7 Top Agile Practices to Boost Your Team's Productivity

Discover essential Agile practices that can immediately boost your team's productivity.
Agile is becoming more and more widespread throughout different industries, company sizes, and team types. It is no longer something only used by software development teams—I have personally witnessed Agile ways of working being applied in banking, pharma, retail, marketing, manufacturing, and a number of other industries.
A full Agile transformation requires a lot of time and effort, and involves major changes to organizational structure, financial planning, operating systems, and performance management, to name a few. However, it doesn't mean that you need to wait for it to happen to use the benefits of Agile ways of working—there are definitely quite a few practices that you can apply right away and watch your team's productivity skyrocket.

Daily standup

The daily standup is considered the most important meeting of the day for any Agile team, allowing robust prioritization, staying on track, and addressing issues and blockers immediately before they escalate. While many teams conduct daily huddles, the critical aspect is how you do it.

This meeting is not a forum for each team member to report how hard they are working or for the product owner (or team manager) to distribute tasks for the day. Instead, its purpose is to share important updates with each other (so you don't have to recite everything you've done—only things that might concern other team members), answer questions, and address any concerns. Keep it short (15 minutes is the golden standard), give everyone a chance to speak up, and ensure that for all issues raised, there is either an immediate decision made or an item added to the backlog.


The retrospective is a powerful Agile practice that helps teams continuously improve their processes. Held at the end of each iteration, it provides an opportunity for the team to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and what can be improved.

This meeting is not the place to find scapegoats or point fingers but rather to find ways to improve teamwork. Encouraging an open and honest dialogue helps foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning. Make sure to document action items and follow up on them in subsequent iterations to see real progress.

For more ideas on how to conduct effective retrospectives, check out our previous blog post on creative Agile retrospectives.

Work in progress (WIP) limits

Setting Work in Progress (WIP) limits is a key practice in Agile. WIP limits restrict the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time, helping to prevent bottlenecks and ensure a steady flow of work.

While it might feel like you and your team are super productive when juggling 150 tasks at the same time, the truth is that the more work you have in progress at any given moment, the slower you move and the longer it takes to deliver value to customers. By focusing on completing tasks before starting new ones, teams can improve efficiency and reduce context switching, which often leads to higher productivity and better-quality outputs.

Try resisting the temptation to occupy every second of idle time with tasks, as that prevents you from seeing the big goals and making meaningful progress.

Kanban board

A Kanban board is a visual tool that helps teams manage workflow and track the progress of tasks. It typically includes columns for different stages of work, such as “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.” By visualizing work, teams can quickly identify bottlenecks, manage WIP limits, and maintain transparency. Digital Kanban boards, such as those provided by tools like Trello, Jira, or Asana, can be particularly useful for remote teams, providing real-time updates and facilitating collaboration.

It's important to note that there is a difference between using a Kanban board and following the Kanban framework—using the board does not automatically mean you are adhering to the framework. When creating the Kanban board, start by visualizing the process as it is, without trying to create an "ideal" workflow from scratch. Map the current statuses of the workflow to your board and gradually introduce small improvements as you identify bottlenecks or inconsistencies.

Value-based planning

Value-based planning involves prioritizing work based on the value it delivers to customers and the business. This practice ensures that the most important and impactful tasks are completed first. Regularly reviewing and adjusting priorities helps align the team’s efforts with the organization’s strategic goals and customer needs. By focusing on delivering value, teams can ensure that their work has a meaningful impact, which can boost morale and productivity.

To achieve this, you need to develop a habit of clearly identifying customer value as you create work items. The next step is to consider both value and effort, which requires estimation. For more resources on effort estimation, check out our Tools tag.

Minimum viable product (MVP)

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is fundamental in Agile. It involves creating a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development. This approach allows teams to validate ideas quickly, learn from real user feedback, and make informed decisions about future enhancements. Focusing on delivering an MVP helps teams avoid over-engineering and ensures that resources are used effectively.

To do its job, an MVP needs to be minimal (i.e., built with the minimal amount of effort possible), viable (i.e., have value for the customers), and a product (i.e., something customers would pay money for or, for example, share their email address with you). It’s important to understand that an MVP is not version 1 of your product—it is used to confirm the hypothesis. In many cases, the MVP is discarded after testing, and the real product is built based on the validated learnings.

Product Owner role

The Product Owner plays a crucial role in Agile teams, acting as the bridge between the development team and stakeholders. They are responsible for defining the product vision, managing the product backlog, and ensuring that the team delivers value to the business and customers. A dedicated and empowered Product Owner can significantly enhance team productivity by providing clear priorities, making informed decisions, and facilitating effective communication between all parties involved.

It is important to note that the Product Owner is not the team’s manager—they are on the same level as all other team members. This equality allows for open discussions, arguments about priorities, and consensus building. If you want to learn more about the role of the Product Owner, we have a course for you.

By incorporating these Agile practices into your team’s workflow, you can create a more efficient, responsive, and productive environment. Whether you’re in software development, banking, retail, or any other industry, Agile principles can help your team deliver better results and continuously improve.
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