How to Use Agile Methodologies in Web Development

Agile project development has been long adopted by dev teams to address the slow, difficult waterfall development process that was surprisingly prone to failure. Agile methodologies have evolved over the past twenty years as technology did, and agile is now the most popular project management method in IT.

As a matter of fact, one study carried out in 2017 found that nearly 9 in 10 organizations had adopted agile methodologies. However, for those who are new to agile project management or managing web development teams, it can be difficult to know where to start. Let’s take a look at how to use agile methodologies in web development.

 

Understand Your Workflow

Agile development, whether it is an app or a website, starts with understanding the client’s requirements. In the case of a website, you may be defining their goals for the website or fixing problems they’ve identified. Whatever it is, you need to first estimate how much time the project will take and determine how you’ll demonstrate the work when you’re ready for their feedback.

If you’re using the Scrum methodology, the next step is planning the sprint, which is the time it takes to complete a major task and be ready for customer review. Around 80% of project managers conduct sprint planning meetings prior to each sprint. Managers can choose a shorter sprint to gain flexibility in some cases, or a longer one when they need to tackle big problems. Shorter sprints, for instance, are useful when you’re trying to fix multiple bugs.

The next step is designing the product. This is where tasks are identified and assigned to developers. If you’re using the Kanban approach, tasks will usually move from the “to do” lane to the “in progress” lane, to “done” or “completed”.

When all necessary tasks are done, the website is ready for testing. This is where the client reviews the site or features and gives their feedback, which then leads to the next iteration of the website design if the client isn’t happy with the end result.

 

Setting Up a Kanban Board

A lot of people like to use Kanban for website development because tasks can be added and addressed fast. The system also offers much more autonomy to team members. Website design doesn’t need as much oversight as software development, which could make daily scrums a waste of time in many cases.

With Kanban, tasks are constantly being pushed through the pipeline and can be replaced easily. It uses a visual system with multiple stages for various tasks. At the most basic, it will have three stages: to-do, work-in-progress (WIP) and done. This will allow you to track assigned development tasks easily, and allow other team members or stakeholders to do as well. You could track things like feature integration for instance, or bug fixes through a multi-stage workflow.

However, there are more decisions to be made with regard to the Kanban system. For example, how many tasks you will let your teamwork on at a given time will make a world of difference.  Managing the amount of work in progress will force your team to focus on the most important work to be done, but will also allow you to manage workload. These limits can be defined in the Kanban software you use as a project management tool.

If you want to know how to manage WIP and other Kanban functions, you can find out in this guide by Kanbanize. It teaches how you can set limits and explains exactly how you can break up a board into new sections and map out detailed processes. It also points out some of the main benefits of working with Kanban, and how you can use it for continuous improvement, which is the main guiding principle behind the method.

 

Assign Roles and Start Work

Every development project will have several team members. If you decide to use scrum, the project manager should assign the roles of scrum master and product owner. The role of the scrum master is to facilitate scrum meetings or daily status meetings. The product owner takes responsibility for prioritizing backlogged tasks. Note that these roles may change from project to project, and you could have different scrum masters and product owners for every project the team is working on.

You also have to make sure that everyone attends daily stand-up meetings to confirm what they did the prior day, say what they’re doing to do that day, and bring up any “blocks” or problems they’re encountering.

 

Know Your End Goal

Software development projects often start with a minimum viable product or MVP. The goal is to get a working product out there so you can generate revenue and get real-world feedback on the design. When you’re developing websites, however, the goal may be to get a working homepage up or add new features and product pages to an existing website. Always know your end goal and how every task relates to that, and make sure that your team is on board to make sure that their efforts remain focused.

Agile project management is a natural fit for website development. It dramatically simplifies project management for web design firms juggling multiple projects at once while ensuring your customers are happy with the end result.

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