The Agile Manifesto places customer collaboration over contract negotiation with a keen focus on a highly skilled, motivated team in constant interaction with the product and the customer at every phase of the project.
As a result of this collaborative, customer-centric view, agile requires more than the technical expertise needed to gather requirements, and develop and test new product lines. It requires soft skills, leadership competencies and an understanding of how to apply those skills in a more malleable, people-focused setting. As practitioners know, collaboration brings a set of challenges. With the agile approach, project managers are called upon to team up with customers in a constant stakeholder dialogue.
Constant customer collaboration provides great opportunities to measure project success by gauging the level of customer satisfaction throughout each life cycle of the project. It creates the framework for faster time-to-market and a more nimble process to deliver successful project outcomes. When it comes to successful agile project delivery, collaboration also is key for the integrated project team.
What makes good, effective collaboration?
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project;
- Projects need to be built around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done;
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
How does feedback work in a team environment? What is the most successful way to deliver it on an agile project? Remember that feedback during the iterative development work of an agile project must increase awareness and insight as well as foster innovation, yielding positive alternatives. Having the business as part of the core agile project team creates the environment for continuous feedback and an opportunity to take positive risks in doing things differently, which is the very nature of why the project is being done in an agile setting. Within the iteration work, it is essential to provide feedback that:
• Contains a clear purpose
• Is specific and descriptive
• Offers positive alternatives
For all members of the agile project team, it is important to identify what to start, stop and continue doing when it comes to iteration work. This is where effective feedback is most often used. You can easily integrate these practices into your daily stand-up meetings to prepare for the day’s work.
Given what you just read, ask yourself, how soft is your agile team?