Agile Methodology 101
For Non-technical Startup Founders
When to use Agile
Startups, or any product development organization for that matter, has a lot of uncertainties. Agile is a methodology that helps deal with this uncertainty in the best possible way.
The beauty of Agile is that it’s not a “one-size fits all” strategy. It allows the product development team to adapt to changes in the market, technology, and so on. This also allows the startup to iterate quickly and have a better chance of success.
It’s a good idea to use Agile if you have
A product or service that’s going to be used by people
A small team (10–15 people)
A short development cycle (3–6 months)
A knowledge that the product will change
The fact that your startup will change a lot is a good reason to use Agile. Here’s why
You may make the wrong decisions now, but you can learn from those wrong decisions.
Many people have an idea and some code written down, but not much else.
If your startup isn’t a product that people will use, or you have a large team, or you have a long development cycle, use other development strategies.
Agile is a good strategy if you have a good, working product. If you don’t have a good, working product, it’s a good strategy if you’re willing to change your product.
The Agile Process
Agile is a process of thinking and working. It’s not a rigid set of rules.
There are no “must” statements, but there are some “should” statements.
The Agile process has three phases. They are
The planning phase has three steps
The vision is simply a description of what the final product should do. The strategy is a description of how the final product will do what the vision says.
This is done by the product development team.
The plan is a description of what the team will do. This is to break down the strategy into specific actions and deliverables. The team tries to estimate the time to completion of each deliverable.
The development phase has three steps:
A sprint is a fixed period of time, usually a month. The sprint planning is where the team decides on what they want to do in the next sprint. The decision is made by the team, not just the project manager.
The daily scrum is where the team members meet every day to discuss what they have done, what they plan on doing, and what issues they’re having.
At the end of the sprint, there’s a sprint review. During the sprint review, the team shows off the work they’ve done during the sprint. It’s also a time where the team can ask for help if they need to.
The testing phase happens at the end of sprint. The team tests what they’ve done to make sure it works as they expected.
The Agile methodology has some other things, too. One of them is the product backlog. This is the list of all the things that need to be done. It’s maintained by the product development team.
There are also a few other things, like burn down charts, velocity, and so on. These things are useful for the team, but they’re not necessary for the startup.
Non-technical founders need to know about Agile because it’s a good way for your team to operate. It’s not a hard or complicated process. It’s more of a mindset of how to work as a team.
The product development team is responsible for assisting the startup and the product development progress. The team relays information from the startup to the team, as well as relays information from the team to the startup.
The team and the startup are a team first, and a startup second. The startup is the customer of the team.
The Agile methodology is used by many teams, and it’s a good methodology for startups to use if they want to learn about product development.
Agile is a development strategy for startups, or any product development organization.
It’s a good strategy if you have a good, working product. If you don’t have a good, working product, it’s a good strategy if you’re willing to change your product.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.