The Processes of Agile
Agile is, first and foremost, a people-centric methodology.
Not only does Agile emphasize focus on the end-user to produce iterative, functional, and relevant products, but it also prioritizes those on the team, making sure their voices, ideas, and innovations are heard, no matter their position within the organization.
Under the Agile umbrella, there are various frameworks, all of which have proven to be effective ways of working and all of which have underlying processes that work synergistically to bolster the aforementioned theme — people first.
Iterative and Incremental
This is a core idea in Agile that is executed through short, often time-boxed, cycles. It requires breaking down work into smaller, but still functional, increments. Through these short cycles, teams can demonstrate to stakeholders often, garnering relevant and rapid feedback from their end-users. Teams themselves will also iterate. Through processes like the Sprint Retrospective in Scrum, team members will give their own feedback and help the team adapt.
Collaborative and Cross-Functional
Collaboration is another important tenet, evidenced by the emphasis Agile processes place on it. Take, for example, the daily stand-up in Scrum, which encourages daily co-located syncs. Another key idea is Cross-functionality, the de-emphasis of specialized roles and, rather, prioritization of the collective capability of the team. It works in tandem with Agile’s focus on collaboration in that working together and increased interactions do much to bolster the cross-functionality of a team.
Agile emphasizes that only the minimum amount of documentation necessary should be pursued. It applies this by integrating the planning of work with the doing of work, forcing teams to prioritize documenting what’s important. Take, for example, the Sprint Review and Planning session in Scrum. Feedback from the prior sprint is documented, planned, and executed on, all within a few days!