The adoption of agile methodology is no longer considered optional by most enterprises. Integrating agile workflows into enterprises has become mainstream, as they are faster, cheaper, and more productive.
Today, 71% of the companies across the world use agile approaches. And most of these companies have successfully raked in 60% more profit. Also, the agile adoption success rate is 42%, while the success rate for the Waterfall approach is 26% only.
So, if you expect better efficiency and more streamlined business operations, you must adopt agile in your organization. The methodology enables you to make the development process more responsive and adaptive as it involves frequent iterations.
That being said, finding a good and experienced agile software development team is a challenging task. To hire an agile software development team, one must understand the different agile team types and roles of each individual.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of hiring a good agile software development team. We will also talk about the structure of the team along with the roles and responsibilities of each member.
Overview of Agile Methodology
Essentially, agile methodology is an approach to software development where demands and solutions evolve through the collective effort of cross-functional and self-organizing teams, enabling recurrent customer feedback and course correction as needed.
The methodology focuses on flexibility and adaptability to ensure better responsiveness to dynamic business needs. And in doing so, agile addresses the challenges faced by the traditional Waterfall approach of delivering digital products over long periods, during which the customer requirements change drastically, making the digital product obsolete.
12 Principles of Agile Software Development
The main difference between a traditional software development approach and an agile approach is that the agile team does not necessarily have an idea of the end product. They don’t focus their efforts on achieving a specific look for the final product or even the tools they are going to use to attain that look. Instead, they concentrate on the continuous delivery of valuable software that satisfies the client.
Essentially, the agile methodology is based on 12 principles. These principles enable the agile team to maintain a continuous flow of communication between the team members.
1. Satisfy the customer through timely and continuous software delivery
2. Welcome changing customer requirements, even late in the development phase
3. Frequently deliver the working software, often with shorter timelines
4. Business stakeholders and developers must collaborate at every step of development
5. Motivate, support, and trust the people involved in project development
6. Encourage face-to-face discussions and interactions
7. Measure progress solely based on working software
8. Focus on sustainable development
9. Pay attention to technical details and design
10. Keep it simple
11. Self-organizing teams encourage good design, architecture, and practices
12. Regularly find ways to become more effective and fine-tune behavior accordingly
Benefits of Partnering with an Agile Software Development Team
Improved Product Quality
Organizations that use agile tools improve their product quality by 42%. The agile development team holds frequent meetings and involves customers in the development process. This enables them to deliver a high-quality product that precisely matches the customer’s needs and expectations.
Faster Time to Market
With an agile software development team by your side, it is possible to meet the client’s requirements faster. The team will make sure to deliver a project in shorter terms. They will leverage time-boxed, fixed schedule sprints to deliver new features swiftly and frequently, thus improving the overall time to market.
When you hire an agile software development team, the entire problem is divided into various small components that can be developed and tested with the users. So, in case something does not work as expected, the approach is quickly modified to get back on track.
For instance, if some function proves to be non-cost-effective, it can be easily replaced on the go. Similarly, if the client is not satisfied with a particular part of the project, it can be modified to yield the desired outcome.
Reduced Overall Risks
Agile teams practically eradicate the chances of complete project failure. The entire software is developed in sprints. This helps to implement changes as and when needed. Thus, the entire project can be adapted to the client’s needs and preferences which greatly reduces the overall risk.
Different Approaches to Agile Product Team Structure
The key to the success of agile methodology is that each team member communicates with the others intensively. They are all aware of each other’s tasks and responsibilities. They can help each other throughout the process, and even exchange tasks, if needed. The goal is to make the most of every individual’s capacity and skills.
Moving on, agile software development requires a special type of team. Let us look at the three types of team structures that are typically used to conduct the agile processes.
A generalist team comprises individuals who possess a broad skill set to perform a variety of tasks related to software development. These individuals know a little about a lot of things. Owing to their versatility, they can handle various tasks associated with software development and even switch roles with their colleagues.
Typically, a generalist team is responsible for the end-to-end development of the entire project or a specific feature.
Suitability: This team structure is best for small projects that have a clear tech stack requirement. It usually works well in the sales industry where professionals can use their skills and knowledge to sell across different company sectors.
2. Domain Specialist
As the name suggests, a domain specialist is someone who possesses expert knowledge in different technical and creative areas. In this team structure, every individual specializes in a specific niche and is responsible for the tasks that fall under that.
