The Agile Life Cycle

The objective of agile is to produce shorter product development cycles and deliver more frequent releases than the traditional waterfall management methodology. The shorter time frame lets project teams react to changes in a client’s needs more effectively. You could use different agile management frameworks, with Kanban and Scrum being the most common ones. Whichever framework you choose, the entire agile methodology follows the same process, which entails:

1. Project Planning

As with all projects, before the start, your team must understand the end goal, the value to the client or organization, and how the goals will be achieved. You could develop your project scope at this stage but always bear in mind that agile project management is essential since it helps you address any changes and additions to a project quite easily. Therefore, the project scope should not be viewed as unchangeable.

2. Product Roadmap Creation

A roadmap simply refers to a breakdown of all features that will make up the product. This is an essential aspect of the planning stage since the project team will build these specific features during each iteration. At this stage, you will also develop a product backlog, which is essentially a list of all the features as well as deliverables that make up the final product. Should you plan sprints, later, the team will pull tasks from the backlog you create at this stage.

3. Release Planning

In the waterfall methodology, there is one implementation date that comes after the project has been developed. With the agile project methodology, a project utilizes shorter development cycles with features being released at the end of every period. Before commencing the project, you will make a precise plan for feature releases, and at the start of every sprint, you will revisit and reevaluate the release plan for the specific feature.

4. Sprint Planning

Before a sprint session can begin, stakeholders must plan what they want to be accomplished by everyone during that sprint, how it is going to be achieved, and assess the task load. The load must be shared evenly among the team members so that they can complete their assigned tasks during the iteration. At this stage, it is also vital that you document your workflow (preferably, using a software development tool) for better team transparency, a shared understanding within the entire team, and identification and removal of bottlenecks.

5. Daily Meetings

For the team to accomplish its task during each iteration and assess whether there are changes to be made, short daily meetings are important. During the short meetings, every team member will talk about their accomplishments the previous day and where they intend to pick up.

The daily meetings should not exceed 15 minutes. They are not supposed to be extended problem-solving meetings but rather concise project briefings.

6. Sprint Review

After every sprint, your team should hold a meeting to review the iteration with the project stakeholders. This meeting should show the finished product to the stakeholders. A sprint review meeting could also be a good time to discuss what went well during the iteration, what could have been done better, whether the task load was too much, and what was achieved during the sprint.

This is a meeting that should not be skipped, especially if a team is new to agile project management. This is because it aids in gauging how much a team can handle during every sprint and the ideal sprint length for any future projects.

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