Agile, PI program lay foundation for superior software development

Being agile in software development doesn’t mean having athletic ability, and attending scrum has nothing to do with rugby.

Beast Code’s very foundation is based upon a mission to set ourselves apart, to devise innovative and disruptive solutions. Robert Burns may have thought differently when he famously wrote “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” but at Beast Code, steadfast software solutions are the result of coordinating current workflows with planning ahead.

Beast Code employs the Agile Methodology, which through iterative processes, allows the company to turn out products at a rate that always impresses clients. Not only are clients wowed by the speed, but also by how seamlessly features are added, feedback is integrated, and progress is demonstrated — all with layers of security against bad actors.

So how does Beast Code manage to have several scrum teams working on the same product all at once? The answer is through Program Increment (PI) planning.

Jeff Lucas Introducing the Product Owners to the Program Board

“A Program Increment is a timebox (10 weeks for Beast Code) for planning, building, validating, and demonstrating our training solution,” says Jeff Lucas, Agile Program Manager extraordinaire at Beast Code. 

“We have multiple scrum teams working at their own cadence and the PI Planning is an event to synchronize those teams for delivery of our training solution. This framework provides the structure to visually understand Milestone, Cross-team dependencies, Program-Level risks, and to have a roadmap that enables us to have work in a ‘ready’ state to be consumed by the various scrum teams. We leverage SAFe (scaled agile framework), which enables us to apply the program layer in a light-weight fashion that fits a small company like Beast Code.”

Lucas and Andrew Wirth discuss milestones

Lucas recently facilitated the inaugural Beast Code PI meeting that included product owners. Going into the PI meeting, Lucas expected a little pushback and maybe some reluctance, as people tend to be doubtful of something new. However, he reported that as soon as the team got a look at the program board and learned how it functions, participants immediately understood the purpose of a PI and engaged and interacted with each other and with the board.

Kaitlyn Helton adding work items to the Program Board

The PI ensures all team members have a better understanding of the big picture. This macro level of knowledge and coordination identifies and mitigates risks ahead of time, and results in continuous work with the ability to better deal with those team and program risks.

In the end, regular Program Increment planning means that Beast Code is able to continuously produce quality products all while avoiding the drawbacks of a more traditional waterfall method of planning.

So while waterfalls are cool to look at, they are often treacherous to traverse. And, so it is with the waterfall method of business planning. Agile is the way to go, and Beast Code chooses a methodology that rains down results rather than chaos.