These days, all companies are technology companies. Even if your customer-facing products aren’t software, you need cloud infrastructure, backend company systems, human-facing apps, and content management to run a successful business. That means you either practice agile software development or are growing your capacity for it.
Adopting Agile helps break down complex projects into manageable software delivery cycles. Instead of monolithic Waterfall approaches, which can’t be adjusted easily, you can design, build, and deliver software in smaller intervals.
An Agile approach includes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.
Agile can also be a distracting buzzword and block things from getting done for the sake of the process. So when you’re looking to hire Agile software development resources, it’s essential to find senior team members who won’t get bogged down in the terminology instead of getting work done.
Here’s how we’d approach growing your capacity for agile software development.
What is agile software development?
Agile development is a methodology that centers collaboration, customer-centricity, and adaptability – making it particularly suited for projects where requirements change or evolve.
This is especially true in a fast-paced, ever-changing market environment – e.g. COVID disruption, economic volatility, and AI-driven behavior change.
While it comes with its own challenges, the benefits of delivering high-quality products that align with customer expectations often outweigh the downsides.
Benefits of agile software development
Agile software development comes with many benefits that contribute to faster software delivery, higher quality product development, and improved customer experiences.
Here’s a look at the benefits of Agile development:
- Enhanced flexibility and responsiveness: Agile allows for easy adaptation to changes – even late in the development process. This fosters a flexible and responsive approach towards evolving project requirements.
- Improved product quality: With regular check-ins, code reviews, and testing, Agile promotes high-quality output. These ensure that the end product meets quality standards.
- Faster time-to-market: The iterative nature of Agile accelerates the delivery process, enabling quicker releases and faster time to market.
- Better stakeholder satisfaction: Continuous stakeholder engagement ensures that the product aligns with the client’s expectations and allows for feedback incorporation at every stage.
- Enhanced team collaboration and morale: Cross-functional teams, frequent communication, and a collaborative environment foster better team morale and a sense of ownership.
- Cost efficiency: Agile helps in better project control and resource allocation, making the development process more cost-effective.
- Transparency and visibility: Regular stand-ups and reviews provide transparency regarding project progress, challenges, and successes.
- Continuous improvement: Retrospectives and feedback loops encourage a culture of continuous improvement, aiding in refining processes and enhancing team performance over time.
- Early and predictable delivery: By breaking the project into manageable units, Agile ensures that features are delivered incrementally. This provides better predictability in delivery schedules.
- Effective risk management: Early discovery of issues or changes allows for better risk management and mitigation.
- Customer-centric approach: Agile strongly emphasizes user needs and feedback, ensuring that the final product provides value to the customers.
Agile empowers teams to achieve superior product quality, stakeholder satisfaction, and a competitive edge in the market through iterative cycles, regular feedback, and a focus on value delivery.
How do I build an agile development team?
Building an agile team for enterprise-level software development demands carefully selecting the right individuals, instilling the agile mindset, and fostering a conducive environment for agile practices to flourish.
Here’s everything you need to assemble and nurture an agile team for enterprise development:
- Diverse skill sets: Ensure your team has a mix of skills necessary for the project – including product manager, senior software engineers, QA testers, and UX/UI designers.
- Cross-functional: Members should have or be willing to develop a breadth of skills, not just depth in one area.
- Size: Keep the team size manageable – typically, 7-9 members leads to optimal communication and collaboration.
Cultivation of Agile mindset
- Training: Provide training on agile principles, practices, and tools to ensure everyone has a common understanding.
- Continuous learning: Encourage a culture of constant learning and improvement.
Leadership and roles
- Servant leadership: Leaders should embody a servant-leader mentality that prioritizes the team's needs.
- Clear roles: Define roles such as the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team members, each with clear responsibilities.
- Collaborative space: Co-locate teams to promote face-to-face interaction or use digital tools to mimic this interaction in remote settings.
- Tools: Equip teams with the tools to manage backlogs and sprints and communicate effectively.
- Review and retrospectives: Hold regular sprint reviews and retrospectives to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve.
- Communities of practice: Establish practice communities where team members can share knowledge and learn from each other.
- Management support: Ensure management supports the agile transformation with a proper understanding of what agile entails.
