Agile Development: Getting started in 6 steps

Agile Transformation — Part I

Agile transformations in organizations require meticulous planning, execution, training, and continuous coaching. While doing such transformations, training the team throughout the agile journey is critical. What’s important to note here is that it is also equally important to train management and customers throughout the transformation process.

As you shift to agile, each project-whether it’s traditional software development for inhouse or a cloud-based application, or new infrastructure-will be unique in their transformation and no two projects, product, or team journey will be identical. The experience of leading the transformation is quite unique and can deliver high risks and high rewards for the agile transformation.

A well-thought-out transformation can result in on or before-time delivery, meeting and exceeding customer expectations, high quality product, and just enough documentation. Whereas a poorly executed transformation can lead to significant loss of reputation and see a dent in employee morale.

The beginning: Your checklist for a successful transformation

1. Candidate project

2. Candidate team

Make sure to choose the team members wisely. For a successful transformation, I suggest you hand-pick and mix-and-match members who are highly motivated, have technical knowledge, and have a can-do attitude. I also recommend you have one-on-one discussions with each individual member to understand their aspirations. Aligning the organizational objectives with individual objectives can significantly affect the success of the transformation. In addition to establishing why the journey is being taken, the one-on-one can also be an ice-breaking session to connect with members at a professional and personal level.

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3. Agile coach

4. Training for the team

At the minimum, the Business Analyst, Technical Team, and Testing team should participate. Throughout the training, everyone should adopt a mature outlook for continuous learning.

The training sessions should cover the Software Development Lifecycle Methodologies and its differences, the Agile Manifesto, the empirical process, and the chosen agile methodology. For our implementation, we chose Scrum, so we also covered Scrum Methodology and the various Scrum Roles, Artefacts, and ceremonies. The training should also cover the steps to preparing for the first sprint (Sprint 0/Sprint zero), generic guidelines on the team ground rules, the definition of ready, and the definition of done.

The training can end with an open discussion on how agile can be implemented and what challenges the team might face. This will give a clear picture of the expectations of various team members in making the agile transformation successful. This will also help to give a safe and secure environment to openly discuss the challenges.

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5. Training for senior management and customers

One of the common misunderstandings of Agile is that the projects do not have a defined end date and the requirements can be introduced anytime in the project. Like any project Agile projects are executed with a fixed budget with:

  • Either the time is flexible when the scope is defined. There is probability of budget overrun which has to be managed.
  • The scope is flexible that the project will be delivered on a given date with a flexible set of features.

6. Alignment session

Stay tuned for the next articles in the “Your Guide to Agile Development” series:

Part II — Now that we’re ready, what’s next?

Part III — Beginning the first iteration

Part IV — Taking the iteration forward

Part V — The role of the Product Owner

Part VI — The role of the Scrum Master

Part VII — Understanding and working on challenges

Originally published at



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Ducen is a trusted technology solutions provider that aims to empower Fortune 1000 companies through quality solutions and services.