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How Agile Helps us Bring Value to Our Customers

Last year, Jornaya launched an Agile software development transformation to improve our company’s entire product development process. This was not a small endeavor for our company by any means, and required complete buy-in from all levels of the of the organization to make it work.

What exactly is “Agile”?

Agile methods—or Agile processes—promote a systematic software development process that includes frequent inspection and adaptation, collaboration and teamwork, self-organization and accountability, and an approach that closely aligns development with customer needs and company goals.

Scrum and kanban are methods of Agile development, and are the most commonly used process frameworks for agile development, particularly for managing tasks within a team-based development environment.

Scrum boards at Jornaya HQ

Scrum is so popular, in fact, that it was featured on HBO’s Silicon Valley –Warning: This Video Contains Language That Is NSFW.

Agile isn’t just a buzzword used amongst engineers, though. Agile is a methodology created by a group of software developers in 2001 who met to discuss better ways for managing their projects. The results of their meeting were documented in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (which also includes the 12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto), and the rest is history.

Now, hundreds of companies, including Jornaya, utilize agile development for better collaboration amongst product and engineering, better organization and prioritization around tasks, and much faster delivery of high-quality software.

How Agile Has Improved How We Work

There have been several key areas where Jornaya’s Agility transformation has improved how our engineering teams works.

  • The most immediate and tangible result that our Agility transformation has provided to Jornaya is a dedicated team to handle production support issues. In the past, it was unclear which member(s) of the engineering team would handle a request, and it would constantly interrupt the workflow of the team. The division of labor wasn’t clear, which caused smaller production support issues to slip through the cracks or not be handled efficiently. The need for a change was obvious, and that’s what led us to form a Sustaining Engineering team as part of our larger Agile transformation.
  • Another particular area where Agile development has helped our team is with our small feature development. Before Agile, our large project teams were so busy with their work that sometimes small feature enhancements didn’t get the attention they deserved. Now, not only are we working on our next big products, but also we have the capability of working on smaller features. One of those small features that, before Agile, might have slipped through the cracks, is our online portal password reset functionality. Not the most exciting of small features but important nonetheless!

An Example

In a recent example of projects that have been much more efficient than it would have before our Agility transformation, is the improvement to our portal password reset feature.

Our clients had provided a lot of important feedback about the frustration they experienced when trying to reset their passwords. With client feedback in mind, the Product team worked with Customer Support to design a more intuitive password reset workflow.

From there, this work was prioritized and added to the Sustaining Engineering team’s backlog (work queue). And, after only a few weeks, we got it done. A feature that we never felt we had the time to fix has now been shipped and customers are now enjoying a much more user-friendly password reset experience. All thanks to Agile.

Agile has provided us the ability to have dedicated teams to address issues and bugs in a way that was never possible before. Moving forward, our focus is on continuous improvement. We take a step back every three weeks to assess what went well and what didn’t go well; consciously and actively working on improving those areas.

With a newfound ability to ship out quality software at a higher and faster pace, we’re making the Jornaya experience that much more polished.

Stephen Bernal was Director of Product Management, Insights at Jornaya.