The agile manifesto is a great starting point for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with the agile methodology. The manifesto outlines the 4 values and 12 principles of agile software development and was actually created by a group of software developers in an effort to provide a clear and alternative set of processes for developing software. The agile values include prioritizing:
Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools.
Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation.
Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation.
Responding to Change Over Following a Plan.
A scrum is a daily stand up meeting with the sole focus being to review each team member’s progress on any given project. Scrums help to keep everyone accountable and on the same page, ensuring no one falls too behind or gets too far ahead in the development of a project.
A scrum master oversees the development process and acts as a problem solver for the team; preventing roadblocks and enforcing the agile way of doing things.
A stakeholder refers to anyone with a vested interest in the product. This can be the client, the end user, sales people, legal representatives etc. Stakeholders have an informative role in the development phase, and are critical in defining the project’s requirements.
The backlog is the ever changing list of the software’s requirements. It’s not to be seen as a to do list so much as a prioritized list of desired features of the product provided by the stakeholders.
A user story is an informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the perspective of the end user. Its purpose is to articulate how a software feature will provide value to the customer.
A burndown chart visually measures the progress of a project over time (the vertical axis is made up of the backlog while the horizontal axis represents time). A burnup chart displays completed work (the vertical axis shows the amount done over the horizontal axis, time). These charts are essential to inspiring the team as they work and help provide a realistic time frame for the project’s completion as well as a working scale of the project.
While changes are expected, and certainly embraced in the agile way of doing things, the phrase “feature creep” refers to features that are added after development has begun. Adding too many features during the development phase can result in feature creep and software that is too complicated or difficult to use.
Timeboxing is kind of like time blocking in that it assigns a specific time frame to accomplish a goal. The definitive feature of timeboxing however, is that the work stops at the end of the timebox, instead of when the work is complete. This is extremely helpful in terms of productivity, and controlling the scale of a project.
A sprint is a short development phase usually lasting anywhere from 1 week to a month. Sprints help prevent projects from feeling overwhelming and allows feedback to be given at appropriate junctures.
One of the biggest obstacles to outsourcing is maintaining or implementing an agile development process while collaborating with a vendor. If you’re implementing an agile framework, it is critical your vendor’s team is also committed to the 4 values highlighted above from the agile manifesto.
number8 launched in 2008 when our founder saw how difficult it was to adopt an agile methodology while working with an offshore partner. It has sense been our mission to provide cost-effective outsourcing options to agile companies.
We believe one of the most effective ways to maintain agility while outsourcing is to embrace a staff augmentation model. In this model, remote developers join your internal development teams and work on your schedule. This allows your organization to fill specific skill gaps without changing your internal processes, as well as, implement agile throughout your internal teams and your distributed teams simultaneously.
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