Using Agile Development to Maximize Value

Agile Development Process

The eCPIC community is diverse. Our user needs evolve constantly, and our stakeholders often balance their time across multiple roles they play in their own organizations. To match these realities, we at the eCPIC PMO employ an Agile development approach, which allows us to maximize value for our member agencies and to ensure we are delivering a product that meets our end users’ needs. Working with Agile coaches and thought leaders from our support team, we have established an Agile development process which:

  • Feeds off continuous feedback from our user base
  • Embraces changing requirements
  • Emphasizes learning through discovery
  • Drives for continuous improvement
  • Empowers full-team collaboration

Here’s how our development process works in practice:

The eCPIC team operates in two- to three-week sprints, which are short periods in which the team develops, tests, and delivers code on regular intervals. Sprints allow the team to iterate on existing work, focus on developing code that is client-ready, and solicit ongoing feedback from the community to ensure that we are delivering solutions that meets the community’s needs.

Development efforts are led by a Product Owner from our team and a Proxy Product Owner from the eCPIC team. The Product Owner and Proxy Product Owner work closely to ensure that the team realizes the Folio vision. The Product Owner and Proxy Product Owner review and size backlog tasks for each sprint, and identify testing strategies to ensure the highest quality of completed deliverables. They also prioritize upcoming tasks, working to determine the most valuable and highest-priority items that will receive attention first.

The team holds Agile ceremonies, meetings that help to facilitate Agile development. The Sprint Planning meeting determines which tasks will be completed in the three-week sprint, ensuring that the highest-priority items are completed first. The Sprint Review allows the Product Owner and Proxy Product Owner to approve all completed items, and the Retrospective allows the team to reflect on their performance and identify process improvements for the next sprint.

Although we have embraced Agile development, Agile informs all aspects of the team’s processes. The team – across implementation, quality assurance, and development – operates as a cohesive, results-oriented delivery unit. The teams all meet daily in scrum meetings to discuss priority tasks, ensure that roadblocks to progress are removed, and promote cross-team transparency so that each team member can drive toward a successful sprint. The team is co-located, lending to a collaborative and fluid teamwide approach.

Agile guides the function of the entire team, and has huge implications for Folio and the FESCOM community. Right now, the team is hard at work, defining and developing the most impactful and meaningful functionality for Folio as quickly as we can. We are continuously iterating as we work toward that goal.  But we can’t do it alone. We need the continued support and engagement of member agencies and end users.  We use the feedback they give our User Experience team through their participation in community meetings, agency one-on-one meetings, and wireframe testing sessions to iterate on our requirements. They also feed our agile backlog as we continue working toward the Folio finish line.