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Why agile best practices are human-focused

Posted by Brian Borg on May 16 2022

Agile is first and foremost, about people.

For QA teams, keeping the focus on the human side of agile means working on your communication, mindset and team dynamic.

There’s no standardization or cookie-cutter approach that’s going to work for everyone. That’s why it’s crucial to continually iterate your approach as you get feedback from stakeholders. And placing people above processes is key.

Agile’s best practices, therefore, are human-focused. But first, let’s take a look at what they actually involve.

What are agile best practices?

Communicate face-to-face

Communication builds trust. Without it, your projects aren’t sustainable. For agile teams, communication might take the form of a meeting, or even just a quick conversation with another teammate about a problem on their mind.

Building a culture around honest communication helps you resolve issues quickly. The daily stand-up is a popular component. It allows the entire team to connect and voice any blockers they might have with their work. If issues crop up that will cause delays, it’s better if everyone is aware of them.

Form teams of motivated individuals

Seeing a large project right the way through to the end isn’t always easy. It takes motivation to power through work, solve problems and meet deadlines. And after all that, you might get feedback you weren’t expecting from a client or customer. Forming a team of motivated QA testers means you’ve got the right people on board to ship a quality end product.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development defines the formation of motivated teams in five stages:

  • Forming. This is the initial form stage where the team and structure come together. This is usually where they’ll avoid any conflict.
  • Storming. Organizing tasks and roles. Often this is where leadership starts to emerge.
  • Norming. Teammates settle into their roles. With cohesion in place, shared leadership begins.
  • Performing. The most productive stage. The team is flexible and individuals adapt to each other.
  • Adjourning. With the end of the project in sight, team members tend to disengage from relationships. This is usually where reflection will happen.

Work with the client

The project ends once your stakeholder is happy. Good agile teams are in constant communication and collaboration with their clients. It’s this attentive communication that keeps team members on track and leads to a high-quality end product.

Agile is iterative by nature, so clarifying expectations across all stages of the project with your client is vital to success.

Reflect

You’ve got to make time to reflect on completed projects. The best agile teams hold regular performance checks so they’re always improving.

This contributes to the agile principles of constant evaluation and adaptation. Reflecting on what went wrong helps teams to streamline their process and limit complexity.

It’s about people

There’s a running theme with these practices - they’re all about the people in the team rather than the best processes to use.

Agile practices include constant evaluation so that teams can remain flexible throughout projects and achieve their goals in a more straightforward way. While fancy new tools and automation can aid you in your goals, the human side of agile should remain the most important. That’s where the strength of the methodology lies. The flexibility, ability to adapt and overcome issues.

If you want to learn more about the agile framework and how teams can work more effectively, head over to our blog. Or if you want to find out more about what we do, get in contact with us today.

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