Agile Development in a Hybrid Environment

Agile innovation methodologies have greatly impacted the technology sector in the last few years. Over the past 30 years, the success rates of these techniques have significantly increased. In the modern world, now there is a widespread adoption of these methodologies — which are based on new values, principles, practices, and benefits — as a radical alternative to command-and-control management. Agile techniques play a vital role, especially in software development, where quality and speed to market have been remarkably improved, as well as the motivation and productivity of IT teams.

Agile is being able to both initiate and react to change. In an unpredictable and tumultuous world, it is a strategy for dealing with existing challenges and eventually succeeding to reach the organizational goals. It’s really about thinking through how you can understand what’s going on in the environment that you’re in today, identify what uncertainty you’re facing, and figure out how you can adapt to that as you go along.

What Does Agile Development Mean?

In the context of software development, agile refers to a set of approaches based on iterative development, in which requirements and solutions change through cross-functional team communications. It is a well-known fact that agile methods and processes encourage a methodical project management approach characterized by frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership style that emphasizes teamwork as well as self-management and accountability, and a set of engineering the best practices aimed at facilitating the rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a corporate strategy that links product development to customer needs.

Agile and the Hybrid Workplace

Agile works well in a hybrid workplace because it encourages a highly flexible working environment. The core values of agile make it possible to develop successful teamwork, openness, and mutual understanding among team members, all of which are critical for a productive hybrid environment. Due to the rising requirements for flexibility and mobility, hybrid workplace implementations still need to invest in collaboration tools and change their project flow. When working in hybrid mode, Agile teams should keep in mind the following 5 factors:

Investing in Collaborative Technologies

Ensuring the technology and methods used by agile teams is a vital factor to increase communication, collaboration, and team success because these factors can connect team members with each other who may be working from any location at any time. In order to accommodate both local and remote team members who may be located on opposite sides of the globe, the working process must be done in a way that allows both successful synchronous and asynchronous communication. In order for employees to collaborate successfully outside of the traditional office area, they must be able to use virtual workplaces such as video conferencing, brainstorming tools, message boards, etc.

Collaborating Time Zone Friendly Teams

Managing time zones and communicating with team members is one of the most difficult aspects of hybrid work in a multinational working environment. For example, the time zone difference between Georgia and the United States is 8 hours, so if you work with someone from the United States, working together in an efficient way might be difficult or even impossible at times. The most effective solution to this issue is to assemble a team of individuals who are all located within three time zones of one another. As a result, team members will have more time to collaborate and it also allows for an overlapping work schedule.

Building Empathy and Empowerment

Empathy is the greatest strategy to establish a hybrid workforce, despite its difficulty. It is a key component of empowerment when it comes to being appreciated by management and coworkers. Working remotely, we sometimes miss the chance of eating lunch with our coworkers or doing some team-building activities together. These kinds of activities help us understand and collaborate with our teammates in a better way. In a hybrid workplace, we must build compassionate connections, which include online social events, group work, and one-on-one talks to support the coworker’s goals.

Establishing Work-life Boundaries

Zoom fatigue was a hot-button problem when everyone was on working from home mode. And it’s not a surprise, because these people were jumping from one meeting to the next, so it was impossible to effectively manage time without establishing clear boundaries. Agile teams that work in a hybrid environment must agree on suitable meeting schedules, meeting lengths, and working hours when creating limits. In addition, team members, including those who work onsite, should take regular breaks from their desks to stretch or go for a small walk.

Inspecting and Adapting

As a core part of Agile, it is critical to inspect and adapt to the changing circumstances. Members of a successful agile team will always make sure that their team reflects and creates solutions for working better in the hybrid environment on daily basis.

The 4 Core Values Outlined in the Agile Manifesto

Agile development refers to any development process that is aligned with the concepts of the Agile Manifesto. The Manifesto was developed by a group of fourteen leading figures in the software industry and reflects their experience of what approaches do and do not work for software development. The Manifesto outlines the four core values of Agile, and although there has been debate about whether the Manifesto has outlived its usefulness, it continues at the core of the Agile movement.

Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools

The development process is driven by people, as they respond to the business needs. These people are the most important part of the development and should take precedence over both – processes and tools.

Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

In the past, product development and delivery processes required extensive documentation. Due to a number of requirements, work was usually delayed. When it comes to documentation, Agile doesn’t eliminate it entirely; rather, it streamlines it in a way that offers only necessary information to complete a particular task.

Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

In the past, the contract was the most significant part of a project’s development. A company would simply put out a specific contract with the customer, outlining exactly what the end product would look like and how much it would cost. There was a lot of discrepancy between what the developers built, what the contract stated, and what the client actually requested.

Agile focuses on collaboration between the customer and project manager to work out the details of the delivery. Collaborating with the customer means that they are included in the entire development process, thus making it easier for teams to meet the needs of their customers.

Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

In every project, it is inevitable that the clients will keep asking for changes and revisions until the software team makes the product they actually want. This is the main reason why the Agile Manifesto suggests that software teams should always be able to change the direction of their work whenever it’s needed.

 

12 Principles of Agile

The Agile Manifesto also outlines 12 core principles for the development process. These are:

  • Satisfy customers through early & continuous delivery
  • Even late in the development process, be open to change. Change is harnessed for the benefit of the client in agile processes.
  • Deliver working software regularly, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for shorter timescales.
  • Throughout the project, business people and development teams must work closely together.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • Face-to-face communication is the most efficient and effective way to deliver information to and within a development team.
  • Working software is the most important metric for evaluating progress.
  • Agile processes facilitate sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous focus on technical excellence and good design enhance agility.
  • Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is always essential. Continually seek excellence.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team considers how to improve its performance, and then alters its behavior accordingly.

At Webiz, We Choose Agile

At Webiz, we believe that our best results come from engaging with our community. This is why we have chosen agile methodologies and approaches to manage our international projects. At a time like this, Agile helps deal with existing issues and challenges during the ongoing processes of the project. With precise planning, we highlight some pre-selected tasks, so that we are able to predict when we will cope with them and in what capacity. In addition, daily meetings help us to keep control over the existing tasks and, if necessary, change the approach to it.

At Webiz, agile approach of project management includes releasing regular updates, showing sneak peeks and progress to our community, considering the feedback and making changes along the way. So rather than sticking with the conventional style of waterfall development, we work in an agile way.

At Webiz, we are continuously evolving our working environment by creating new systems and structures to support our community’s success on regular basis. Webiz is a community of top freelancers, who work for the largest tech projects all over the world. Our community setup will give you the perfect opportunity to grow as a professional and enjoy all the benefits of being our community member. Join Webiz today and bring your talent to the global stage!

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