Agile Workflows: A Step-By-Step Guide To Building Your Own

Implementing an agile workflow can be a great way to deliver outstanding results and increase collaboration – but how do you put this popular technique into practice? We’ve created this guide to help you turn your team into agile ninjas.

What is an agile workflow?

Agile is an iterative project management technique that emerged from the world of software development and breaks large projects down into smaller tasks. These tasks are then ranked in order of importance to the overall goal, and agile teams work continuously on delivering them, starting with the highest priorities. Regular feedback is a feature of agile working, with constant reviews to highlight potential issues, which can then be resolved in the next iteration of the product.

There are two distinct frameworks teams can use within agile. Scrum methodology divides project tasks into ‘sprints’ – blocks of work usually lasting two weeks. At the end of this period, work is reviewed and approved or, if necessary, repeated to solve any outstanding problems. 

Kanban is a more adaptable framework that allows priorities to change as the project evolves. Tasks are organised in different columns on a kanban board and can be prioritised or put on the backburner as appropriate. As a result, project timelines are more fluid than in a scrum setup. This type of agile workflow suits an organisation in which project requirements change regularly. 

How does an agile workflow differ from other techniques?

Traditional project management methodologies, such as the waterfall approach, rely on a linear structure, where an overall plan is devised at the start and any single part of the project cannot be completed until the preceding step in the plan is done. So, nothing is delivered until all the stages are complete.

Agile projects work in the opposite way, with steps often undertaken and completed concurrently. This means completed work can be reviewed continuously and delivered to the customer.

What are the benefits of an agile workflow?

The clue is in the name; an agile workflow gives you the capacity to work with more… well, agility. In a traditional, linear, workflow, it can be difficult to adapt if the project changes or additional requirements emerge from clients, because it means rewriting the plan or squeezing in extra steps. With an agile approach, it is much easier to take on extra tasks or reorganise your work as priorities change.

Agile workflows can help deliver greater customer satisfaction, because clients are able to be involved throughout the process, offering feedback where appropriate and ensuring the final product meets their requirements.

There are also organisational benefits; working in an agile way offers a chance to look at process optimisation within your business to identify any parts of your workflow that could be improved or removed. Agile methodologies are, by their nature, highly collaborative, so they can help foster strong bonds, good communication and a healthy culture of feedback between team members.

Agile methodologies: how to write a workflow

Whether you decide to follow the scrum or kanban methodology, an agile workflow follows similar steps. 

1. Ideation: set your vision for the project – what needs to be achieved and how this can be broken down into smaller tasks.

2. Planning: in many ways, this is the most important part of the agile workflow. Decide which tasks are central to the overall project, set priorities accordingly, and divide your team up to work on those priorities.

3. Execution: teams work on their selected tasks, either as part of defined sprints in the scrum framework or on the more fluid timelines prescribed in kanban.

4. Testing, review, and feedback: the fruits of your team’s labours are tested and critiqued. Feedback can be used to create further iterations of the product or service until it is ready.

5. Delivery: the task is completed. The team then moves onto the next priority.

Software that can help you plan and implement agile workflows

GetBusy

If you want to organise your agile team, GetBusy has all the functions you need to ensure your project goes off without a hitch. Secure, encrypted tasks can be sent to anyone – whether or not they are a GetBusy user – making it the ideal platform to coordinate teams distributed across the world or involving third-party contractors. 

Features

- Organise and group tasks individually and across whole teams – perfect for sprint
- Clear, accountable task workflows help show who is doing what
- Set due dates and deadlines with automated reminders, to keep everyone on track

Pricing

  • £50 per month for 5 licenses *

Verdict 

GetBusy’s intuitive management tools really do take the stress out of running an agile team. 

Asana 

A cloud-based project management platform, Asana comes with a host of tools designed with agile working in mind. These include a sprint planner to make sure your team maximises its productivity, and a handy tracker to manage different iterations and launches.

Features

- Central feedback hub to help pinpoint emerging issues
- Product roadmap that puts individual tasks in overall context
- Conversations messaging that allows for easy communication between distributed teams

Pricing

  • From £9.49 per user per month*

Verdict

A great tool to help boost your team’s agility.

Monday.com 

Promising to streamline your workflows, as well as make it easy to track and manage projects, Monday.com is a versatile option for planning and executing your agile workflows. It is another cloud-based system.

Features

- Customisable sprint templates to suit your agile workflow
- Colour-coding to make it easy to identify tasks and assign team members and due dates
- Reporting features to track and assess sprint effectiveness

Pricing

  • From £7 per user per month (minimum team size: three)*

Verdict

A clean interface makes it easy to stay on top of multiple tasks.

ClickUp

When it comes to agile planning, ClickUp provides all the features you would expect, including kanban boards and task lists. It also has a highly customisable interface and an array of analysis options to help you measure all aspects of your project.

Features

- Project budgeting tool
- Visualisation of team member workload to help plan projects
- Reporting options, including burndown and velocity charts

Pricing

  • From £3.87 per user per month*

Verdict 

Competitive pricing and detailed reporting help ClickUp stand out.

In summary, there are a number of great platforms out there that help support your companies agile methodologies. Find out more about GetBusy by speaking to one of our qualified consultants or better yet, book in a 15-minute demo!  

*Prices correct at time of writing

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