Dual Track Agile
Dual Track Agile is an agile concept that involves working on product discovery and delivery in parallel. In general, it’s done to create a more efficient development process.
Companies often treat product discovery and design as separate tracks that converge on a common goal—the end product. But they sometimes conflict, especially if there’s a lack of communication between teams. That’s where the Dual Track Agile concept can help.
While it was first referenced in 2005 by Lynn Miller, she didn’t popularize the term. Instead, credit goes to Marty Cagan and Jeff Patton in 2012, who talked about “dual-track scrum.” They found that everything was slower when their discovery team would outline what to build it; then, the delivery track would figure out how to build it after. Instead, companies produce better products when discovery and design work in tandem.
This article will discuss how Dual Track Agile works and why it’s essential to use it.
Table of contents
What is Dual Track Agile?
Simply put—Dual Track Agile is when your discovery and delivery teams work parallel to create the best product. Instead of working separately or after the other, the two teams collaborate for a more agile product development process.
The Dual Tracks
When it comes to product development, there are two tracks: discovery and delivery. The discovery track involves researching features that the delivery team then implements. This is especially true for new products.
With product discovery, you want to take a proactive approach to learning and understanding your users’ needs. Instead of simply assuming what your users want from your product, you should seek out the answer. You can do this through design thinking, buyer persona, and A/B testing.
Discovery teams will determine what features to include in a product—such as a software program—and then validate their usefulness. You don’t waste resources on features and updates that your users don’t need.
To do this, the discovery team needs to:
- Identify the underlying user needs through quantitative and qualitative research, including analyzing customer feedback and competitor data.
- Define the subsequent challenge—the feature that needs development or the issue that needs addressing. Basically, you want to ensure that this is a valid paint point for users and will add value to the end product.
- Find the solution for the problem through prototypes and testing
Product discovery also helps minimize the risks involved in product management, such as:
- Value: Whether users will use the feature
- Usability: Whether a design is intuitive to figure out
- Feasibility: Whether the delivery team can build it
- Viability: Whether the feature will work for the business
Your product development teams will take what discovery learned, and implement the information in the form of product features or fixes. The end goal is to create and execute an optimal number of validated improvements that add value for your end-users.
The delivery team needs to base their work on the discovery team’s research since discovery determines whether a particular feature is worth developing. Otherwise, they’re wasting time and resources on a feature that users don’t want or need.
Working in Tandem
Traditionally, the discovery team would finish its work, then turn its findings over to the delivery team as the basis for feature development. However, this drastically lengthens product development time and wastes resources.
Dual Track Agile allows your discovery and design teams to work in tandem. As the discovery team validates their findings regarding features, the delivery team can then begin to implement them in their sprint. Additionally, any concerns raised by the discovery team can be immediately addressed.
Why Use Dual Track Agile?
Agility in product development means creating quick product iterations to provide consistent, continuous value to end-users. But no matter how fast your delivery team works, if they’re not working side-by-side with discovery, there are gaps in production time. Dual Track Agile lets you shorten that time, giving you a competitive advantage in your industry.
In addition, you get the added value of user-centered designs based on solid research instead of your intuitive (and fallible) assumptions. By identifying user needs, they can validate the value of the proposed feature and confirm that the solution is optimal. In the end, all of this conserves resources and ensures better productivity.
Using a dual-track strategy also keeps your development process organized and systematic. While your delivery team builds and implements features, your discovery team can validate their usefulness or begin analyzing the next features needed. This lets your teamwork in cycles that maximize their productivity.
Collaboration for Better Agility
Dual Track Agile streamlines the product development process for maximum efficiency. Product discovery also validates ideas at the same time that product delivery builds them. By having a cross-functional collaboration instead of two separate teams, you make your product development more agile.