How to Improve the Management of Your Agile Development Team

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Agile is as Agile is done.” Jed Moffitt, King County Library System

When it comes to development teams, every person counts. As a manager, it’s up to you to get the most out of each member of your team. You need to have a firm grasp on how to hire and motivate them. Failing to do so is why a lot of tech teams end up failing, according to this article about building highly productive development teams.

Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, put together a study where they asked senior executives from 308 large companies about the way they form teams for their most important activities. Surprisingly, most of them said ‘from whoever is available’. Only a small percent said that they consistently create all-star teams to deal with high priority issues.

The impact is notable, since “the best companies are more than 25% more productive than the rest due to the way they deploy, team and lead scarce, difference-making talent.” Moreover, the members of these all-star teams are significantly more productive than the rest of the employees.

The Harvard Business Review notes that “the best software developer at Apple, for example, writes 9 times more usable code each day than the average software engineer in Silicon Valley.” And there is strength in numbers. Teaming great talent together increases their productivity, which is further magnified by the touch of a great leader.

So, how can you be that great leader that improves the agility of your development team?

  1. Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing

Agile teams rely heavily on inter-team cooperation and collaboration to deliver high-quality complex systems with each iteration. According to Scaled Agile Framework, teams establish and communicate goals at the beginning of each iteration, and constantly interact with members from other teams to manage dependencies.

To support this, you should help developers engage in continuous exploration, integration and deployment. Through a knowledge sharing, Q&A platform, your agile development team can share experience with peers and support each other to solve problems at a much faster pace. Which in turn, helps the system sprint in quality, measurable increments.

  1. Leverage technology for more effective management

The Lean-Agile Mindset presumes that “teams participate in the larger Inspect and Adapt (I&A) meetings, where they identify and prioritize improvement Stories that are incorporated into the following PI planning sessions.” Leveraging technology for this process helps both individuals and teams advance their functional and cross-functional skills.

Especially since in agile development teams, learning is not limited to retrospectives, but rather a continuous process. It is deeply embedded in developer culture.

  1. Use specific software tools to improve agility

Using software tools brings several benefits:

  • you can scale down unnecessary meetings
  • you can eliminate ineffectual correspondence
  • you allow all team members to better focus on the current project
  • you enable and encourage quick feedback

Below we’ve put together a breakdown of the most popular tools for agile development teams, split into four main categories:

  1. Project management: TrelloJIRA AgileAgile Manager and Active Collab
  2. Source control: GitMercurialSubversion and CVS
  3. Continuous integration: HudsonJenkinsTravis CI and Strider
  4. Communication: Slack (which integrates with Quandora), HipChat and Screen Hero

What have you done so far to improve the agility of your development team? What tools do you use? Share the most effective tips and tricks with a tweet at @QuandoraQA.

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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