Tips for effective collaboration while working on multiple products
Over the years, an increasing number of organizations have shifted away from waterfall development methodologies, and have begun gravitating more heavily toward agile processes in an effort to expedite the time to market, and achieve a greater level of product flexibility. Different departments – development, operations, QA management, designers, stakeholders – now tend to work more closely with one another in an attempt to create a leaner, more efficient project lifecycle. The result is generally smaller software builds that are released more frequently, sometimes even every day.
Undoubtedly, transitioning to this way of doing things comes with its own hurdles, but the end result is generally worth the effort. What's more, there are a variety of test case tools available that help organizations complete agile projects as smoothly as possible.
In many cases, a single company might have more than one application being built and/or maintained simultaneously. That said, it's hard enough to achieve seamless collaboration when working on one solution. So what happens when there are multiple agile projects in the works at one time? More specifically, how can teams maintain effective collaboration while juggling multiple projects? Let's take a look:
Chart a clear course for each project
It's true that the responsiveness of agile is part of what makes it so alluring, but you'd be gravely mistaken if you assumed that you could fly by the seat if your pants. At the end of the day, you're still creating a product, and that deliverable need to be well thought out and purposeful if it is to serve its end users.
According to TechTarget contributor Karl E. Wiegers, developing a release strategy is vital to the success of any application, but is especially important in an agile environment, particularly in one that is responsible for creating more than one product line. In your release plans, you will need to create sensible flowcharts that identify what each release for each different product will entail. Bear in mind, the beauty of agile is that these plans can change at a moment's notice if need be, but ideally, the course should be charted from the beginning.
User story mapping
To this end, it's important that stakeholders have a way to identify the top priorities for these separate product lines. A user story, as defined by TechTarget is "a tool used in agile software development to capture a description of a software feature from an end-user perspective." Unlike a release plan, user story mapping is more about knowing with features are most important to the users. Priorities are visually displayed on flow charts that are designated for each individual project that is currently in session.
Combined, release planning and user story mapping help teams avoid conflating deadlines and software objectives, respectively. This ensures that everyone continues working according to the same timeline, and with the same goals in mind.
Streamline processes with the right tools
When it comes to the actual execution stages, there are a number of processes that will be running simultaneously, and for multiple projects. As such, an intuitive, feature-rich project management solution will be necessary to keep all of these functions in order – especially in cases where there is dependency between workflows, which is typical for most agile teams. A big part of accomplishing this is eliminating redundancies in the workflow.
An example of this comes in the form of regression testing. With each change made to a deliverable, testers must ensure that nothing has broken. Often, this requires running the same test cases over and over again. By using agile test management that supports automation integration, these repetitive tests can be automatically run with each sprint. Furthermore, they can be saved for later use for other projects where they may be relevant. This can cut back on the total number of test scripts that will need to be manually created. As a result, there will be fewer tasks for QA managers to stay on top of between releases.
By integrating with the main software project management tool being used for these projects, this testing solution also makes it easy for developers, stakeholders and testers to be in constant, real-time synchronization. QA teams can test code as it's being written, and developers can see defects as they're identified. Everything happens in real time, as a team. Combined with strong planning, processes will be inherently organized and streamlined, and as such, they will be collaborative.