What is Agile Development?
Agile development is a high level term which covers a number of different software development methodologies that focus on a more iterative approach to delivery features for a product. Some of the most popular flavors of Agile development include Extreme Programming, Lean Development and Scrum.
Each of the agile methodologies that exist focus on incrementally delivering features instead of a big bang approach to delivery that you would find in a traditional or waterfall approach to development. The underlying consistent thread in all agile is that there should exist a consistent feedback loop which improves the overall product with each effort delivered. This focuses on small releases where changes can be assessed, and feedback implemented in subsequent follow up releases.
The power of agile is that it allows product managers the ability to constantly keep up with a changing environment around them. This could be additional competitor features, changes in the business needs or industry you support where you need the ability to pivot often and tweak priorities easily. Typical agile releases are small groups of work which does not over commit resources to extended projects.
How do I define the scope of a sprint in Product HQ?
One of the main stand out elements of agile development is to deliver product changes early and often to constantly get feedback from end users and team members to confirm if the feature delivered is on target or needs additional work and if more work is needed getting the feedback quickly back into your product backlog and feature list to track for future releases. This workflow falls perfectly into what Product HQ does best. While not all flavors of agile development uses Scrum it is by far the most popular method with roughly 70% of all agile teams implementing a scrum approach to execute their development.
Product HQ allows product managers to see all of their product backlog requests broken out by those requested by their end users and team members within the idea section of the platform. The ideas within this section can be promoted into features if your product owner feels they align with your product objectives. Once a feature, sprint planning can occur to review and determine which product backlog items will be prioritized for a sprint and delivered. Sprints can be created on your product roadmap based on the duration you execute your sprints in. So for example, if you complete sprints every 2 weeks, you can define biweekly releases on your product roadmap and during your sprint planning sessions you are simply promoting features into your release for an upcoming sprint. Once you have filled your release with your product backlog items you can kick off the project.
How do I run a sprint within Product HQ?
As part of the scope for any given sprint you have created a release in Product HQ on your product roadmap. The release includes your product start, end and other milestones you plan to track for the sprint. Additionally, on the features tab, you can see all of the product backlog items included in the release, the current status of the item and the current owner of the item. This screen makes the daily stand up meeting extremely efficient as the product team regardless of their physical location can all be looking at the same information at the same time and quickly give a run down of where the specific feature is. You can update the status of an item to indicate that which was completed, and those which will be completed or worked on between this meeting and the next.
What are the roles in an agile methodology?
An agile software development process is typically made up of 3 main roles which interact with the software development methodology. Within Product HQ you can setup your own departments and add your team members into those departments to organize your team makeup.
A typical breakdown of roles within an agile team consist of:
- Users: Agile development focuses on the early and often approach of getting end user feedback on your product features to ensure that any corrections needed are done as early in the process as possible to avoid costly mistakes not identified until long after development is complete. As a result, users play a big role in the agile development approach and Product HQ provides end users with many ways to constantly provide feedback and ideas from your product with embeddable widgets to make it easy to submit feedback as they are interacting with your product. These ideas from your users end up within your ideas section to easily be promoted into your features or product backlog options.
- Product Owner: The product owner represents the voice of the customer and reviews the product ideas and identifies which ones align with the product objectives and strategy and should become features in the future. The product owner is responsible to move the product forward and ensure that all aspects from conversions, churn, competitive edge and stability are prioritized and included with each product backlog review and sprint defined. The product owner is responsible to take the user ideas and convert them into solutions and explain the solutions to the development team to ensure everyone understands what is needed for each release.
- Software Development Team: Within a sprint a software development team runs the end to end needs of the iteration or release they are working on so a team would consistent of the skills needed to complete user interface, business logic, database and all other parts of the product that will be touched in any given sprint. Additionally, the software development team can be assigned to include business analysts and quality assurance resources that play their role in the sprints that are worked on by the specific software development team.
Agile software development focuses on the aim small, miss small approach to development with iterative releases and constant user feedback to ensure each release was a success and if any changes are needed quickly getting that feedback into the queue for a subsequent release. Product HQ is designed to make end user feedback collection easy and to allow for that feedback to fall into the funnel of all other product backlog ideas to make the process of organizing a sprint and managing the day to day of a sprint easy.