Agile is commonly referred to as a project management methodology. It is one of the most popular trends in the software industry as it re-structures the development process. People from across disciplines such as team management and engineering follow Agile methodologies to improve their productivity.
The basic idea behind agile is that you should focus on delivering value to your customers by working in small iterations. The developers work with customers to understand the requirements, build prototypes, test them, and then deliver the final product. This approach helps teams to be more responsive to changing market conditions and also reduces the risk of overspending or underspending.
But what about the impact on the project? How does it affect the quality of the product? Does it really improve the quality of software development?
According to a study by the University of California at Berkeley, the answer is yes! The report found that Agile methods are more effective than traditional methods for improving quality and reducing defects.
Research has also shown that the Agile method is conducive in various ways:
1. It improves the team’s qualifications, sense of belonging and new challenges;
2. It increases the amount of internal and external communication (about 2x);
3. It improves the stakeholders’ satisfaction.
People confuse Agile with Scrum all the time, which is understandable, because they both depend on an iterative process, frequent customer interaction and collaborative decision-making.
Agile is an umbrella term that encapsulates the core value of the project management philosophy, while scrum is an empirical process of Agile that aims to facilitate the ongoing development of a project.
1. It offers an alternative approach to the conventional product management processes.
2. It empowers the development team to cope with rapid changes.
3. It is used across various fields nowadays.
1. Scrum is an Agile process.
2. Scrum comprises multiple sprints with smaller and more manageable deliverables.
3. The main roles involved include the product owner that defines requirements, the development team that fulfills the requests, and the scrum master that makes sure the team stays on track and follows the Scrum framework.
There are four types of Agile meetings:
1. Sprint Planning
2. Daily Scrum
3. Sprint Review
4. Sprint Retrospective
Meeting templates help teams stick to the point during the fast-paced meeting sessions, instead of getting lost in the jungle of ideas and agendas; form specific and actionable plans, and foster conducive collaborations and communications.
Here we introduce some useful Agile meeting templates for you, whether you are new to the Agile processes or you have been immersed in it for a decent amount of time, these templates will help you boost your team's productivity by making sure the discussions stay on task.
The sprint planning meeting is held at the beginning of each sprint. During the sprint review, the team discusses the details of the completed sprint. They also discuss the next steps for the upcoming sprint. The scrum team attends this meeting to clarify the goals and prioritize product backlog items for this sprint, as well as review the output from the sprint review and sprint retrospective in the last sprint session. The action items and tasks are then distributed to designated assignees.
Daily scrum meeting, also referred to as Daily Standup, is to keep the entire Agile team aligned on the objectives. By sharing their workload and difficulties they encounter, the team can thus collaboratively solve any issues. The daily scrum is an essential part of agile software development. It’s a time for teams to come together and share what they are working on. The daily scrum helps teams stay focused and keep track of progress.
Individuals usually use Daily scrum to review yesterday’s work or roadblocks and plan for the rest of the day accordingly. It is highly recommended that the team has this meeting once every day in the morning, and should try to keep each session under 15 - 30 minutes. Because of this time-boxed characteristic, the Scrum Master needs to make sure the discussions don't go on a tangent.
A sprint review meeting usually occurs at the end of each sprint cycle, the purpose of such meetings is to demonstrate what the team has achieved during this sprint and plan to include in the next one. Stakeholders from outside of your team are welcome to join to make sure you gather invaluable feedback from cross-functional participants.
In a sprint retrospective meeting, the team gathers to assess what went well or wrong during the last sprint and how they can fix the problems for the next sprint.
Sprint retrospective cannot be replaced by Sprint Review, because they serve different purposes in the scrum process. Sprint review focuses on the maximum commercialization of the product, while sprint retrospective revolves around making continual process improvements.
Agile is not a specific method, but rather an umbrella that encompasses some vital principles. As the manifesto states:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
What we can learn from these lines is that the top priority of any project is to deliver working products to customers promptly and improve the product in the iterative process. The collaborative models or working habits might vary in every team, but improving customer satisfaction should stay at the top of the to-do list and embrace the change of plans.
Just as the meeting templates mentioned above, there are no one-fits-all templates or plans tailored for all Agile teams. However, it provides a framework and a reminder of what the center of discussions should be. It is a facilitator for you and your team's work than a mere formality that impedes you from doing what is most contributory to the ultimate goals.