Why agile teams never stop learning

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Have you heard of the misconception that agile is about velocity: i.e. delivering more, at a faster rate? Although this statement is true, it is ultimately meaningless if you don’t deliver value and the customer is not satisfied. 

The Agile ‘Software Development’ Manifesto states that:

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

Satisfying the customer by delivering value early is therefore a learning process.

One of the main differences between Agile and traditional practices, is to acknowledge that it is not possible to know everything in advance and to welcome change through the process. Instead, focus on learning at every iteration, seek technical excellence and encourage knowledge sharing in order to continuously improve.

Discover how to nurture an agile learning mindset in your team.

Listen and learn through retrospectives

Retrospectives play a huge role in the learning process of an agile team. Learning is not meant to be an individual task, through collaboration, teams are meant to learn together and discover new ways to continuously improve.

At every iteration, (be it Quarter, Sprint or even OKR or goals review) get together with your team and think about what went well, what went wrong and how can you improve. These questions help you learn together and find new ways to improve. 

A main question to ask yourself is, “How can we bring more value?” When you focus on bringing value, you’ll be challenged to never stop learning.Throughout the entire retrospective, encourage everyone to stay open, and to give and receive feedback freely. 

Also, don’t forget to incorporate learning moments throughout the year, and not only at designated times. If you’re a testing team, you can try a new testing method like Exploratory Testing or mob-pairing with developers to inspire a knowledge exchange. 

Continuously explore what drives the customer needs, share knowledge and work towards technical excellence. 

Strive towards technical excellence

Besides learning how to improve by paying attention to feedback, challenge your team to seek technical excellence: 

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.”

The Agile Manifesto

Technical excellence adds tremendous value both to your software and the way users interact with it. Strive for excellence in code quality or process improvement, or any other area that you see needs improvement. Continue to ask yourself and your team, “How can this be better?” and “What can we do to make it better”? 

Testing also plays a huge role in the pursuit for excellence. For example, Exploratory Testing allows you to uncover risks that could damage software quality and value. 

You can perform Exploratory Testing in order to discover things that you didn’t know about your system, and that you were not aware of in the first place. ET is a great approach because you can uncover and challenge implicit assumptions. 

Continuously seek new solutions, experiment and incorporate new technology and stay open to learn from these experiments.

Foster a knowledge sharing culture

Learning is not a task that you can move to the “done” column. There is no such thing as being “done” with learning since we will never know everything. Instead, focus on building a learning culture with collaboration and knowledge sharing at the heart. 

"uncover(...) better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.”

The Agile Manifesto

Encourage your team members to join technical communities and interact with others in the industry. Social media and informal events like meetups act as incubators that promote a sharing culture and drive everyone to excellence.

Continue learning with Xray Academy

At Xray, we value this community and how it helps us build better testing solutions. Recently we launched the Xray Academy, to help anyone who's curious to learn more about Xray as well as testing and QA best practices.

Xray Academy was built to help your team deliver more value through Xray. We want to share our knowledge, contribute to your learning culture and help you achieve technical excellence.

Right now you can sign-up for free and take a course that best suits your needs. Choose between beginner courses like “Xray Essentials” or more advanced topics like “Understanding Coverage” or “Test Automation.”

We built the Xray Academy in an agile mindset, so you can extract value from it right away. We plan to continuously improve it and make it a better learning experience for you. We’d love to hear your feedback, and encourage you to contribute and add suggestions along the way. 

Remember, as an agile team, challenge yourself to continuously improve your skills, share your knowledge, experiment and innovate, and make it a continuous learning journey towards value delivery.

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