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Can agile and process be friends?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Exemplar projects

I'm Helen White and I'm a Business Analyst for the registered traveller exemplar at the Home Office. Registered traveller has just moved into private beta: this post shows how our team is using agile methodologies in a way that works for us. 

There is a misconception for those that haven’t worked in agile that it does away with process - however with anything with an input and an output, there is a process. What's different with using agile is that it allows for change to happen quickly by looking at the detail in bitesize chunks.  If it isn’t working, then the process should be changed.

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Within the registered traveller exemplar team we have just moved from weekly sprints to two weekly sprints.  We made this change because there was not enough time to prepare the stories for sprint planning within a week, and write all the tests ready for the stories to be estimated.

We are trying to build a routine into our sprints, and have several fixed meetings that we are trying to stick to.  There are the obvious ones; sprint planning at the start, the daily stand up, and the show and tell followed by the retrospective at the end of the week.

In addition to fixed meetings, we are adding other get togethers to keep the agile process working:

  • design workshop for all the team to get involved with design ideas

  • Behaviour Driven Development session where developers, testers and business analysts get together to write the automated tests

  • business workshop where our caseworkers from Prestwick come to London to go through the work we have done and discuss various elements of the scheme that need thinking about in more detail

When we stick to this process and have these sessions, feedback is good and there is a greater understanding by all involved of the product being created.  We find if we don't have regular meetings, there is less clarity, and by the time sprint planning comes around, stories have to be pulled due to lack of understanding and detail.

We are still in the early stages of our new 2 week sprint process, but so far the results are looking positive.  Let’s hope that we can keep up the good work.

To find out more about agile methodologies, have a look at the manual, here.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Marcel posted on

    I find it so telling and quite refreshing that you did write this. I was about to write nearly the same thing!!!
    I so often come across the misconception that Agile is great because it is lean (meaning: no process). And this is sooo wrong.
    I actually find that Agile is highly formalised, bureaucratic even. BUT it is lean, meaning it focuses on the beneficial bits only.
    And of course we don't stick to process just because, we change it if required.
    Good post!


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