Developers who are new to the Agile process may get a bit of a surprise when it comes to how things work. You may have heard stories about what it’s like to be on an Agile team, but you won’t really know it until you experience it.

Whether you’ve recently graduated or have worked on a Waterfall team, these tips will help make your transition to an Agile team easier.

Assess In-Depth Requirements

Completing a ticket can be a daunting task if it is not clear right from the beginning. Before assigning yourself to a ticket, you should always read over the details and acceptance criteria. I personally like to see tickets with both a subject and a predicate. This gives me a good idea of exactly what to do and the desired result after completing the ticket.

Get in the Zone

As a developer, you know when you are in the zone. By managing your time effectively you can truly pump out the big features and remove those bug tickets, quickly.

For myself, this involves maintaining a level of approachability. People love to talk, and if I look approachable they will. I’ve learned very quickly that I can counteract this by just popping on some headphones. It doesn’t matter if you are playing music or just listening to white noise. This will still give the desired impression.

Communicate

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Questions can lead to less work on specific tickets and a better overall completion rate for your team. Needless to say, you should be doing this anyway. Make sure you are open to answering other teammates questions or redirect them to someone who can.

When working on your tickets be sure to create comments about what you are about to do and tag the people it might have an impact on. This is very important, as when pull requests are merged in, the last thing one wants to do is deal with conflicts.

Don’t Be Afraid of Estimation

Ticket estimation can be a nerve-racking task for someone new to the process. Don’t worry, just take the estimation cards from your scrum master and estimate! No one is perfect, but by participating you are subconsciously learning how the system works, along with getting to know the ins and outs of how your team benchmarks their tickets. By figuring out their standards, your estimations will obtain more of an impact.

I also encourage you to go ahead and stop thinking that the points equate to hours. This is not true about the agile process. Instead, look at the point value of a ticket as an estimation of the effort that will need to be put into achieving the ticket.

Benefit from Pair Programming

A large portion of the developer community is shy by nature. That is okay. I am an extroverted-introvert myself, but I really love pair programming. Knowledge sharing should be encouraged, as it keeps people from doing redundant and obscure tasks that otherwise could have been prevented. Pair programming allows developers to work together on the same piece of code and ricochet ideas off one another. This sharing of knowledge also helps produce more future proof code.

Don’t Get Stingy with Code

You don’t own a single piece of the code base, so don’t act like it. If your scrum master tells you that you will forever be working on one part of the code, then it’s not Agile — it’s detrimental.

Be Efficient in Stand Up Summaries

When I first started working at SmartFile, I tried to write down every piece of information I could about the tickets I completed, then I would present them at the daily standup meeting. Needless to say, after about two standups, I realized why this was a waste.

From that point on I started summarizing the ones I completed into a few sentences, then asking any questions I had. Also, think about mentioning what tickets you are going to work on going forward. This way everyone has a moment to respond in case another coworker is already working on it, they just forgot to mark it as in-progress.

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About Taylor Brazelton

Taylor is an associate software engineer at SmartFile.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Developers Stepping into the Agile Process”

  1. Why do people always make this assumption developers are shy by nature. This is not true, just look at the CEOs of all major software companies, its usually the Software Engineers. You can be anything and still be shy, even actors can be shy.

    1. Offended by everything much? Assumptions are necessary in this world; especially if you are a developer. Why would you read this post if you don’t even understand that simple concept?

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