Agile Frameworks: learn how they work in practice
Think of several trucks, really heavy and full of goods, traveling slow on a road.
This is still the picture of many companies, that even when successful, do not move with promptness. Agile Frameworks help the business team experience an Agile mindset in practice.
With Agile Frameworks, business processes become more dynamic, staggering business values and productivity. Knowing each one of them separately and combining them with other specific approaches allows you to extract the best from each solution.
5 Most used Agile Frameworks
Uses stages or development cycles – called sprints – that allow quality in deliveries and possibility of requirements changing throughout the process. The framework is built on well-defined pillars and roles: customers become part of the development team and can validate or redefine deliveries. Therefore, the risks are better worked and reduced, as progress and delays are monitored.
Principles of Scrum
- Transparency – all information and activities developed by the development team must be available to the team;
- Inspection – activities are monitored, prioritized and evaluated periodically – in daily meetings – making possible to attest to the quality and development;
- Tailoring – after inspection, activities are refined and adjusted so that there are no problems. Feedback meetings (review and retro) are held to evaluate the changeable points and the way to be followed in new sprints (plannings), which guarantees better prioritization and reduction of gaps.
- Scrum Master (SM) – the person who monitors the processes or activities of the team, controlling deadlines and verifying if there is any holdback to the accomplishment;
- Product Owner (PO) – the team person responsible for the project and who represents the clients/stakeholders. Answers for the business;
- Development Team (DT) – a multifunctional group or team responsible for analyzing, developing, implementing and testing the product/service.
Where to apply
Scrum is highly applicable to define priorities in processes and optimize management development in different segments – Consulting, Technology, HR, Telecommunications, Marketing, Engineering, Insurance, Health, among others.
A tool first introduced to give an overview of the tasks flow performed on the Toyota Production System assembly lines: the goal is that all work to be performed be seen by the team, with the activities divided and directed to each person in charge, complying with a “to do”, “in process” (WIP) and “done” process.
Kanban, a Japanese word meaning “registration or visible sign,” is great for identifying bottlenecks and waste, since it allows strong assimilation of information by the team. With its management always in sight, communication and integration increase, waiting time is reduced and efficiency is guaranteed.
Principles of Kanban
- Spot management: the phases of the product or service are clearly identified (value chain view);
- Adaptive Development: what has value is delivered beforehand, when working prioritization;
- Work stages: the process can be measured and controlled, enabling continuous improvement.
Where to apply
Kanban is an Agile Methodology framework that is highly applicable to support the hiring of employees by HR companies; in the financial management of all segments of the company; in the potentiation of Marketing strategies; optimizing IT processes and increasing production in industries.
Extreme Programming (XP)
To ensure valuable software projects, it takes to the extreme a set of practices such as testing, reviewing, developing, integrating, simplifying and performing short iterations. This framework ensures efficiency by anticipating the necessary changes to reduce costs after the product life cycle: it is validated by the customer during its development. Thus, both the developer’s team and the business owner must be in tune for feedback to be more assertive.
Principles of XP
- Communication – clarity and confidence, resulting from the personal conversation between the work team and the client, with the elimination of documents. User stories, on-site clients (CCC), peer programming, planning poker are some of the most effective techniques for brainstorming and prioritization;
- Simplicity – develop only what will be used, discarding complex commands;
- Feedback – Also widely used in Scrum, through daily meetings (dailies), retrospectives, and product reviews. In XP it is a precursor and guarantees the customer, through automated and constant tests (short iterations, increments and releases), if the developed product still works and meets the deadline;
- Courage – the client must be aware of all the mishaps, the positives and negatives, and the need for paradigm shifts and breaks. Therefore, it is important to have the courage to show transparency, without disguising the problems that may arise;
- Coach – the person responsible for ensuring that the team follows, in practice, all the values (principles) of XP. Helps the team implement the framework and monitors all processes.
Where to apply
XP is well applied in large companies, that handle considerable database. Engineering companies with HR and PD management process XP well on their payroll, for example.
Promotes the constant improvement of processes, making use of the following actions: Plan, Conduct, Check and Act. Working continuously, the PDCA cycle aims to plan the changes, put them into practice, check if they have the desired effect and, if so, implement them. When the outcome differs from the idealized, it is possible to understand the motives, correct possible gaps in increments, and align new goals.
Principles of the PDCA
- Planning – the mission, tools and objectives necessary to achieve the expected result are established;
- Do – at which time the activities related to the planning are executed;
- Control – monitor and validate processes;
- Action – Act as validated on verification, and if necessary, determine new increments to correct failures and improve product quality
When valuing contact with real customers, the framework validates or eliminates the product, reducing waste in the long term. By working lean and developing minimally viable products (MVP prototypes), possible failures are corrected in time for rebuilding, now with new increments.
Principles of Lean Startup:
- Build – create a prototype of a product that is simple and meets basic needs
- Measure – validate, with a select group of personas similar to the final customers, if the product is adequate to the planned
- Learn – build metrics to justify continuing the project, incrementing it, or restarting.
Where to apply
Different segments can benefit from Lean Startup. This framework is widely used by entrepreneurs to develop products and markets, expanding their applicability beyond the high-tech niche
Implementing Agile requires corporate mindset change:
It is worth emphasizing that, for a company to become Agile, it first requires a change of managers’ mindset: the organizational structure must be realigned, based on actions in stages and focused on collaboration.
The next step, to start new value projects, is to know which framework is most appropriate and to use them in conjunction with other methodologies, such as Design Thinking, Sprint Design and Lean. Remember the effort of the trucks, quoted at the beginning of the post? With leaner and lighter vehicles transporting the products, more deliveries will be made.