Untold’s success has been driven by highly collaborative, Agile development partnerships.
In our four walls, Agile software development is more than practices such as pair programming, test-driven development, stand-ups, planning sessions, and sprints. It is more than a focus on collaboration and the self-organizing team. It is more than cross-functional teams.
It's a philosophical ecosystem that shapes and informs everything we do.
Our daily scrums take our entire team – from developers to project managers to operations to marketing – into account and every day business operations use the same tooling as our Agile development staff. We believe firmly in the spirit of Agile development, and do our best to ensure that process elevates, rather that restricts, progress.
Agile in the Discovery Process
Agile documentation is produced – usually during the first discovery sprint – in the form of user stories, tasks, and other tickets. They are all stored in JIRA Agile, then estimated and communally organized. As development continues, more tickets are added and a velocity of the team’s progress is collected, generating accurate estimates of when specific deliverables can be expected to be completed.
Ideally, all agreements on Agile Methodology were determined during the discovery phase. Agile at development kickoff is focused on the details of time and length of daily scrum, sprint windows, sprint planning, and sprint retrospectives.
Agile in the Development Process
In development, Untold combines adherence to the spiritual tenets of Agile with the flexibility our clients and partners require. The Untold team’s commitment to Agile often elevates us to mentorship status as we help teach folks that come from more traditional waterfall approaches to software. This affords Untold the experience needed to implement Agile Methodology into even the most traditional software projects.
Ideally, a tactical approach to Agile processes can be agreed on and implemented. Untold prefers to plan, estimate, build, test, and deploy in two-week increments. This allows the team to be flexible in the way they approach problems and architect solutions. Additionally, because the goal is to deliver a working product at the end of every two-week “sprint,” the team can catch issues before they threaten the overall success of a project.
Daily scrums – along with sprint planning and sprint retros – complete Untold’s tactical Agile approach. Upon project launch, we flex the development process to focus on any lingering bug fixes, and create a well-groomed backlog for iterative development. Opportunities for product improvements often happen throughout the development process and, via Agile, all ideas are estimated, organized, and thoroughly vetted.
As Agile Methodology can be configured in a number of ways, the Untold team strives to make it work optimally for our clients and partners. Every organization, and every project, are different, and should be treated differently. One fully-prescriptive set of rules will never work in all cases. We welcome conversations at any point during our relationship on how to best configure our Agile approach in order to thrive with our clients and partners.
The Evolution of SAFe Methodology
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a version of Agile reserved for large, highly-matrixed organizations building complex projects across multiple internal and external teams. As a scalable framework, it implements both Kanban and scrum in enterprise software development.
SAFe isn’t Untold’s preferred method of executing Agile, but that is likely due to our value within our most successful projects. The Untold team is nimble, adaptable, and spry. We’re ideal partners in software projects where we can be embedded in our clients’ and partners’ internal development teams where increased velocity and impact in software projects is appreciated. SAFe seems better suited for monolithic software projects where velocity and impact are viewed as more dangerous than positive.
That said, many incredibly capable people see value in the SAFe methodology for building modern software. It is absolutely likely that SAFe, in the right configuration, could be a fit for the Untold team.