Whether you have just started using Agile or have been doing it for years, there are no guarantees that your process is flawless. With a methodology as vaguely described as Agile many teams find themselves repeating mistakes of the past and still lagging in their process or wasting efforts. However, just like with everything else in life, we are here to learn from those mistakes and thus give you 5 rules to ensure you stay on the right path.
1. Do not design, do.
While most teams simply cannot do without an initial idea and a sketch of what the final result will look like, many forget that with Agile that is all they have to do. Instead of focusing time and efforts on the perfect design, the team should simply start working on the product and perfect it along the way. The Agile process is created exactly for that and will allow to find the best design not only for the team, but for the customers and other involved parties.
2. Do not micromanage, lead.
After switching to Agile, the change has to be made not only within the organizational process, but also within the mindset. While the team adopts to changes sooner or later, most companies face problems with the managers. They are usually used to being responsible and somewhat controlling of the team results and in order to keep that feeling in Agile, turn to micromanagement. This, however, obstructs the Agile process, prevents the team from finding the right rhythm and should be avoided at all costs.
3. Do not wait for feedback, ask for it.
Daily scrums, reviews and retrospectives help keep Agile teams on the right track. However, most teams go into these meetings simply looking for approval that their result is okay and not asking any questions on how it could be made better. By doing so, they miss out on crucial information on what the customer actually wants and in the end deliver a mediocre result. To get the result both you and the client is looking for, use these meetings to ask important questions and to define what sort of product your customer wants, instead of simply getting the OK.
4. Do not discuss, show.
Another big issue when discussing the final product with your client is in fact the discussion itself. Teams tend to waste quite a bit of time discussing what the product is now and what it should be, instead of simply showing the completed result. When you have a chance, always show the result you have thus far, this will give the client an opportunity to see and understand it a lot better. Not even the best description can surpass having the real thing in front of you and this way you will save quite a lot of time and effort you would have spent explaining things.
5. Always provide a working prototype.
Talking about showing the product, there is one more thing you should know about prototypes. While you might be tempted to create a fake, better looking version of your final product to show to the client, in most cases that is not a great idea. You should always show the real product in the state that it is that day. This way the stakeholders will be able to try it out, evaluate the UX and give feedback for corrections, something they would not be able to do with a fake. So to get the full and honest review, make sure they can press that button and see what happens.
Have any other rules Agile teams should follow? Share in the comments below!