The philosophy of agile lifecycle is the existence of non-hierarchical work distribution. While it has product owners and team members, all of them are equally accountable, and all ideas are treated equally in decision-making. It has strong odds against the traditional waterfall approach, but a strong team leader is a must in an agile workflow environment.
The agile lifecycle typically consists of six phases, and they vary slightly based on the project methodology variant that the organization uses. The core of the agile workflow process lifecycle lies in experimentation and adaptability. Agile workflow processes are cyclic and are often evolving, so it overlaps with each other frequently.
The six phases are conception, inception, construction, release, production, and retirement. Let’s see each of these phases in detail.
The first phase is conception. The product owner will formulate the project’s scope and what needs to be achieved. If there are several projects at once, they will prioritize accordingly. The product owner discusses the details of the project and its key requirements with the client. Then they provide a document containing all the key information, an outline of the project, expected features, timeframe, and proposed end results.
In the conception stage, it is advisable to keep the requirements at a minimum as they can be added at later stages. Also, the product owner also discusses and estimates the time and budget for other potential projects. The detailed analysis in the conception stage will give the roadmap and help decide the team decide if the project is feasible or not before commencing.
Now the team has outlined the overall concept. Now, it’s time for the development team to start building the software/product. The product owner will now check the availability of necessary team members. They will handpick their best members and gives them the necessary tools and resources.
The development team starts to build the product. Different teams work together and create a mock-up of the user interface and build the project architecture. In the inception stage, the stakeholders will be briefed on the project’s requirements, functionalities, and possible outcomes. This is done periodically to keep regular check-ins on the product’s development stages. Also, this helps to face any sudden changes so the team can adapt quickly.
This is the iteration phase, and this is the longest phase of all. The development team works with the UI/UX team combining all product requirements and feedback from the customers into design codes. The product should have the minimum functionality at the end of the first sprint. Additional features and updates are done in the later iterations. The iteration phase is the cornerstone of the agile workflow process. It helps developers to design the product quickly and make changes to satisfy the customers.
In the release phase, the product is almost ready. This is another crucial phase where the quality assurance team runs tests. They check for functionality errors, bugs, and any other issues and make sure that the product works just fine. The main motive is to ensure that the code is clean. If errors or bugs are detected, they will quickly call the developers to fix the issue.
Moreover, documentation is done on the user training. This is essential for future developments. When all this is complete, the product’s final iteration is done and moved on to the production phase.
This phase can also be called the maintenance phase, where the fully developed product is made available to the customers. Now, any issues customers face while using the product are resolved swiftly. The development team will provide extended support to keep the product working smoothly and quickly take care of any new bugs. They will also be available to provide additional support to the customers when they get stuck anywhere while using it. Also, any new iterations and additional features can also be updated here.
The product will enter into the retirement phase if it is being replaced with a new one or if the product has become incompatible over time. In this case, a product entering this phase will be notified to the development team. Simultaneously, customers will also be notified prior to the software/product getting retired. The customer will soon be migrated to a new system, and the development team will take care of the remaining end-of-life activities.
Each phase of an agile process flow has numerous iterations, and the deliverables get refined in each phase to achieve the best results. Simply when an organization adopts an agile methodology doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed.
You need to understand that agile is not a manager. Agile helps to manage projects and not people. So, the success of the product lies in the hands of the product owners. They are responsible for prioritizing tasks, managing backlogs, setting timelines, and assigning tasks accordingly. Moreover, working within a structured timetable is not possible for agile as they have planned sprint sessions. Agile is not a babysitter, nor is an iterative project manager. The ownership and responsibility lie with the team, and the methodology simply helps you to achieve your goals in iterations.
Momentum in Agile Workflow Environment
There are several moments of momentum in an agile project environment. Any project management is divided into several phases for the teams to have a clear vision of the end goal. If the company goes for the agile principles, even if the project is divided into several phases, all of those phases have to be processed simultaneously. A systematic, planned approach is not possible in agile project management.
There are five momentums in an agile process flow environment. They are:
Obligations: this is the first one where tasks, goals, and objectives related to the project are defined by how the customer expects.
Groundwork: this is the planning momentum where the agile team created is provided with specific tasks. Timelines are discussed, and initial requirements are formulated.
Design: here, momentum is created when the agile team closely works with others as per the requirements and updates regularly regarding the progress.
Development: in this momentum, the agile team negotiates with the supporting teams, runs quality tests, documents product development, and releases iterations as it goes into final production.
Maintenance: the developed product is delivered to the customer in this momentum. Following this, after-sale service and technical support are provided as and when required. The most crucial part is the customer feedback which we need for continuous growth.
Advantages of Agile Workflow Process
* You can simply make many changes in an agile environment, and it encourages the highest change in order concerning product value to the customer.
* An agile workflow environment allows you to accommodate as many end goals even if it is not clearly defined initially.
* A key advantage of adopting an agile workflow process is breaking down the complicated workflow stages into more manageable components and delivering high-quality products faster.
* To avoid roadblocks, an agile workflow environment enables open communication and daily standup meetings on project status.
* At the end of each sprint, live demonstrations are conducted to get immediate responses from both customers and stakeholders.
* The agile workflow process enables team leaders to accurately estimate time and budget for the project by enabling thorough emphasis on adaptability and rapid feedback.
Challenges in implementing Agile Principles
There are two sides to a coin. Even if agile has several advantages, it equally comes with challenges.
- As said earlier, agile is not suitable for all companies. Therefore, many companies fail to analyze their company data in terms of internal and external information, competition, and customers before choosing agile.
- Information is the strength of the organization. In an agile project environment, sometimes, some communication with team members and external colleagues can be overlooked, which needs continuous monitoring.
- Since agile workflows are flexible, timelines can be extended, and deadlines can be delayed multiple times.
- The cross-functionality of the agile workflow process can need some time for the teams to get used to the collaboration and commitment throughout the project duration.
- Needs extensive documentation and team planning as sometimes it becomes difficult during the audits and external checks.
Manage Your Agility with Cflow
Now you have a clear idea of agile workflows, and the question arises, how do I select the right tool? Since the early 2000s, the agile workflow process has been gaining widespread attention in the area of managing software development. The rising popularity of agile gave rise to numerous tools in the market. As a result, settling for the best tool for your organization can be challenging.
From simple workflow management to project planning to automate complex resource workflows to portfolio management, Cflow is the best in business. Cflow’s agility can be seen in its collaborative environment and increased velocity, which empowers you to do more as a team.
With Cflow, you can easily design, develop and deploy on work from anywhere. The time visibility, automated workflows, reports, and well-built dashboards keep your team informed and connected. You can be dynamic and achieve more with Cflow.