Why would I develop my software the Agile way and where should I start?
In the world of software development, and since the last couple of years also in other management practices, the Agile methodology has been taking ground. More and more companies and departments see the benefit of Agile and scrum, but what is exactly the major strength of this method and where should you start?
During the Talk About IT event in Amsterdam on May 24th, Peter Hilton and Michael Franken shared their view on how to go about this way of managing teams and projects. Hugo Messer, organizer of Talk About IT, shortly got the chance to speak to the two experts in person. Peter Hilton explained the three major benefits of Scrum:
- Transparency. Scrum gives you ways to expose what is going on, to expose the situation, the progress and… to expose the problems. Transparency can be a big shock to organizations but it is very liberating.
- Action. Since you are now better able to pinpoint the bottlenecks and problems, you can actually do something about it.
- Results. If the problems are being dealt with, the development process will improve.
Scrum itself does not solve the problems but it gives you a way to discover the problems so you can solve them yourself. Hilton foresees that not everyone will be using scrum in the near future because there are lots of reasons why some people cannot, but it will definitely increase the success of many more software projects.
Okay, these advantages are clear to me, but then what? Michael Franken explains the three most important basics before implementing scrum.
- Product Ownership. Most IT projects won’t fail because of technical reasons but they have problems understanding the business case. It is very important that there is someone who represents the business, who understands the business from head to tail. He/she is the one who gets angry if the project will not happen.
- The team. Architecture is very important, but it is more a tool to keep on going. The people in the development team need to communicate with the product owner to find out the purpose of the project without having to spend hours and hours of writing documents. Give them the space like the top football players get; loads of freedom, luxury and comfort but only if you work hard, show up on the training and polish your shoes.
- Go live fast. Go live fast to get feedback from the market. Stop fine-tuning and thinking about how to optimize applications and features of which you don’t know exactly what they will do anyway. Instead, let the response come from the market and you never know what happens. Take For example Twitter. They went live without having many features, but once live it got used in a way that nobody expected. The same is possible for an insurance agency. A goal is important but don’t block the freedom for users to use the product in the way they would like to.