From manufacturing to software development, if you’re in the business of project management, going more than a week without hearing about Agile solutions is nigh impossible. If you’re reaching that critical point where you’re ready to find out exactly what an Agile solution is, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Agile solutions, including why your business would implement them and what that looks like in practice. We’ll also look at how you can leverage monday.com to get the most out of an Agile solution.
What is an Agile solution?
An Agile solution describes a project management framework built upon the Agile philosophy. Agile, in and of itself, describes an iterative approach that favors working in small, bite-size increments known as sprints. The idea is to provide incremental value that the team can test and get feedback on.
Contrasted with a traditional approach to project management, where a team delivers an end product in one fell swoop, Agile takes a flexible approach and creates verifiable value with every sprint.
The Agile philosophy, sometimes referred to as a mindset, is guided by twelve principles. Originally developed as an approach to software development, the effectiveness of Agile has given rise to teams across every industry adopting the mindset and related frameworks. There are a few good reasons why that is.
Why should businesses integrate an Agile solution?
The biggest reason to implement an Agile solution is agility, not to put too fine a point on it.
This gives teams the feedback and flexibility to deliver more value. Even well-established companies with decades of product development experience recognize the need for more agility. Apart from these obvious benefits in flexibility, here are a few more reasons why you might want to make your teams Agile:
- Higher quality products: Testing and feedback is a big part of Agile, and when you’re constantly and consistently delivering functional parts of your project, you find what works and what doesn’t. In the end, your project results are often much higher quality than they might be without this approach.
- Better customer satisfaction: The Agile mindset is created for the purpose of delivering value. And when your customers receive continuous product iterations and, in turn, help guide development, they’re much more satisfied with the end result.
- More control: Other core tenants of Agile are transparency, accountability, and daily progress reports. This all leads to more control during projects — and more opportunities to course correct.
- Reduced risks: Projects are inherently risky, but Agile reduces those risks significantly. Because of its focus on continuous delivery, Agile helps teams quickly pinpoint where the value lies in any given project.
By now, you’ve likely had your fill on the “why” and are more interested in the “how.” This is where an Agile framework or methodology comes in.
What are some Agile methodologies and how do they work?
By itself, Agile is simply a philosophy guided by a set of principles. To get practical value from it, you need a framework or methodology. Here are some of the more popular ones:
Scrum is the original framework that was created alongside Agile. It’s mainly used for software development, but any complex project that involves cross-functional teams and wants to leverage the iterative approach of Agile can benefit from the principles.
In Scrum, there are three key roles: A product owner, a Scrum Master, and members of the Scrum Team. The product owner oversees development by managing a product backlog, which contains all the features of the project. The Scrum master oversees each team, which consists of three to eight team members.
As with other Agile frameworks, work happens in sprints, with each sprint corresponding to an artifact in the product backlog. Before each sprint, teams establish their goals for the sprint via a sprint planning meeting. Once that measure of work is completed, the team reviews their work and conducts a sprint retrospective to measure their performance and look for ways to improve.
Scrum teams track their work using task boards to organize individual tasks and sprints. This helps everyone on the team visualize their tasks and the project as a whole.
Like Scrum, Kanban is built on Agile in that it’s designed to help teams work better together and deliver value consistently. It follows three central ideas:
- Visualize the workflow
- Limit work in progress
- Organize workflows according to priority
Kanban differs from Scrum in that it doesn’t prescribe timeboxed sprints or any predefined roles. But Kanban does focus on short development cycles with continuous delivery to build on feedback. There’s also a focus on transparency so that everyone involved knows who’s responsible for what.
Kanban also puts more emphasis on visualizing work through the use of Kanban Boards, where tasks are organized into corresponding tables. As each task moves through the development process, it’s moved from table to table so that everyone on the team always knows where the project stands.
Extreme Programming, otherwise known as XP, is designed specifically for software development. The goal of XP is to produce a high-quality product while making the process easier for developers. XP focuses on feedback, simplicity, and communication.
As an Agile framework, XP is best suited to projects with evolving requirements and tight deadlines. It’s also useful for projects where stakeholders want to minimize risks under said deadlines.
Aside from the Agile mindset, the common denominator across all frameworks is intuitive task boards that help visualize and organize the work. monday.com can help you build out those boards and workflows.
Using monday.com to implement Agile solutions
When it comes to implementing an Agile solution, a Work OS like monday.com is the perfect companion. monday.com is an Agile business, so we know how much of a difference using the right tools can make. It’s also why we’ve put so much work into crafting the perfect task boards for virtually any Agile implementation.
Right out of the box, monday.com’s boards support a traditional Scrum approach to tasks. With a click, you can flip the same data into a Kanban view to easily visualize the team’s progress. And if you want to step a little more into traditional project management territory, you can turn that view into a Gantt chart — all without changing a single piece of data.
monday.com also takes a data-first approach, so everything the team touches is reflected across the entire project. And with built-in automations, the next person in line on a task is notified as soon as the preceding task is completed. Meanwhile, product owners can see the big picture with boards for managing product backlogs and assign the right tasks to the right team member with a few clicks.
The best part of a WorkOS like monday.com is that it’s exceptionally easy to use. Agile is arguably about turning all the focus on producing the best possible product and making your customers happy. With its intuitive interface and hundreds of templates to choose from, monday.com is built around that very same principle.
If you want to see what a Scrum experience is like firsthand, load up one of these templates and soak in the flexibility of the most popular Agile framework.
Scrum Sprint Planning Template
Planning your sprint is impossibly simple with monday.com’s Scrum Sprint Planning Template. Teams can easily organize their sprints on a timeline that works for them, be it one week or one month. And since it’s as easy to customize as it is to use, teams can focus on planning value rather than wrestling with tools. With this template, it’s quite possible you’ll find planning delightful.
Sprint Retrospective Template
In Scrum, one of the key activities of a sprint is the retrospective. This Sprint Retrospective Template makes learning from the progress you made in your sprint simple. Product owners can easily add relevant topics and let every team member weigh-in. And since monday.com integrates with popular tools like Jira and GitHub, no topic is without the proper context.
Do you still have questions regarding Agile solutions? Well, here are a few answers for you.
FAQs on Agile solutions
What is a solution framework?
In broad terms, a solution framework is a prescribed approach paired with practices or methodologies to help manage projects based on a defined set of principles. As an example, Scrum is a solution framework based on Agile principles.
What is the purpose of the solution context in Agile?
The solution context is meant to identify specific characteristics of a solution’s operational environment. Put simply, it describes the qualities of the environment in which the solution operates. These qualities can influence constraints and opportunities for product development.
Agile for everything, and everyone
Agile solutions aren’t relegated to just software development anymore. And if you work on any kind of project, it might be time to seriously consider it. Or maybe you’re sold, but you need to convince the executive team. In which case, just ask the CEO if they prefer strategizing or managing operations.
Whatever your approach, remember that the tools you use are as important as the Agile solution you choose. Be sure you go with a Work OS that keeps you as flexible as your new framework will.