Such a type of agile team is adept at delivering highly innovative and complex software solutions. The team structure is more prevalent in big agile teams where there are adequate people to work for every specific domain.
Suitability: This team structure is best suited to highly niche and complex projects.
A hybrid team structure is a combination of the first two: generalists and domain specialists. Each specialist present on the team will be responsible for his specific domain whereas the generalists integrate the different components and make sure that the project is viable as a whole.
With this team structure, the development process is outstandingly effective. The structure leads to improved teamwork among the members, superior-quality products, and a greater sense of ownership.
Suitability: This team structure works well for all kinds of projects, including highly complex ones.
Key Roles in a Typical Agile Software Development Team
The agile methodology aims to make the entire product development process more flexible and transparent, which in turn, improves the product quality and time to market. And for this, there is a clear distribution of job roles and responsibilities within each development sprint.
If you are looking to hire an agile software development team, you must know about the key roles in an agile team structure that are as follows:
A product owner is the voice of the customers. He clearly outlines their requirements and ensures that they are met throughout the product development lifecycle. He stays in constant touch with the development team, offering valuable insights on what features need to be prioritized to deliver optimal value to the end-users.
Project Manager (Scrum Master)
The project manager is responsible for overseeing each aspect of the process. He brings the team together and ensures everyone stays on track. He is responsible for delegating work to each member, organizing the communication sessions, tracking progress, and compiling documentation. Lastly, he also serves as a link between the customer and the development team.
In Scrum, the project manager is often called the Scrum Master.
This is a very broad term that comprises various roles across different industries. For instance, the agile software development team may comprise frontend and backend developers, UX programmers, testers, QA analysts, and more.
On the other hand, the requirement may also necessitate a digital marketing team that may include content writers, SEO specialists, PPC managers, etc. All these people together can form a team in the agile team structure.
Business Analyst (BA)
Not every agile team requires a BA. However, having one is always beneficial as such a person can help to mitigate risks associated with the business. A business analyst stays on top of market trends and helps the development team to modify the product, making it much more competitive and cost-effective.
Although not directly involved in the agile development process, stakeholders often play a crucial role in shaping the final product. They stay in constant touch with the product owner, product manager, and development team to streamline the development process. They also provide valuable feedback that may greatly influence the final project outcome. Typically, stakeholders include investors, senior company professionals, and end-users.
Typically, an agile team comprises up to 10 members to manage the various aspects of development. However, a bigger agile team structure may also include roles like enterprise architects, subject matter experts, independent testers, etc.
Characteristics of a High-Performing Agile Software Development Team
A Cohesive Outlook
A successful agile team comprises motivated individuals who all share the basic fundamental values. Every team member respects each other, and at the same time, eliminates the risk of other members getting burned out. They all focus on persistent improvement and conducting self-analysis and deliberately working to improve their abilities.
Accountability and Ongoing Improvement
A high-performing agile team focuses on rapid iteration to deliver the utmost value to the end-users. Such a team will seldom hesitate to take complete ownership of their actions and continue to learn from their failures. They never stop experimenting and evolving to broaden their skillset and witness growth and development.
A Culture of Excellence
A good agile team strives for excellence in everything. This helps them constantly improve themselves and provide high-quality products to their customers. They never settle for the ordinary and are always driven to set new standards for performance and achieving incredible results. All team members also participate in community activities and team development techniques to identify new areas of growth.
An experienced agile team is able to manage themselves without having to be constantly guided by a team lead or project manager. It does not imply that the team members do not require any guidance. It only means that such a team understands a concept and works in continuity as long as they have all the required resources. Also, a good agile team is self-driven and willing to take up new challenges at every stage.
High Level of Collaboration
A strong agile team possesses the ability to collaborate with each other, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. Each team member plays his/her part to improve the process and achieve multiple goals. Collaboration in the team is best attained when all expectations are clearly specified at the beginning of the project.
If you have a unique product idea, you need to hire an agile software development team that can turn it into a tangible reality. A good and experienced team is not only streamlined in structure but also ensures smooth and successful implementation of each project. Their job is to ensure that everything goes as per customer requirements and no resources go to waste. A strong agile team encourages knowledge sharing and creates a dynamic environment for the overall growth and development of each member.
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