Refining the Product Backlog
In Agile software development, the product backlog represents a comprehensivelist of everything that will go into creating a valuable product(requirements, tasks, exploratory work, etc.). The Product Owner isresponsible for it and plays the primary role in guiding the product.The Product Backlog is a living artifact in that it changes over time asupcoming work gets discussed in more details and as new information isrevealed either as the result of the team’s work or under externalcircumstances.This is why active refinement of the Product Backlog is essential. It is not ato-do list that is created at one point in time and then adhered to regardlessof everything. The Product Owner will collaborate with their team and discusshow the Product Backlog should evolve. For example, they can discuss whichfeatures should be pushed forward and which should be left for another time.Or, they can add new work that they previously did not anticipate.Refinement of the Product Backlog is never finished and it is at the core of asuccessful Agile development project.
Creating an Agile environment
Before, we mentioned providing teams with the support and the environment thatthey require. In the most basic sense, it comes down to creating an idealworkspace for your team. This includes a good office design where the teamwill work in close proximity to one another so that they can communicatenaturally. The majority of Agile teams will also use visualization aids suchas whiteboards where they can keep track of the work they are doing as part ofthe sprint.For distributed teams, some workarounds will need to be employed, usually inform of digital tools such as VivifyScrum which can be updated easily andwhere the entire team can collaborate as they would if they were in the samespace.
1. Evaluate the project’s complexity
Is the project simple or complex? What will the final product look like? Whatsteps are needed to get there? What is your project’s timeline and budget?What type of project is it?A project with specific and unchanging requirements may do well with astructured approach like waterfall. On the other hand, projects with changingor unclear requirements can benefit from an iterative, cyclical approach.Agile is suitable for projects with hard timelines, while PRiSM works best formanaging construction projects focused on large-scale sustainability.
2. Consider the team members involved as well as their work setup and
styleHow do your teams like to work? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Arethey ready to adopt a new methodology? Are they remote or collocated? Howwilling is the project owner to participate in the process?Collaborative teams often thrive in an agile environment. If a big team isnecessary to complete a project, a flexible methodology like scrum may work.For high-performing, disciplined teams, kanban can be a good choice.Teams resistant to change can also benefit from less structured methodologieslike kanban.If the client or project owner is willing to participate in reviews andfeedback sessions, use scrum or other agile frameworks. For clients who prefera hands-off approach, waterfall can work well. If the client frequentlychanges their mind, an agile approach is your best bet.
What are Agile Metrics?
Agile metrics help agile development teams and their management measure thedevelopment process, gauging productivity, work quality, predictability, andhealth of the team and products being developed. A key focus of agile metricsis on value delivered to customers – instead of measuring “what” or “how much”we are doing, we measure how it impacted a customer.
2. Agile Velocity
Velocity measures how many story points were completed by a team, on average,over the past few sprints. It can be used to predict the team’s output in theupcoming sprints.Why it is powerful: Velocity is powerful because it’s a result metric – howmuch value was actually delivered to customers in a series of sprints. Becareful not to compare velocity across teams because story points anddefinition of done can vary between teams.
6. Static Code Analysis
While not exactly a metric, this is an automated process that can provideinsights into code quality and clean code from simple errors redundancies.Code quality, while difficult to define and measure, is known to be a keycontributor to software quality in general, and in particular, softwaremaintainability.Why is it powerful: Static code analysis provides a safe baseline for codequality. However, it is no substitute for human input into code quality, viamanual code reviews, pair programming or other methods.
9. Failed Deployments
Measures the number of deployments (either to test, production environments,or both). Can help understand how solid environments are and whether teams arereally building potentially shippable software.Why it is powerful: Especially when applied to production environments, thismetric can provide a clear indication that sprints or releases are productionready, or not.
1.3.1. Formation of the Agile Release Train
* What is an Agile Release Train? Agile teams that are specialized for working on one particular element, gettogether and board the Agile Release Train. These teams will essentially drivethe Agile Release Train. * There are 5-12 teams in the train which are geared towards delivering value and in fact build what will be planned. * The Release Train Engineer leads the train and ensures that these teams are synchronized and are in constant collaboration with each other.
At the end of the PI, there is an Inspect and Adapt session. This event sumsup the entire work done by the Agile Release Train. It is a staged event thatis attended by the stakeholders, business owners, agile teams, and customers.It is organized by the Product Management and supported by the Release TrainEngineer.The PI is evaluated by the Program Increment Performance Report, where thebusiness owners rate the business value. This business value helps attain theachievement percentage.Followed by the Program Predictability measure, these findings help identifyany issues with the Program Increment. Once the issues are identified, RootCause Analysis is used and then brainstorming for finding the solutions.Can it be adopted in a current organization?You need to change your existing organizational structure to adopt SAFe. It isnot an overnight process. It will take its time. There are guides available onthe Scaled Agile Framework’s website that gives a step-by-step insight intotransitioning to SAFe. Learn more about transforming to SAFe here.
There is also a retrospective where all the teams, product owners, scrummasters and the management work to understand any impediments that affect thedelivery of the product. Teams regularly have their own retrospectives,reviewing what is done to continuously improve.Can it be adopted in a current organization?You may need to abandon your current organizational structure and change yourpresent development techniques drastically in order to embrace LeSScompletely. The organizational structure is completely different fromtraditional program management. It is recommended by LeSS to start applyingprinciples of LeSS with one scrum team and adapt the change step by step.
A Nexus Sprint Review is held at the end of the sprint in which all the scrumteams meet with the product owner and review the integrated increment. Scrumteams do not have their own sprint reviews. There is only one collectivesprint review in which the integrated increment is the subject.Finally, there is a Nexus Sprint Retrospective. The essence of everyretrospective is to meet and identify shared challenges. The solutions arediscussed by sharing ideas and how they can improve. The Nexus Team and thescrum teams have their individual retrospectives. Then there is a collectiveretrospective where solutions are shared with the entire nexus and the scrumteams.Can it be adopted in a current organization?No change in existing organizational structure is needed. It can be adopted inyour current organization all you need is knowledge of Scrum.”