- Scaling frameworks: Consider frameworks like SAFe if you need to scale agile across multiple teams.
- Organizational alignment: Ensure alignment between teams and the larger organizational goals.
Building a senior agile development team demands a blend of leadership, a conducive environment, and continuous feedback mechanisms. Once you’re prepared for this,, it’s time to start hiring team members.
What roles do I need on an agile team?
Creating an agile development team requires a balanced blend of roles to ensure the project remains on track, meets its goals, and adheres to quality standards.
Here’s a breakdown of the roles that are typically included on a 7-9 person agile development team:
- Responsibilities: Define project goals, create and prioritize the product backlog, communicate with stakeholders, and ensure the team delivers value to the business.
- Responsibilities: Facilitate scrum meetings, remove impediments to the team’s progress, coach the team in agile practices, and ensure adherence to the scrum framework.
Senior software engineers
- Backend software engineers: Build the logic, database interactions, and server configuration.
- Frontend software engineers: Create the user interface and user experience.
- Full-stack software engineers: Handle both frontend and backend development tasks.
- Responsibilities: Develop high-quality software, adhere to coding standards, and collaborate closely with other team members.
Quality assurance (QA) engineers
- Responsibilities: Design test plans, execute tests, identify bugs, and ensure software works for end users.
- Responsibilities: Ensure the product is user-friendly, create wireframes and mockups, and gather user feedback to improve the design.
Optional roles (based on needs)
- DevOps engineer: Automate deployments, ensure system reliability, and optimize performance.
- Business analyst: Analyze business needs, translate them into technical requirements, and ensure the developed software meets them.
- System architect: Design the system architecture, ensure technical feasibility, and guide the development team on technical aspects.
The exact composition of an agile team varies based on the project's specific needs and your organization. A mix of these roles ensures a broad coverage of the skills and expertise necessary for successful product delivery.
How do I grow my agile development team into a senior team?
You might have all the right roles for an agile team, but growing a senior development team takes focused effort and time. This effort requires training, mentorship, exposure to complex projects, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Here are all the areas you need to cover to mature your team:
- Technical training: Provide advanced training sessions to upgrade their technical skills. This could include new programming languages, frameworks, or tools.
- Certification programs: Encourage and sponsor certifications that are relevant to their roles and technology stacks.
Mentorship and coaching
- Internal mentorship: Establish a mentorship program where senior employees mentor junior members.
- External coaching: Bring in external experts to provide coaching and new perspectives.
Complex project exposure
- Challenging assignments: Assign them to complex and critical projects that push them out of their comfort zones and encourage problem-solving and innovation.
- Cross-functional experience: Rotate team members through different roles to broaden their understanding and skills.
Feedback and evaluation
- Regular reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to provide constructive feedback and set new learning goals.
- 360-degree feedback: Implement a 360-degree feedback system to provide a holistic view of each member's performance.
- Industry conferences: Send team members to reputable conferences to learn about the latest trends and network with experts.
- Open source contributions: Encourage contributions to open source projects to build reputation and gain real-world experience.
- Leadership workshops: Offer workshops on leadership, communication, and conflict resolution to groom potential leaders.
- Project leadership opportunities: Give team members the chance to lead projects or sub-teams to develop their leadership skills.
Culture of continuous learning
- Learning platforms: Provide access to online learning platforms for self-paced learning.
- Innovation days: Allocate time for team members to work on personal or innovative projects that interest them.
Recognition and advancement
- Promotions: Recognize and promote individuals who demonstrate growth and significant contributions.
- Reward system: Implement a reward system to acknowledge and incentivize continuous learning and excellence.
Growing a team into a senior-level team is a long-term investment beyond technical skills enhancement. But not everyone has the time or resources to grow a senior agile development team, and that’s why Codingscape exists.
How do I hire a senior agile development team now?
41% of companies choose to hire consultancies instead of delaying their roadmaps. You don’t have to wait 6-18 months to build an agile development team and build products. We can begin within a few weeks.
Zappos, Twilio, and Veho are just a few companies that trust us to build software with a remote-first approach.
You can schedule a time to talk with us here. No hassle, no expectations, just answers.
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Cole is Codingscape's Content Marketing Strategist & Copywriter.