The Agile Way

Minakshi Talukdar
March 31, 2021

Over the past two decades, the Agile methodology has greatly expanded the success rates in Software Development & Implementation accompanied with greater quality of products and successful go to market strategies. This methodology has also boosted the motivation and productivity of the IT team(s)in software companies. The agile methodology has become a radical alternative to command-and-control-style management process.

First let us talk about what is ‘Agile’. It is a ‘Methodology’ that combines certain values and principles, also known as the Agile Manifesto. These values and principle exhibit the courage to admit that building software is complex and that it can’t be perfectly planned, as requirements constantly change.

Earlier, with the traditional Waterfall Approach, many software development projects were failing or taking much too long to complete. The reason behind this was either IT Teams were spending too much time to refine the entire set of requirements with little time left for the actual implementation or it was difficult to bring new flavors to the requirements, as a result it led to creation of products that are way too different from what the Customers expected for.

That is where Agile introduced the idea of Incremental Delivery Approach. This approach denotes that we do not need to build the entire product all at once. Instead, we build small increments (sometimes called as MVP — Minium Viable Product), collect early feedback and then pivot accordingly.

How to implement Agile: Out of several frameworks, Scrum is a very popular framework that follows ‘Agile’ Methodology. As per the Scrum Guide defines it. “Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.” (

Scrum helps teams to work together. The source of the word ‘scrum’ perfectly describes it, a rugby team, training for the big game. Scrum encourages teams to learn through experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses in order to continuously improve.

Various processes, techniques and methods can be employed within the framework. A simple illustration is shown below to explain the different aspects of Scrum and how they work.

Scrum Process and Steps

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, who works in Sprints at a sustainable pace. These Sprints are ideally 2–3 weeks long, depending on the project and milestone deliveries. During these sprint cycles, prescribed events such as Sprint Planning, Daily Stand Up, Sprint Review and Retrospective are used to maintain the team’s focus and consistency.

Scrum maintains a living artifact called Product Backlog that covers the scope of the product. The Product Backlog items are frequently updated to showcase the right priority and adequate amount of detailing. In other words, the items with higher business priority are placed at the top of the backlog with sufficient details such as task description, Definition of Done etc. At the beginning of each sprint, the Sprint Planning meeting is scheduled to pull out a subset of these prioritized Product Backlog items, as a ‘To Do’ list for the entire Sprint Window. This subset is known as Sprint Backlog. The scrum team works as self-organized team meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how by setting internal deadlines and task allocations from this Sprint Backlog. The entire Scrum team is accountable for creating a valuable and useful increment (MVP) by the end of every Sprint.

As team proceeds throughout the Sprint, the team discusses a quick status update daily, also known as the Daily Stand Up. During these daily meetings the scrum team members discuss three main points: things that they did the day before, what their plan for that day is and any blockers or impediments on their work.

Towards the end of the Sprint window, there is a Sprint Review, in which the scrum team reviews the MVP, newly built features or stories with the business team in order to collect feedback. The agenda of the sprint review meeting is to see if the increment meets the Definition of Done. It is a formal description of the state of the increment when it meets the quality measures & requirements of the product. In other words, the moment a Sprint Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, the respective feature becomes eligible to be part of product increment (MVP). Furthermore, this meeting further helps build the pathway for the next future sprint(s), because all the feedback items are discussed and planned in the upcoming sprint(s).

Last but not the least, every sprint ends with a Sprint Retrospective meeting which helps the team to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness. The most impactful improvements are addressed as soon as possible.

Now that we have gone through the details of agile, let’s discuss why it is important. Agile is not just about a group of methods and best practices, but also a mindset that brings the ability to respond to new events or challenges way faster. This Agility is required to be competitive and that is why agile ways of working have become mainstream today with most organizations like Mavennet.

At Mavennet, we constantly carry out efficient ways to maintain our work environment, culture and mindset which supports true business agility. Being agile allows us to take risks and plan towards innovative solutions. Apart from our product implementation roadmap, we also encourage the agile mindset for individual growth and foster continuous learning in our organization.

Briefly to conclude, the best approach when considering an agile adoption relates to an organization’s context. It must be inclusive with the leadership team and their areas of focus with an eye to accelerated value delivery over output and utilization.

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