The Manifesto for Agile Software Development advocates a handful of practices that gaining ground in the business world. For instance, person-to-person interactions are now more highly valued and face-to-face communication is encouraged. Customer collaboration is taking priority over contract negotiation and teams are responding to change instead of sticking to established plans.
“It’s really important to constantly reassess what we’re doing and make sure we’re creating value by meeting a real customer need and remaining aligned with our vision,” said Adam Dubé, Product Manager at ShareGate. Agile principles guide Adam’s day-to-day approach more than agile practices.
Working in agile mode doesn’t necessarily lead to project success.
Meanwhile, Audrée Lapierre, Design Manager for Officevibe, takes agile principles with a grain of salt. “Everyone gets excited about agility and speed, but this can give teams a very short-term vision.” Instead, she makes a point of regularly stepping back to reflect on short- and long-term issues. Continually zooming in and out, from micro to macro, helps her see how her work is impacting the product. And working in agile mode doesn’t necessarily lead to project success. Communication continues to be one of the main reasons agile teams fail, especially when they have to work with external teams that don’t use agile methods. “It gets tricky when different disciplines need to collaborate,” says Dubé.
To overcome these challenges, ShareGate’s product teams have implemented a software development lifecycle used primarily for a project’s ideation stages and creative aspects. Paradoxically, having a product development cycle can seem pretty rigid when viewed from an agile perspective.
“I actually hate calling it a procedure. I prefer to think of it a set of guidelines for the development process. We sat down as a team to identify what the key steps are, why they’re useful and what conditions have to be in place in order for them to be successful. We even created a list of deliverables for each of them,” he explains. The goal is to get the various disciplines on the same page so that they can bring value to customers as quickly as possible while still meeting GSoft’s quality standards.