Effective project management in today's corporate space is critical for business success. Agile workflow cycle is an effective project management methodology used by companies to optimize how projects are run and completed. Here is a complete guide to agile workflow and how to implement it in a business.
What Is Agile Workflow?
Agile is a project management methodology used to manage projects in busy business environments. Agile workflow is based on the principle of delivering the highest value to the customer in the shortest time possible. As such, in an agile workflow model, a project is subdivided and completed in small, manageable chunks known as sprints. Every team member understands their task and how it correlates with the bigger agile process flow. Typically, each sprint lasts for two weeks, after which it is assessed to deliberate on what was accomplished and what needs to be done in the next sprint. This way, all stakeholders can spot problems and come up with solutions in a timely, continuous, and efficient way.
Steps of an Efficient Agile Workflow Cycle
The agile project management workflow implementation can be subdivided into a series of steps that coherently work together to drive optimal project output. The steps capture activities such as the creation of a cross-functional team and establishing reliable communication and collaboration mechanisms. By following these steps, a company can successfully implement agile methodology in its project management efforts.
The conception stage
Understood as the initial stage of the agile cycle, this step is the most important as it sets the ground for the rest of the process. The team develops a shared understanding of the problem to be tackled and the proposed solution. This shared understanding is captured in the form of user stories in order to define the scope of the project in the best way possible. After brainstorming and bringing everyone on the same page, the team embarks on developing a backlog and goes on to define the various sprints that will culminate in the eventual completion of the project.
The inception stage
After discussing key takeaways of the project and envisioning the entire agile project management process, this second stage involves creating the sprint team that will be in charge of completing sprints. This is followed by assigning the teams their respective work. To make this possible, leaders define the project requirements, roadmap, and all features that will build the final product. The working environment of the entire agile process flow is also set in this stage.
The iteration stage
With everything set and understood by all stakeholders, the team starts to work on each sprint. This is a highly dynamic involvement that involves consuming the items deliberated in the backlog. The team has to complete every task with a view of the larger agile development process in mind.
The release phase
At the end of each sprint, the developed features are released to the customers in order to get their feedback. The team takes this feedback and incorporates it into the product development within the sprint before proceeding to the next sprint. The team also tests as many times as possible to ensure that everything is in order as per the customer feedback. This goes on until all sprints are completed to bring forth a final product of the agile development workflow.
The production stage
By this stage, the product is usually fine-tuned to the customer's satisfaction, and all documentation regarding the product is done. The team can then proceed to launch the product and issue any support to the client to give them an easy adaptation period. The production is overseen by multiple departments within the company, but the main agile team is usually on high alert throughout to provide support and answer any questions that may arise.
The retirement stage
The retirement stage comes after a successful launch of the project. Only then is the agile development workflow process said to be finalized. At this juncture, the team can now transition to the next project.
What is the Workflow in Scrum?
For a team to successfully view the agile development process and craft it, they have to hold a series of meetings. Also, they have to complete multiple activities using various tools. This includes creating cumulative flow charts as the project progresses. The combination of all these elements is known as scrum workflow. In a scrum workflow, all stakeholders involved in the development understand their roles and how it relates to the wider agile software development cycle. When done right, scrum workflow ensures continuous increment of value from the owner of the product to the actual development team.
How do You Implement Agile in Industry?
The modern business space compels businesses to look for methods to streamline their production process in order to sideline competitors. In this context, many industries have switched from traditional project management methods to agile development workflow. These industries include the engineering and pharmaceutical industries. For example, the pharmaceutical industry needs to balance many processes like approvals, documentation, and a series of standardization rules. Firms use the agile process flow to streamline these activities as well as fetch feedback from their customer base and incorporate it into the production. Below is how every company needs to view and implement agile development methodology.
Scaling down the size of the project
However huge a project might be, the most desirable results are achieved when the project is subdivided into smaller, more achievable segments. Typically, the team needs to view the agile development process in its entirety before subdividing the work into a maximum of 6 sprints. It is prudent to embrace this model even if you encounter mistakes as an effort to encourage a learning environment as well as collaboration and innovation.
Dwell on strong, healthy, and prioritized requirements
With the traditional method of project management, certain employees may end up spending too much time working on a section, such as documentation. Such uncontrolled behavior may delay the delivery of the product and cause customer dissatisfaction.
On the other hand, agile workflow requires the company to come up with more specific, prioritized requirements that touch on multiple departments. These requirements and constant, cumulative flow charts concentrate on breaking down complex work by prioritizing the deliverables within the scope. Each deliberated deliverable is executed as a whole, with its documentation, in order save time.
Improve communication tools
Communication is one of the key elements of the successful completion of projects. Leaders should work hard to implement communication tools that foster collaboration, transparency, and integration with other tools used in the agile production process. Good communication tools also provide audit functionalities for both the delivery and roadmap planning to ensure growth and evolution.
Continuous integration and quality assurance
Integrations and cumulative flow charts help the employees working on various sprints to view agile development process more clearly. This enables them to complete sprints with ease and merge their tasks with the bigger picture. As the business space continues to evolve, so should the integrations of the employee's leverage. Similarly, quality assurance helps in ensuring the completeness and functionality of products according to the taste of the customer base.
Agile project management is a proven and highly efficient method of managing and completing projects. Agile software development is probably the biggest use case of agile workflow, but other industries use it as well. Preparing an agile workflow helps to focus on value addition, timeliness, and incorporating customer feedback in the entire process.