Building an Agile Workflow: Definition, Principles and Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 2, 2022 | Published October 8, 2021

Updated November 2, 2022

Published October 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Agile methodology allows project managers to adapt to new information and provides a host of benefits for customer satisfaction. Many companies, including those outside the software industry, may be interested in using aspects of this methodology to improve their project development processes. Understanding Agile workflows might help you better integrate these processes into your teams and their projects.

In this article, we discuss what an Agile workflow is, describe its principles, explain how to build one and explore its primary benefits.

What is an Agile workflow?

An Agile workflow is a type of workflow where multiple people with different specializations perform separate tasks to complete a single project. A workflow is a schedule that outlines how a project moves from one team or task to the next. Groups of tasks that complete one portion of the project at a time are called sprints. Agile methodology prioritizes flexibility by responding to changes that occur during project development. Many companies in the software industry use the Agile method to manage projects. Here are the stages of a typical Agile project:

  1. Concept: At this stage, you or your managers envision the project.

  2. Inception: During this state, you select team members, secure funding and determine the project's requirements.

  3. Construction: The development team works to meet the requirements and incorporates feedback.

  4. Release: The project goes through testing and training before you release it into production.

  5. Production: You continue to support the creation of the project as it moves through production, addressing any problems that arise.

  6. Retirement: The product gets removed from the workflow and replaced with a new one.

Read more: What Is Agile Project Management?

4 core principles of the Agile method

The Agile method has four fundamental principles that highlight the values behind the method, including:

1. Individuals and interactions

The Agile method focuses on the user more than past project management methods. It centers on observation, analysis and development of ideas from interacting with users and consumers. This may help you create products that provide solutions and make consumers' lives easier.

Read more: What Is Agile Project Management? Values, Principles and Steps

2. Working software

With the Agile methodology, interaction and collaboration are more important than perfection. It focuses on having working products and improving them consistently instead of waiting until a product is complete to move to the next stage of development. This method focuses on the minimum viable product, or MVP, because it supports putting a product on the market to get feedback from users.

Related: FAQ: What Are the 4 Agile Values? (Plus Principles)

3. Collaboration

The Agile methodology promotes collaboration between a product's users and the members of your team. This often means that you release parts of a project to the public for feedback instead of the whole product all at once. This can inspire a feeling of collaboration with the audience that endears your products to them.

Related: What Is an Agile Environment? (And How To Incorporate One at Work)

4. Responsiveness

The last principle of the Agile method is responding to change. This requires team members within the workflow to address changes in market trends and the needs of the consumers. Then, they can alter the direction of the product to match the needs of the consumer. They use analytics and user-consumer metrics to determine the responses of consumers.

Related: Agile Requirements: A Definitive Guide (With Benefits)

Tips for Agile methodology

Here are some tips you can follow to create your Agile workflow for your team:

Document repeated processes

When creating a workflow, leave room for innovation while providing a framework for your team to finish work on schedule. Record the tasks that are done repeatedly and figure out when your team completes them during development. This can give you a framework for your development process, and then you can replicate this process for each new project.

Related: 14 Agile Characteristics for Project Management Success

Plan the steps

List the steps of the project to determine what tasks you need to accomplish to complete the project. Then, you can separate each task into sprints. Think about your end goal and use it as a guide to establishing what steps your team might take to reach each goal. Collaborate with your team to ensure all perspectives and methods are available for the planning phase.

Estimate the time for each step

Once you and your team agree upon steps for the workflow, they can provide estimates for how long it may take them to complete their tasks. These estimations can help you determine how to stay on schedule. You can set reminders for your teammates about these estimates, but Agile methodology provides the flexibility to move deadlines as necessary so they aren't so rigid.

Refine your workflow

As you develop your workflow from project to project, your team members can continue to improve their processes. Once you have all the steps planned and visualized, you may realize that you can eliminate redundancies or tasks you thought depended on each other that can be independent. This helps ensure future projects are as efficient as possible.

Benefits of Agile methodologies

Incorporating the Agile mindset into your workflows can create products that are produced faster and with more consumer feedback. Here are some benefits to consider:

Improved quality

An Agile project rarely progresses in a straight line, so you can test aspects of a product as soon as you complete its sprint instead of waiting to complete the entire product. This means that testing happens continuously at every step of the product. Workflow can improve the quality of the product by testing every task as an individual product. Testers can find more bugs and apply solutions consistently over time instead of all at once. This structure of testing and releasing products can lead to higher-quality products specific to your consumers' needs.

Related: Agile vs. Waterfall: Which Methodology Is Right for You?

Clear visibility

This methodology can also provide you with a better understanding of how your product grows and changes because you share it at every stage. This provides total visibility to your consumers and teammates. You can consistently share updates with your teammates through collaboration and adjust the workflow to reflect the updates within the project, creating visibility in your team.

Related: What Are Agile Frameworks? (Plus How To Choose One)

Early detection

Testing every single process or part of your service is a good way to find hidden defects in your product. The earlier you identify these problems and solve them, the easier the development process can be. Identifying these problems can also help you save money in other parts of the selling process.

Related: What Is an Agile Team?

Continuous feedback

Incorporating analytics into your workflow is an important part of the Agile method. Your team is continuously getting feedback from users that can inform your company of how consumers are receiving their products. A workflow allows you to incorporate that feedback into the current product, increasing your customer satisfaction without increasing your workload. Customers may appreciate the frequent feedback because it ensures the team can meet their specific needs.

Related: How To Ask for Feedback From Customers

Employee satisfaction

Agile methodology encourages more active involvement from every member of the team. As they work individually on specific tasks, they're responsible for the quality of their work. To create a cohesive product when working independently, developers can communicate with each other, creating an open and innovative environment. Employees can also work on multiple smaller processes. This differs from some types of manufacturing where each worker performs the same task repeatedly. This type of workflow can lead to higher employee satisfaction because they have more autonomy.

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