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How an embedded Agile methodology drives collaboration

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Will Hoad's picture
By Will Hoad

Agile isn’t a tool, it’s a mindset – that’s what CACI Information Intelligence (CACI IIG) believes. Woven into the fabric at the company across all teams, it propels continuous improvement through iterations, strong collaboration and feedback loops to constantly adjust and re-assess what will deliver the most value to users.

CACI IIG uses this methodology to teach and guide its customers. It's not just about accepting a brief and moving forward to an end deadline, but working in a collaborative way to solve challenges and encourage a transparent environment – together. This blog looks at how this is achieved.

Client benefits

In short, Agile reduces risk. Projects are regularly reflected upon by gathering critical feedback from customers, releasing early software versions little by little. Will explains that this involves the customer at every stage of the project, creating a strong relationship and an honest, transparent and open environment. “This usually leads to the product actually being what users need, rather than what they guessed ages ago,” he says.

This way of working means you don’t have to wait until the end of the project for customer feedback and can react flexibly throughout and adapt after each sprint cycle. Not only does this include the customer throughout every iteration of the project, but it also focuses the software in the right direction at every stage, allowing for the best result.

A culture of continuous improvement

“The Agile mindset creates a great internal team environment,” Will explains. “Building teams of different skilled people all working together with the same aim really helps everyone gel together and collaborate.”

The notion of continuous improvement is something that is always kept in mind at CACI IIG and helps encourage every team member to always reflect and improve their work. This environment also means software engineers, testers, users and everyone involved in the project all communicate more with each other. “This is perhaps something that’s lacking in other businesses,” Will says, “and is a crucial benefit many could learn from.”

Agile is a process that only works if everyone is onboard and understands the need for this way of working – if it is simply implemented in an organisation as a new dogma with an off-the-shelf solution to follow, it won’t receive the uptake or embedded mindset approach required. If every team member understands the need to innovate and collaborate and ‘be’ Agile, people will flourish. A top-down process to organisational change certainly helps to encourage this new way of thinking and working.

Personal development for software engineers

A large, often overlooked benefit of Agile working is the personal development impact it has on staff, underlines Will. Crucially, it empowers team members by giving them autonomy and responsibility.

This adaptive way of working encourages engineers to take on multiple roles within a project, meaning a wider skillset improvement. It also means employees are encouraged to be flexible, using skills outside their main discipline in the pursuit of delivering the most value to users.

It also propels new approaches to problem solving and providing feedback – from discussing problems in a cross-discipline environment to tackling a skill area outside of their own, the end result is often a vast improvement than when it’s worked on solo with only one person’s bias and viewpoint.

Will says: “It allows team members to broaden their abilities. Rather than only being able to solve problems in one space and waiting for others to do the rest, they will be able to solve any challenge. This enables the team to work on what's most important for customers.”

While the tools and processes surrounding Agile are constantly iterating and improving, Will advises keeping in mind the idea of constant improvement. “That’s what should stay the same,” he says. “There’s always space to do better.”

If you want to find out more about IIG then click on the link below or if you want to get in touch about anything from our blog email us at info@caci.co.uk.

Will Hoad, software engineer and delivery manager at CACI Information Intelligence explains how Agile working practices drive flexibility, continuous improvement and a happy team.

How an embedded Agile methodology drives collaboration

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