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Agile & Lean

Project management methods and continuous improvement process

Earliz & Agile

Agile methods are project management methods which can be applied to all types of projects. They are particularly well developed in the field of computer software design.

These Agile methods were defined and formalized by the Agile Manifesto in 2001. They advocate a more pragmatic approach than traditional methods. The involvement of all stakeholders in the project, including the final customer, is at the heart of this logic, in order to allow greater responsiveness to changing demand.

The wider movement of the Lean management associates Agile values with the techniques of continuous quality improvement. The use of Agile then enrolled in the entire structure of the business.

It is to this unique approach that Earliz invites you, by providing your projects the best of today's Lean management methods.

Definitions

Scrum

This method is based on dividing a project into iterations, called sprints, as well as self-organizing team. Each sprint begins with an estimation of tasks, called stories, followed by operational planning, and ends with a demonstration of what has been completed.

By choosing a Agile mode while starting project online, Earliz helps you to manage easily the priorities of each story, and all sprint iterations. Of course, you can also manage your project using a classic milestone project mode.

More about Scrum ›

Kanban

Literally "label" in Japanese, this method allows to manage a project on an entire production cycle. Each project, product, feature or task, depending on the chosen granularity, is materialized by a Kanban which will go through the different steps of production. We often find the same three basic steps: to do, in progress, done. However, the second one can be divided into several repeated sub-steps such as test or delivery. The workflow thus defined, it is viewable as a table where Kanbans move between each column.

Earliz helps you to manage and visualize all your tasks within a Kanban board that can be modified in real time by all team members.

More about Scrumban ›

Lean

Lean, resulting from Toyotism, aims to improve productivity, quality, delay and to get a better cost management. This requires continuous improvement and elimination of waste.

The Agility applied to the company materializes by an organization in departments aiming to get:

  • motivation of human resources
  • use of new technologies
  • continuous improvement of process

Earliz helps you to go through this continuous improvement process using follow-up metrics, automatically calculated online based on team activities, in order to follow your project progress in real-time and to identify quickly main issues.

The company can monitor the progress of cross-department projects (Product Development, Marketing, Sales...) using a Kanban board. It may well identify bottlenecks or friction between teams and correct them by improving communication flows.

Values and principles

Values

Agile methods advocate four core values:

  • Individuals and interactions: with Agile, the team is placed at the center of the development process. The communication between team members is preferred to tools, procedures or isolated expert opinions.
  • Working product: the product should work to validate the progress of the project. This means paying more attention to the realization that to the product documentation. A well-made product is more easily understandable and documentation becomes a medium of communication between members of the project rather than an integrated part of the final product.
  • Customer collaboration: the client, often represented by a product manager at the company, should be involved throughout the development. The initial contract of the project must be updated regularly based on customer feedback and changing needs.
  • Responding to change: The initial planning and product structure must be flexible to allow changes in customer demand throughout the project. The first deliveries of the software will often generate change requests.

Principles

These values ​​are divided into 12 principles common to all Agile methods:

  1. Priorization : The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Reactivity : Changing requirements are welcome even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  3. Iteration : A working product must be deliver frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Collaboration : Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Trust : Projects are built around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support their need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. Dialogue : The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Progression: Working product is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Estimation: Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Quality: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhance agility.
  10. Simplicity: Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
  11. Responsability: The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. Continuous improvement: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The methods considered as Agile are composed of practices respecting the framework described by the general principles and core values ​​which inspired the Agile Manifesto.

Practical application & tools

Practical application

Organization and participants

An Agile team is composed of all project stakeholders from the customer to the final producer. This team works independently and takes her own decisions about the direction and the realization of the project. The customer is regularly consulted to validate the product or update its needs.

Earliz allows you to open your project to all internal and external stakeholders, and to engage them into your project success.

Project flow

The course varies depending on the method but some points are common. The project evolves through successive iterations of constant duration. Each iteration does not necessarily provide a deliverable product but it must be considered done and be able to demonstrate its working.

Between each iteration, the team met to take stock of progress, the changing demands and priorities but also to think about ways of improving project.

By choosing a Scrum project mode while starting online, Earliz helps you to manage easily the priorities of each story, and all sprint iterations. Of course, you can also manage your project using a milestone project mode.

Monitoring and validation

The short iterations and the necessary validation of the working of the product require a clear vision of the project. Then metrics and graphs are particularly important. They allow us to track the progress of the project and validate the quality of the product.

Earliz helps you to go through this continuous improvement process using follow-up metrics, automatically calculated online based on team activities, in order to follow your project progress in real-time and to identify quickly main issues.

Agile Tools

Brainstorming

Many brainstorming methods are used by Agile teams to share everyone's ideas. These meetings can aim to formalize a new product, to solve a problem or to analyze a situation (this is known as post-mortem).

Most brainstorming meet the same pattern: a statement of the problem, proposing solutions on paper note, display the notes on a board or table and clustering solutions by themes to finally come to a conclusion with the tasks to be performed or ways of improvement.

For each project, Earliz provides you spaces dedicated to brainstorming, that can be accessed by all team members and keeps tracks of all your debates.

Serious games

Serious games are actually trainings or meetings for the Agile team to advance in the knowledge of the method. Their principle is to take a step back on the Agile method by reusing it in a non-professional context. The participants must then reach a goal of daily life for example, using the tools of the method. Thus, by acting uninhibited, they will learn to self-organize and create automation with other members of the team that will be useful once returned to their professional projects.

Thanks to Earliz, all members with an activated account can create their own and private projects with their friends or colleagues, and access it from any device!