Why being agile means working in light of people not in spite of people

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Posted by Brian Borg

Agile empowers teams. It brings the best out of everyone and encourages them to grow alongside the project.

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Unlike other workflow methodologies, agile actively works to bring to light the skills that each team member brings and illuminates how they all fit together. Thanks to its iterative nature, team members get an opportunity to improve with every change.

So, how does agile bring out the best in your teams?

Being agile in the right projects

Agile isn’t infallible. It’s a targeted methodology that won’t work across the business. As much as you’d probably like to use it in every single scenario you’ve got, the methodology just isn’t always suitable.

For some tasks, the old tried and tested waterfall methods actually work better. Those projects are usually less focused on the individuals working on them, and more on the end result.

If you’re producing a product on an assembly line over and over, the agile system wouldn’t bring any benefit. The reason being, creativity isn’t needed. If you’re building something the same way every time, a standardized approach works perfectly well. And, in fact, creating a uniform workflow will probably result in a higher quality end product.

Moreover, since you’re not working in sprints, there’s no need for an incremental feedback process.

Agile empowers team members

Agile thrives in projects where the skills and perspectives of your team take precedence over the tools and processes. It’s one of the four pillars of the agile methodology.

Agile works in light of people because the adaptive nature of the methodology demands adaptive individuals. It also tends to be used in longer projects, and in rather specific places.

Here are some ways that agile brings out the best in your team:

1. It encourages learning

It’s not just the product that’s changing and improving during iterations. Across the entire agile process, learning is highly encouraged to help improve an individual’s skills for the benefit of the team.

Building a culture around learning and improvement helps agile teams meet project demands and makes individuals feel more confident in their roles.

2. It increases creativity

Agile is perfect for efforts like QA testing where the outcome or product isn’t clearly defined. QA is introduced early in the process to anticipate issues and expose gaps in the requirements.

Requirements will surely change over the course of a project and so this allows the team to find creative solutions for problems as they come about. In the end, this results in a higher quality product that is more likely to meet the expectations of the stakeholders.

3. Reflection is key

We’ve noted before that reflection is a critical stage of the agile process. However, we haven’t quite touched on why this is empowering for your teams.

Sprint retrospectives give tangible feedback that team members can take into their next testing project. Once they know where they can improve, and given proper support, they’re more likely to head into their new tasks with renewed motivation and success.

Bring out the best in your team

Agile works to shine the spotlight on what your team can achieve. It showcases their skills and teamwork. But remember, agile isn’t the best choice in every situation. For it to work in light of people, you need projects that value creativity, and where iterations and incremental feedback are necessary.

You can find out more about the agile framework and how teams can work more effectively, over on our blog.

Or if you want to find out more about what we do, get in contact with us today.