The Agile development technique is attractive because teams using it help push new features to the customer, and bugs are addressed much faster compared to the waterfall method. However, adopting an Agile development environment isn't flipping a switch: It involves changing both culture and program structure to reap the benefits of more frequent updates. Therefore, leaders will find switching to Agile easier if they embrace it as a gradual process.
Immediately making every project an Agile project is a recipe for failure. Instead, leaders should start with converting a single project to Agile and — from there — expand one project at a time. Leaders need to learn how to convert a project, so running a prototype or a pilot project will help them understand the conversion process and learn the differences in how these projects need to be managed.
Leaders should organize their team differently to thrive in an Agile environment. Keeping track of who is working on what needs to receive more attention because it's going to change more frequently. Leaders may discover that tools like boards and ticketing systems help keep staff organized and on track. It is also important to avoid micromanaging in an Agile environment. If a developer misses something, you will have the opportunity to address it in the near future.
Program code should also be structured differently to work well with Agile development. It is easier for Agile teams to work with applications that have been branched out and segmented to minimize how much code gets blocked off when making updates; this means you avoid preventing other developers from working on another update. Code compartmentalization is more important than ever.
Agile development needs to keep its moving parts in motion to succeed, so leaders need to promote a culture where developers get in the habit of minimizing the amount of time they need to block off code from the rest of the team. Encourage employees to finish what they have started since letting code sit unfished can prevent developers from attending to other important fixes. Developers should branch off the code they need to work on, make the changes, and immediately restore that code to the trunk.
Leaders should also accept that while you have the pressure to push new features and updates faster without spending as much time debugging and testing, you also have the capability to push fixes faster too in the event that you do make a mistake. Don't avoid pushing updates that are ready to go because you're waiting for another unrelated part of the program to finish. Shift to incremental improvements, but realize sometimes you will need larger overhauls. Leaders should look into automated testing tools to streamline this process.
Leaders don't want to create an environment that is just "waterfall, but more frequent." If your business is looking to switch its development from the waterfall method to Agile, a gradual, organized transition will yield the best results.