What is an agile methodology?
Agile methodologies involve short phases of collaborative and interactive work with frequent testing and improvements. Some of these phases and tasks are developed simultaneously with others. Team members are responsible for managing their own work. Agile focuses on flexibility, adaptability, and continuous delivery of value to the customer.
An example of such methodologies includes Scrum and Kanban. Previously, we wrote an article about the Scrum methodology, explaining what it is, its benefits, and some tools that can help you implement it. You can read the article here (https://www.bluepixel.mx/post/what-is-scrum-and-why-should-you-consider-it-for-your-projects).
What is an agile team?
An Agile team is one that works together to achieve common goals using approaches and practices of this methodology. For this type of team, it is extremely important to foster effective communication, collaboration, and self-management to achieve continuous improvement and adapt quickly to changes, project requirements, or customer needs.
An Agile team should have some of these characteristics to function effectively.
It is essential for team members to work together rather than being divided into strict roles and tasks. This also applies to the decision-making process and communication because decision-making should involve all team members.
This methodology is based on the idea that team members can manage their work when tasks are assigned to them, giving them the opportunity to work more autonomously and take responsibility for planning, organizing, and executing their work.
Iterative and Incremental
Regarding the iterative aspect of this approach, it refers to developing work through time cycles, each dedicated to completing a specific objective. The incremental part means that the project is developed in small functional parts, rather than attempting to develop the entire product all at once.
Due to Agile's focus, the team's ability to adapt to customer and project needs is of utmost importance. This is because, after each iteration, feedback is given, so the team may need to change its focus and planning.
The customer is always a priority in this methodology because they are the most interested party in the development of a project. Therefore, their needs and satisfaction must be the team's priority and center of attention.
For teamwork and communication with the customer to function effectively, it is necessary to consider sharing information openly and clearly with all those involved in the project. This helps facilitate effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making.
Focus on QualityIt
focuses on ensuring that the final product meets quality standards and customer expectations. With this methodology, quality is checked throughout the project, not just at the end. It is also a shared responsibility among the entire team.
Tips to Boost Teamwork
Teamwork is essential for the success of any Agile project, and effective collaboration between designers and programmers is particularly crucial. Here are 10 tips to boost teamwork between designers and programmers in an Agile environment:
As mentioned earlier, communication among team members is crucial. We recommend using online communication tools through applications like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord to make communication fast and efficient. As for meetings, their names may vary depending on the methodology. Here, we'll tell you more about them.
Daily Stand-up Meetings
Also called daily stand-ups, these are short daily meetings where team members share updates on the progress of their activities, what they did the day before, what they will do that day, and if they have any impediments. The purpose is to coordinate work.
At the beginning of each sprint, the team should meet to plan and decide which tasks to address during that period, as well as how they will be distributed among team members.
At the end of each sprint, a review meeting should be held for the team to present what they achieved during the sprint and gather feedback from the Product Owner and stakeholders.
At the end of each sprint, a retrospective meeting should also be held to reflect on the previous sprint, identify what worked well, and what can be improved in the next sprint.
Use of ToolsAgile
Teams often use Kanban boards and other collaboration tools to visualize workflow, tasks, and project progress, serving as excellent communication tools among team members.
Types of Communication
Agile also maintains informal and quick communication channels, such as chats, phone calls, face-to-face interactions, and any other means necessary to solve problems, ask questions, share ideas, and more.
Set Clear Goals
In Agile, it is crucial that goals drive you in a clear direction and have a shared purpose that serves as a guide for the team's work. We recommend setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).
Types of Objectives and Their Characteristics
In Agile, goals should follow the SMART acronym, meaning that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and have a defined timeframe for achievement. This way, all team members have a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved and when it should be achieved.
Break Down Large Goals into Smaller Ones
Break down any large or complex goals into specific, smaller, and manageable tasks, so they can be addressed incrementally with frequent deliveries.
