They Talk, We Listen: Agile-Scrum For Better Software
Agile-scrum methodologies help developers answer stakeholder needs. Agile-scrum refers to a development team’s ability to adapt to ongoing feedback from their stakeholders when developing a software product.
Read time: 4 minutes
How We Got Better with Stakeholder Feedback
Back in the day, the process of developing software fell in step with the waterfall method. Stages were rigidly defined and scheduled. The outcome of one development phase determined the input for the next phase in sequence. At the time, this linear sequence felt productive.
Then our coders began noticing how certain downsides outweighed benefits. Isolated developers were working on separate pieces of the software puzzle. Stakeholders made little input by the product's end.
Zero collaboration made for total miscommunication.
Director of Development Lisa Cockrell was there to bear witness. Her cloistered team would spend two months buried in their greatest efforts. At the end of what they thought was a victory, they presented stakeholders with an off-the-rails solution answering a few needs—but not all of them.
Some time would pass before Issuetrak found its footing to take evolutionary steps for all development-kind.
Run With Scrum: Agile Teams Deliver Results
Development has long since transitioned to an agile-scrum methodology, which guarantees quality support for Issuetrak’s partners.
Agile teams are flexible, adapting development schemes to stakeholder wants. Scrum refers to the mini-sprints, or phases, of creating a product to specification.
It was a simple but crucial change:
With agile-scrum, stakeholders now have insight into every phase of developing their requested product. Developers will welcome changes at any phase of the product’s development. Early or late, Development can quickly and seamlessly adjust as needs arise.
How Stakeholders Benefit From Agile Development
Now stakeholders can intervene and make their preferences known in a timely fashion. As a stakeholder, you can:
- Play your part in creating highly intuitive web interfaces
- Perfect a misplaced CTA button
- Brand-match your text’s appearance on the screen
- …and much more.
Thanks to agile-scrum methods, software fulfills customer demands and the Development team’s vision: the team creates a relevant product, and stakeholders have what they need to respond better to their customers.
Advice If Your Department is New To Scrum
A more detailed data integration plan ensures expectations and deliverables align.
- Create a data integration plan with objectives, milestones, timelines, evaluation points, and responsibilities. This includes identifying aggregated data and integration goals.
- Decide which systems you want to optimize.
- Formulate and follow through on a data integration strategy.
- Measure your progress. This is the fun part where you see your success!
- Consistently backtrack and check in with your team on the SMART goals you’ve set.
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3 Lessons Learned from Our Development Team
For a software company that was once lucky to release upgrades once per quarter, Issuetrak now upholds a release roughly every 30 days. This is a timeline Dev has consistently achieved over the last 4 years.
Here’s the best part:
What’s inside translates outside. Redesigning Issuetrak’s approach made the development process more efficient and collaborative.
“No cowboy coders going rogue here now,” our Development Director shares. “We listen to what the Product Owner and stakeholders want. We offer a product suited to their organization.”
Lesson 1: Quality Over Speed
Everyone on our Development team is a Scrum Master. They can bounce back quickly if they start down a wrong turn. Mini-sprints and frequent check-ins ensure a software product’s specs are designed to satisfy.
In the past, our most valued asset was our speed in delivering our product—but that was our mistake. Rushing through something as complex as coding software, you end up paying for such mistakes with your time and effort trying to correct them.
Lesson 2: No “I” In T-E-A-M
With greater in-house collaboration and communication, the Dev team could get to work. The mini-sprints enabled developers to honor a customer’s vision while fulfilling their product goals.
Many places have an “us versus them” attitude between Quality Assurance (QA) testers and Developers. QAs are often labeled as “finding fault” with developers’ code. But Issuetrak’s developers are happy here, with a mutual appreciation for fostering an all-for-one team atmosphere. Issuetrak’s development team recognizes that QAs represent the customer’s voice.
Lesson 3: The Right Ingredients
One of our Quality Assurance reps summed it up best with a fun analogy based on a MasterChef episode:
If you mistake salt for sugar, it doesn’t mean you can’t bake a great cake. It simply means you need to re-bake it with the right ingredients.
The same goes for developing code. We make sure no mistaken digit in the code (nor extra tablespoon of salt) throws off the product entirely.
Agile-scrum provides quality control. It’s not about mistakes. It's how we correct missteps. Using agility as a self-check, Development can readjust and improve their product. As they would say, "thank goodness we didn’t ship the salty cake!”
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Topics from this blog: Software DevelopmentBack