Agile Methodology for Enterprise Support and Maintenance

Agile methodology has actually spread widely and now its being used on industrial level. Most of the product majors are embracing it, which promises to settle numerous complaints that Waterfall is expected to have actually created. The brief, time-bound sprints with predefined goals and the total style that Agile purports have actually even apprehended the fancy of project implementation. Thus many software-implementing organizations are engaging with their customers relying on project strategies based on the Agile methodology.

The methodology has a special influence on project planning and execution right from the requirement-gathering process. Here are few influences and challenges of the new norm, especially for software organizations with products that have been on the market for greater than a decade (and hence are fully grown) and are market leaders in their domain names.

A regular product life cycle goes from demand gathering (from consumer, market, or the competition) to development, quality assurance, launch, and support. A large section of engineering is dedicated to assisting and dealing with client concerns. A whole system of consumer support, project management, design, and release management is devoted to support existing clients during execution, post-implementation support, and updates.

For such mature companies, Waterfall methodology was the way of life for all new improvements. Bug or patch fixing was driven purely based on client expectations and the patch-fix cycle.

However, with Agile becoming the norm, not only development teams but support groups are embracing its techniques. The “new normal” is bringing a lot of changes to these support groups. As would be the case in most support teams, they’re utilized to taking care of bugs based on inflow, ability, and escalated client priority or intensity. Though consumer concern seriousness still needs to stay the driving force for the bug-fixing process, embracing Agile techniques brings a number of new elements to this process.

Several of the crucial adjustments and difficulties that can be noted throughout Agile adoption for these groups include:

Sprint backlog: Developing and subscribing to a sprint backlog was totally a new dimension for the support and maintenance groups. Generally, it needed the teams to evaluate all the bugs/issues (which now comprised the product backlog) and work with the product lovers to scrub and story-point these so that the Scrum group could possibly prepare which insects they would target in recurring and future sprints. The team, which in the past required the manager or group bring about delegate the pests, was now anticipated to evaluate, gauge, and story-point the insects, and afterwards subscribe to repairing them within a stipulated sprint period.
Volatility of support: Support and maintenance groups do not work with a wishlist but have issue backlogs. This made sprint planning, and sticking to the strategy, an obstacle in itself, due to the fact that an escalated client issue was always endangering to interrupt the sprint and hog the Scrum teams time and resources.
Scrum team dynamics: Aligning design, quality control groups, client service (very first level of support) teams, and product lovers in single groups was a logistics and accessibility obstacle, particularly when the ratio of QA and product owners sources was manipulated.
Managing client expectations: Many customer support solutions have SLAs (service level arrangements), which regulate a TAT (turnaround time) for reaction and resolution. The initial reaction forces analysis and engagement of first-level support and engineering support groups. With the sprint backlog coming to be the functioning list for the design support teams, the first-level groups had to review their technique to meeting client SLAs.
Release and build process: The PMO (project management office) also was needed to line up to the new process and make it possible for the support groups to sign in codes and confirm them within the sprint. This mandated administration to discipline what is nearly a daily build process is at the various other end of the range from the Waterfall technique, where the builds are created simply at the end of the development pattern.
Rubbing the flaws: Sprint planning called for the team to commit to the prepare for the sprint. The support development group scrubbed the backlog, assessed it, designated story indicate it, and registered for attaining resolution within the sprint. This involved that the ScrumMaster, along with his/her team, assessed the whole collection of bugs and solutions that the product owner had actually produced. Unlike taking pests as they come or as the team repairs them, this method allowed the team to review the pests together in an organized means and designate story issues based upon their complexity.
Time-bound sprints: As mandated by Agile, a sprint must be time-bound and not last beyond three to four weeks. In support/maintenance groups, this is a new principle, because it forces pests to be repaired and confirmed by QA employee within the sprint, and for insects and fixes to be closed in that sprint period lest they spill over and therefore reduced the speed shown in the burn-down chart. The time-bound task brought an awareness of urgency and goal-setting that otherwise has actually been hard to carry out in the support circumstance.
QA and development team collaboration: In the common Waterfall method, the development individuals finish the coding and hand over the develop for QA tasks. Agile make this process a lot more like a small squirt compared to a waterfall. It needs the development group to get the code QA-verified within the sprint, therefore enabling healthy team characteristics.
Visibility: The Agile process requires that management is associated with team tasks. The engagement of senior management in the sprint planning and sprint retrospective meetings made it possible for the support teams to achieve more exposure on management radar, which or else seldom occurs unless accelerations arrive tiers. In my experience, Agile makes it possible for the ScrumMaster to project the teams achievements in even more structured and time-bound means, bringing management’s focus and focus to the support teams’ successes.
To conclude, Agile might not be a direct fit with the customer-support process, however it is undoubtedly an effective methodology that can allow managers to improve team morale, performance, and process to attain boosted consumer satisfaction and employee commitment.

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