7 Traits Of Successful Agile Software Development

September 19, 2019

7 Traits Of Successful Agile Software Development

These 7 traits will help you gain traction in the world of agile. This list isn’t in any particular order and all are equally important. If all of these traits are present, you’re sure to set yourself apart from the competition.

From a naming brainstorm at a talk
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

1. Passion

This is a tough one to achieve in any organization. This is also a very difficult trait to measure with some teams choosing to subjectively rate themselves. It will be more of an intangible trait as your group comes together to work on a project. Your team will show this by going out of their way to get something accomplished within a project. They will take pride in the work done and the finished product. They will talk about their work outside of the workplace with friends and family. Work will pop up in all sorts of conversations when they’re proud of it.

2. Team Centered

This is very important for agile development. During agile software development it is imperative that teams work well together. There needs to be a cohesive environment present to achieve maximum value from agile. Constant information sharing and learning needs to happen every day. This will keep members engaged, not only in the project, but it will feed the individual’s need to grow.

There is also an importance in building relationships among different teams. Within these relationships, alignment of goals across different groups in an organization is achieved more smoothly. When all are focused on the same goals, it’s much easier to attain them. For instance, business and technical folks need to work together to achieve milestones together.

3. Agile Software Development Iterations

One of the key parts of agile software development is the ability to churn out small chunks of code frequently. A set amount of time for releases needs to be decided upon. These time frames called “sprints” can be 1-3 weeks, every month or every other month. There isn’t necessarily a perfect rule for all situations; it must be decided upon in each organization. The key part here is figuring out the cadence of sprints and then sticking to it. Development, testing and re-planning needs to occur within each of these sprint iterations. Getting off schedule goes against the agile iterative approach and can lead to a less productive team.

4. Value Driven

During development, it’s important to keep the goals in mind. Is what I’m working on providing value to the company and does it support the sprint goals? If it isn’t of immediate value, will it have a return on investment down the road? The ROI doesn’t have to be immediate, but it must be there. If some bit of code isn’t bringing value, should you be spending as much time on it as you are? As the saying goes, “don’t reinvent the wheel.” There is ample free code called “open source” to pull into to the project from many different sources.

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

5. Quality Code

Code needs to be reviewed regularly. Frankly, any time there is a release, it needs to be reviewed by peers. If nothing can be improved upon or questioned, then you probably don’t have the right eyes reviewing the code or you are over-engineering the solution at a higher cost. No one writes perfect code every time. Chances are that source code may have poorly named variables, methods or lack of comments and documentation. All companies need to have a focus on providing well written, easily readable code. It makes maintenance a breeze. It will also greatly reduce ramp up time for new hires and transitions to others for support.

6. New Technology

This is a gamble area. It can be fun and exciting for developers to use new and improved technology. The problem comes when it’s not adopted widely by the industry. If a new technology is chosen and not widely adopted over time by other developers, you may be the only group supporting it. This makes it more difficult and costly to support. It may be difficult to find other developers who will engage with the technology. It’s important to evaluate new technology but make smart choices. Being on the “bleeding edge” may not be what you want to pursue, but staying up to date will help you stay competitive.

New technology can also help grow your organization. The advent of phones and mobile apps has taken over the world. Being able to harness the use of mobile solutions is vastly important today. Technologies that allow ease of access and use are important to the consumer and companies. Many today do not use the desktop computer and their entire online presence is by a mobile device.

7. Great Leadership

Lastly, we will look at leadership. Those in leadership positions need to be sold on Agile software development. It’s important that the leaders engage and stick to expectations set for Agile use. If there’s a 2-week sprint iteration, it needs to be adhered to. If reviews are warranted every release, then they need to be completed every time. The outlook of the entire company and its leaders needs to be unified. Poor leadership will lead to dis-function with the team and their productivity.


In wrapping this up, we can see how having passion, team buy-in and iterative development help shape an agile team. We can also see that building quality and value driven code will help a company compete and grow. Being up to date with technical advancement is important. Lastly, great leadership will have a huge impact on creating and maintaining a good agile software development team. Flint Hills Group has a set of core values which support good agile practices. Connect with us to learn more and to get started on your next agile software development project!

Matt McCandless
Consulting Software Engineer

Matt McCandless is a consulting software engineer and writer in Wichita. He is skilled in Java, Integration, Javascript, SQL and Requirements Analysis.

Matt McCandless
Consulting Software Engineer

Matt McCandless is a consulting software engineer and writer in Wichita. He is skilled in Java, Integration, Javascript, SQL and Requirements Analysis.