An agile environment is a work process or structure that encourages a collaborative culture and enables a team of people to effectively work toward a common goal. According to CA Technologies, 80% of businesses have committed to embracing an agile environment for their software development. Agile methodology has even supplanted the waterfall model due to its tendency to reduce cost and deliver consistent increments of business value to stakeholders.

Shifting to an Agile Environment

Why is an agile environment so conducive to productivity? Cross-functional collaboration is baked into every step. This allows teams to tackle items as a network, rather than a dependency-based checklist.

Adopting agile methodology is a fundamental organization shift. You won’t be reinventing the wheel, just refining it! Whether your business has already transitioned to agile, or in the process of transitioning, there are proven ways to keep teams on track and when adopting an agile environment.

Educate, Train, Repeat

People are creatures of habit. Shifting their work paradigm significantly can frustrate staff members. Establish the motto of people over process and emphasize the general benefits of agile to your teams. Teams will undoubtedly revert back to old habits. Keep them on track with education and repetition. Developing a training curriculum designed and taught by an “Agile Expert” with seminars, blogs and other training materials will aid in sustained adoption.

Communicate and Collaborate

In order to effectively transition to a fully agile model, teams that have typically been siloed will struggle to collaborate with each other. Customers play an important role in the ongoing testing of the application during its development. Their feedback is critical to identifying pain points, finding solutions and delivering a quality end product. Successful agile teams develop quality internal and external lines of communication as quickly as possible to ensure seamless collaboration.

Leverage Tools and Automation

Successful teams are prepared teams. Provide your team with automated tools to make their job easier. For example, quality assurance teams should be equipped with test management software for real-time collaboration. Integrate tools that have the functionality to support agile practices. Automating processes will generate consistent workflows, eliminate redundancies and reduce time to market- all keys to an agile process.

Empower and Trust

You may notice that teams tend to hyper-focus on completing tasks without taking a look at the big picture or collaborating with other teams for problem-solving. Encourage teams to work together and focus on the end product. Continuous communication and organized discipline are critical to the success of agile in your development. Empower your team leaders to take ownership of the project by outlining strategic initiatives, key issues and the expected outcomes for each project.

Creating an Agile Environment

Creating an agile environment within your organization can be difficult to adjust to at first. With any new system or process, there is an inevitable stage of adjustment. But the freedom and communication the agile methodology provides will help you save development time and cost.

At Next Horizon, we utilize agile development for our clients. We have seen the benefits of the collaboration that takes place during our development life cycle. If you are interested in learning more about how we produce results for our clients, give us a call.

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