Aug 13, 2019 - Suri Patel    

5 Agile best practices

Make the most out of Agile development with these technical best practices.

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Agile development can have a transformative impact on teams and applications. These five best practices can help your team streamline and accelerate delivery.

1. Continuous integration

Continuous integration works by pushing small code chunks to an application’s codebase hosted in a Git repository. Every push triggers a pipeline of scripts to build, test, and validate code changes before merging them into the main branch. By building and testing each change as early as possible – usually several times a day – teams can detect errors as quickly as possible, reduce integration problems, and avoid compounding problems, allowing teams to develop faster, with more confidence.

2. Retrospectives

Retrospectives are conversations about what went well and what went wrong in a project or iteration. One of the most important Agile qualities is continuous learning, and retros provide a transparent way to discuss how various teams experienced a sprint and voice any concerns or ideas.

“A successful team is a happy team. Bringing down cycle time can help a team be more successful because they are shipping value more often, but your team might have more important things that must be addressed first. Using retrospectives will help you figure out what success means to your team, and what needs to be done to achieve that success.” – Rachel Nienaber, engineering manager, Geo

To generate the best results from a retrospective, there should be a safe environment for feedback and discussion and a plan for advancing discussion from facts to conclusions.

3. Pairing

Pairing sessions can help team members work through features both large and small, inspiring problem-solving and ideation. When pairing, one team member writes code while the other reviews each line. Pairing results in fewer bugs, increased innovation, and skills development. Team members can learn from each other and discover best practices. Team members can spontaneously pair or managers can set up a more formal pairing session process 🍐

4. Iterative development

When teams iterate with small changes, they can reduce cycle time and spark rapid feedback cycles. By making the quickest changes possible to improve a user's outcome, teams can add useful functionality with fewer bugs or usability issues since potential problems are spotted early. Other benefits of iterative development include faster time to market, reduced scope creep, and increased morale (i.e. team members can see their work right away rather than wait several releases).

5. Burndown charts

If your team uses a Scrum framework, consider using burndown charts to monitor sprint progress. Teams can visualize the work scoped in the current sprint to understand what work has been completed, allowing them to react to risks quickly and adapt. This information can help business stakeholders understand that anticipated features may be delayed until a future sprint.

Employing Agile best practices will have a significant positive impact on efficiently creating customer-centric products.

Do you have any best practices that have transformed your team’s development process? We’d love to hear them!

Cover image by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

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