I have worked in a variety of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) systems over the years. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. From $300 million dollar web platforms to $40 million video games, the factors contributing to team process and success must be balanced against the three factors of time, cost, and accuracy. I have found that with a great ALM, the level of collaboration between members is enhanced greatly.
With methods such as Agile, team building is extremely quick, thus resulting in instant progress. As well, to the degree that a company endorses formal Agile processes and daily analysis of productivity, the Scrum members feel less burdened and more productive. I prefer to engage all the basic frameworks of Agile from daily Sprint meetings to Burndown Sheets to Sprint Retrospectives. These fundamental elements are critical in getting the basic benefits of such methodologies such as Agile.
Kanban was my first methodology having come from the video gaming industry. Carefully designed phases with limited milestone loads allowed us to build billions of dollars in games on time and bug free. Compared to Agile, the benefits have to do with crushing schedules where we’re expected to create the impossible. Kanban can also be instrumental for legacy developers that refuse to endorse methods such as Agile.
Religion vs Business
Sometimes I find companies strung out on the religion of either their programming language of choice or one ALM over another. For me, the focus is always on the business and what will get projects done with the resources, time and budget that is available. Usually Agile is the default method, but there are times when Kanban or a mixture of Waterfall is sufficient due to the overall scope of a project.
My Own Personal Touch
Early in my management career, I started spending time with my team members to better get to know them. To understand what makes them tick, and then assign them with tasks that match their internal goals. It also allowed me to create career paths to influence their sense of purpose and progression through the company. Some would seek more education to ensure they were prepared for clearly defined milestones in their careers. Others simply enjoyed having a roadmap for their future.