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How an Agile team works

(extract from: )

Agile project management was developed as an alternative to traditional project management, which is directed towards a major final deliverable. Agile instead breaks goals down into several independent products that can be developed, released, and iterated upon quickly.

The two main styles of Agile project management are Scrum and Kanban, which both utilize a board to visualize tasks in columns of to-do, in progress, and done.

There are a few defining characteristics of an Agile workflow:

  • Daily standup – A daily meeting in which contributors and managers discuss what work was done yesterday, what they’re working on today, and any questions that come up.

  • Sprints – Short spans in which products are planned, developed, reviewed, and released. They are projects within the projects.

  • Regular reviews and retrospectives – An Agile team manages itself, but there are built-in measures to make sure work is being delivered at a consistent quality. Peer review and reviews by managers occur before tasks get completed and after the sprint is over.

With short task spans and demanding schedules, an Agile workflow requires a coordinated team. Roles have to be circumscribed enough so that people know what they ought to be doing at all times, yet flexible enough to allow people to take the initiative and exceed expectations.

A Scrum team is small, lean, and results-driven. The ideal Scrum team is 5-6 people. An Agile team working in Scrum has three roles:

  • The Product Owner – Often an executive or key stakeholder, the Product Owner ha

s a vision for the end product and a sense of how it will fit into the company’s long-term goals. This person will need to direct communication efforts, alerting the team to major developments and stepping in to course-correct and implement high-level changes as necessary.

  • The Scrum Master – The Scrum Master is most akin to a project manager. They are guardians of process, givers of feedback, and mentors to junior team members. They oversee day-to-day functions, maintain the Scrum board, check in with team members, and make sure tasks are being completed on target.

  • The Team Member – Team members are the makers: front- and back-end engineers, copywriters, designers, videographers, you name it. Team members have varied roles and skills but all are responsible for getting stuff done on time and in excellent quality.

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