Make Them Achievable but Challenging
Goals should be realistic but also challenging to motivate your team. This way, your team won't work towards unattainable goals that can cause frustration and, at the same time, won't be too easy to avoid high performance.
This methodology seeks to prioritize goals based on the value they bring to the customer and their importance. This allows the team to focus on what is most important and maximize the value delivered in each iteration.
Review and Adjust Goals as Necessary
Due to different iterations and meetings, goals can change as new information is obtained or project needs change.
GoalsMake sure that goals are communicated clearly and comprehensibly to the entire team, ensuring that everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives.
Involve All Stakeholders
It's important that stakeholders are involved in setting goals, in addition to the team. Key stakeholders, such as the Product Owner, should be involved to ensure alignment with customer needs and expectations.
Joint Planning Meetings
Joint planning meetings are of great importance for designers and programmers to define tasks and requirements together. This helps mutual understanding and ensures that all team members are on the same page from the start.
Parts of Meetings
Selection of Backlog Items
Start by reviewing the product backlog, which is a prioritized list of all the tasks to be addressed in the project. During this process, the team discusses the items, clarifies requirements, and asks questions to gain a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved. It is a preparation of the selected backlog items to be worked on during that sprint.
This is when the team and the product owner work together to select a set of items to be addressed in the upcoming sprint. Similarly, the team estimates the effort required for each item. They also need to identify the tasks and activities needed to achieve the objectives and define what is expected to be completed during that period. These meetings should encourage team member participation, transparency, communication, and collaboration.
Collaboration in Design
Within Agile development, it is essential to maintain contact within the team so that multidisciplinary collaboration can help create effective and satisfactory solutions. Involving developers or programmers in the early stages of design allows for an understanding of needs and limitations that may exist when implementing the executed design, ultimately leading to an innovative and successful product.
Importance of Multidisciplinary Teams
Having different roles means having various individuals with different skills and experiences that can complement each other. This leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the problem and its possible solutions.
Continuous Review and Feedback
Collaboration in design involves sharing work in progress with the team and obtaining continuous feedback. All team members can offer comments and suggestions to improve the design, allowing for agile iteration and adjustment.
Open and Transparent Communication
Collaboration in design is based on open and transparent communication among all team members. Transparency in the design process ensures that everyone is aligned and working toward the same goal.
Adopt an iterative approach in design. Provide prototypes and initial designs to programmers and seek their early feedback. This helps identify potential issues or technical challenges before investing too much time in development.
Iterative Design Key Aspects
Iterative design involves completing design in repetitive cycles, known as iterations. Each iteration addresses a specific set of features or functionalities.
In each iteration, the design team creates a prototype or product version that includes the most important features. These incremental deliveries allow for early feedback from customers or actual users and further improvements in future iterations.
Continuous Learning and Improvement
Iterative design encourages a culture of continuous learning. Each iteration provides an opportunity to reflect on what worked well and what can be improved, resulting in stronger and more effective future iterations.
Prototypes and Testing
In iterative design, rapid prototypes are created to test concepts and functionalities before investing time and resources in full development. Testing with real users helps validate the design and gather valuable insights for iteration and improvement.
It is crucial to foster an environment of constructive and respectful feedback between both roles to ensure that feedback is productive and encourages the development of the highest-quality product.
Sharing Tools and ResourcesIt
Should be noted that both tools and resources should be shared among team members to eliminate barriers and create a more integrated and collaborative work environment. Here are some tips to achieve this:
There should be a collaboration platform where both teams can access, share documents, files, and tools.
Creating a shared component library containing reusable design and code elements is recommended to facilitate consistency and efficiency in work.
Design and Code Review Tools
Tools that allow both teams to review and comment on design and code should be implemented to enable continuous improvement.
Shared Testing Environments
Testing environments should be accessible to both teams so that they can jointly test and validate the developed parts.
As you can see, these tips are crucial for making the Agile methodology work within your company. You can have such teams in your project if you hire our services. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your details by clicking here.