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An Agile Introduction: Helpful Terms to Know

When you hear the word agile, what other words come to mind? Quick, responsive, efficient – using an agile approach in digital product creation is all of those things. 

Agile is a project management methodology widely used across software development teams. Mile6 uses the agile methodology to have a high functioning, efficient, collaborative, and, dare we say, agile relationship with our clients. It also helps set and manage project expectations, assess the value of functionality, and timing. Working in an agile way gives you, the client, control over the order we approach your project and lets us rapidly deliver features to you and your team. It’s a lightweight, high-value, responsive way to work. 

Though agile is aptly named, there are more terms to learn. – Let’s run through them real fast. 

Jump to a term:

Epics

Major pieces of a digital product’s functionality and features are organized into epics.

For example, an epic may consist of an entire system or an integration. Or it could include a substantial piece of functionality, such as a customer service version of an app. Entire epics are made up of individual tasks called stories.

Stories

We break out big requests or tasks into smaller pieces or stories.

We write the stories from the user’s perspective and in non-technical terms as much as possible to keep things simple and easier for anyone on the project to understand.

Stories in this state don’t need a lot of detail; they start at a high level and can be expanded upon later.

Sprints

We break up our work into sprints, which are focused work sessions done in a specified time frame where we tackle and complete stories. 

Before a sprint starts, we’ll work with a client in a Sprint Planning Meeting to determine priorities for which epic or individual stories go into a sprint and gather additional details for the story requirements.

Each story will have acceptance criteria that you will use when you review the work to determine if they are complete.

New information will often be uncovered during a sprint, and because of the nimble nature of an agile project, we immediately work it into the ongoing sprint. Once a sprint is done, it’s done; if something new needs added or changed, it becomes a new story for another sprint.

At the completion of a sprint, we will have delivered what was laid out in the initial Sprint Planning Meeting.

Backlog

The backlog consists of stories or ideas that don’t have many details yet.

To get an item out of the backlog and into a story, we need to create Details, Points, and Acceptance Criteria:

  • Details – granular features for each story
  • Points – points are not equal to hours and do not in themselves reflect “cost” or budget. The relationship between points and sprints is dynamic.
  • Acceptance Criteria – specific functionality a story must contain for it to pass testing and be marked as complete

Conclusion

When using Agile uncovering new needs in the middle of a project becomes an exciting possibility instead of detrimental derailing. It allows a new feature to be folded into a project smoothly rather than throwing off a strict timeline. Discoveries are addressed promptly and effectively, alleviating costly, complicated, and time-consuming updates. Agile is beloved by clients and developers alike as it facilitates rapid, efficient, and highly adaptable development.