What is spike agile?

The Spike Agile product/service development approach entails setting up time-bound diversions from a primary improvement roadmap to resolve product/service-related issues, problems, obstacles, or challenges. These time-bound diversions(i.e., time-boxes) allow resource-intensive and solution-centric exploration and experimentation.

Subsequently, the diversion of time and human resources to concentrate on resolving improvement-encumbering issues/obstacles/problems embodies a figurative spike, i.e., focusing resources on a single obstacle/problem/issue/challenge. Hence, the name ‘Spike’ Agile process model.

Spike Agile Context

During a problem/issue/obstacle-specific time-box, a product/service improvement team strives to realize two solution-centric objectives, namely:

  • Acquire a Comprehensive User Story
    To achieve this goal, a product/service improvement team evaluates progress made and an ongoing improvement roadmap before encountering the product/service-related obstacle, issue, problem, or challenge.This product/service-improvement progress assessment allows a product/service development team to acquire a comprehensive contextual understanding of the product/service-centric problem, issue, obstacle, or challenge, i.e., the user story.
  • Explore Viable Solutions to a Problem/issue/Obstacle
    Upon attaining a problem/issue/obstacle-specific user story, a product/service development team can then formulate the most satisfactory solution. In most spike scenarios, an improvement task force typically comes up with multiple possible/viable solutions to an encountered issue/problem/obstacle.In product/service development approaches, based on the spike agile process model, an improvement task force then explores each viable/possible solution as a separate spike, i.e., the team sets a separate exploration/experimentation time-box for each possible/feasible solution.

Spike Agile Application

There are essentially four product/service improvement spike scenarios that can considerably benefit from a spike agile approach, namely:

  • Multiple Viable Solutions
    Product/service improvement teams typically need to explore several viable routes before realizing the most satisfactory solution to a product/service-related problem, issue, or obstacle. Subsequently, a spike agile achieves the most optimal solution possible by allowing a product/service development team to set up separate time-bound exploration/experimentation spikes.
  • Significant Outcome Uncertainty
    Attempting to resolve a product/service-related problem/issue/obstacle/challenge by exploring multiple equally-viable routes typically entails overcoming considerable outcome uncertainty.A spike agile product/service development approach allows an improvement task force to set up a time-bound exploration/experimentation time-box for each viable solution.Consequently, the spike agile approach ensures a product/service improvement team arrives at the most satisfactory solution by enabling the progressive elimination of doubt.
  • Lack of Viable Solution
    Sometimes, a product/service improvement team cannot develop a workable solution to an obstacle/issue encountered along with a product/service improvement roadmap.Luckily, a spike agile product/service development strategy grants a task force the ability to concentrate available improvement-centric resources on resolving a product/service-related problem/issue/obstacle/challenge.
  • Inadequate Grasp of a Problem
    Finally, a product/service development team cannot understand the context/scope of an issue/problem/obstacle occurring at an advanced stage of a product/service improvement roadmap.In this context, a spike agile product/service improvement approach makes it easy for a development team to revisit past time-box instances, searching for insights on how to resolve a recurring product/service-related problem/issue/obstacle.

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