Tips To Create an Effective Agile Communication Plan

Written By Chiraag Thomas

effective agile communication planIn software development, many technological experts consider it essential to follow the agile methodology, which is a continuous iterative process that takes place during the software development and testing process.

This practice follows a cycle that revolves around planning, implementing, and evaluating ideas, thereby changing the model according to customers’ needs. The agile model is different from the waterfall model, as development and testing activities operate in parallel.

Through agile management, teams can break up projects into different stages to concentrate on iterating and improving each stage individually. Agile methodology offers numerous tools, enabling developers to collaborate within their teams and deliver value to customers.

In this post I’ll give you some concrete tips on how to create an effective agile communication plan, which will allow you to make faster and better decisions, ultimately increasing your productivity and effectiveness.

Values of Agile Methodology

In general, we can detect four distinct core values in the agile methodology, as follows.

Individuals and Interactions

Traditionally, software teams focus on choosing the best processes and tools before developing software. However, according to the agile manifesto, people working with the process are as important as these things.

To succeed in developing robust software, you must include the right people in your software team. There is no use in having the best tools if your team isn’t capable of working with them. On the other hand, these individuals’ internal communication skills are the essence of developing better software. When teams interact with each other effectively, they can solve numerous problems through collaboration.

Working Software

Previously, developers believed that creating a project required extensive documentation for every work area. The process was structured and mapped out before any development. The completion of the product depended on the plans and documentation. However, this limited the designing and development operations. Teams were bound to follow the plan, and there was less scope to implement any update or change that could simplify the interface and enhance the quality of the outcome.

In contrast, agile plans support the concept of completing projects according to customers’ requirements. This approach involves a document-as-you-go technique that enables a development team to implement new innovative ideas and work according to the client’s changing requirements. Agile methodology offers flexible and adaptable planning for every stage until you reach the final product.

Customer Collaboration

Agile principles emphasize keeping customers in the loop through the development process—a stark contrast to traditional methods. Previous methodologies only involved customers before and after development. This created errors and delayed the process because of communication barriers.

The traditional approach did not guarantee a proper check and balance. On the other hand, an agile communication plan maintains connection at every stage of development to ensure proper services to customers. These principles focus on customer satisfaction and providing relevant results.

Responding To Change

Agile values are different from the management methodology because values do not encourage elaborate planning before starting the project. In fact, they are against sticking to the initial plans.

According to agile methodology, the circumstances can change at any time during the development process. Even the customers can ask for additional features or change the ones they don’t want. Therefore, project teams should be adaptable and ensure complete customer satisfaction.

The Project Charter and How To Monitor Daily Progress

The project charter enables the team to officially start the development process. The charter is a document that directs the team in a similar direction through reference sources and authorizes the project. Furthermore, this document provides a sense of purpose from the project’s start till the final product.

The project charter is essential, as it provides a complete picture that indicates the project’s future. A project charter includes the project manager’s name and defines his or her authority. This document allows the project manager to accomplish the objectives by utilizing organizational resources.

The agile methodology requires dividing the project into different stages. Thus, different team members are responsible for performing various activities. However, communicating the progress of the development process can be challenging. That’s why managers should monitor the daily progress of the employees. Here are some effective methods to follow to monitor daily progress:

  • Sprint Planning Meetings. Sprint planning meetings enable the team to focus on similar goals. This technique brings new ideas to the table to create a productive project. Furthermore, managers can get employees on the same page and streamline the process.
  • Stand-up Meetings. Stand-up meetings help to encourage the teams and build their psychological identity. They get the opportunity to communicate with their colleagues regularly and share new and innovative ideas. Teams can improve their collaboration skills and attain valuable knowledge about the project.
  • Demo Meetings. Through demo meetings, teams can motivate each other and show progress in developing better software. This enables teams to focus on providing the clients a proper presentation to convey knowledge about the project.
  • Retrospective Meetings. Retrospective meetings facilitate transparency within the teams. The individuals receive specific time and platforms to share their queries and find solutions to specific problems. These meetings help in clearing the confusion, answering questions, and solving complaints effectively.

Principles To Follow for Effective Agile Communication

effective agile communication planThe agile communication strategy engages and connects the team. For better and instant changes, teams should collaborate and exchange information quickly. However, the increasing number of channels promoting suitable communication can be intimidating for the team.

Most developers work remotely, using several ways to communicate. For instance, they need to connect through cell phones, emails, cloud collaboration, and many other tools. The agile communications plan enables employees to access channels, arrange them with priority, and organize communication. Thus, team members can exchange data and communicate efficiently in real-time. This offers instant decision-making and reduces errors.

Here are the core principles to follow for effective agile communication:

  • Enhance the Reporting. Agile communication offers collaboration through proper channels so each employee can share their work and make their efforts count. Therefore, it enables individuals to share their completed tasks through the proper channel. As agile methodology depends on the effectiveness of the product, it requires proper demonstration and progress.
  • Increase Visibility. Through proper communication, the project managers can increase the transparency and visibility of the project. When management tracks all individuals’ activities, they can promote project goals effectively and encourage the team.
  • Make sure everyone on the team is accountable. Agile communication ensures that every individual is delegated responsibilities according to their function. Your team members have to play their role to promote effective agile communication. Furthermore, it enables the managers to visualize the contribution of each employee toward the project.

Think of it like this: Good communication ensures product quality, and agile planning ensures good communication.

Agile Communication Means Enhanced Productivity

Software development is not one person’s job. As a result, it requires collaboration and communication. Through proper communication, you can equip your team with valuable tools and provide proper resources.

At the same time, with proper channels, employees can stay up-to-date on progress and changes to the product. Similarly, teams can solve customer queries and other issues collectively. Good communication encourages employees and promotes collaboration among different groups.

While utilizing the agile communication approach, your best practice should be funnelling the conversation within teams. Therefore employees can communicate with the help of proper channels and promote transparency. Agile communication enables the development teams to make faster and better decisions from the start to the end of the project.