to a stable process and predictable project delivery. Track and measure metrics, such as cycle time and work in progress (WIP), during the product development process. There are various software tools and applications to track these flow metrics to give realistic forecasts for project delivery to your customers.
3. Engage in frequent reviews
If you want to detect bugs and rectify issues early, engage in frequent product reviews throughout the product development process. Hold meetings weekly or bi-weekly to get feedback from team members and clients. Allow everyone to reflect on all the deliverables released to the customer and make suggestions or changes to improve the overall quality of the product.
Plan out steps
The planning phase is a key aspect of Agile product development. It gives the entire project structure and ensures team members know their responsibilities in completing the project. Plan out your steps on multiple organisational levels rather than have one big planning phase. Start from the strategic initiatives and move down to individual tasks to spread out your project's course and plan throughout the development process. Once you release a deliverable to a client, start the planning process again.
Estimate the time for each step
After your team develops a plan for every workflow stage, estimate the time required to complete each step. These time estimations help your team stay on schedule for on-time project delivery. Don't be too rigid with the timelines, as Agile procedures are quite flexible.
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