All about agile
Agile is about constantly improving and making sure that you are on the right track. It's about cost efficiency and spending your budget on the right things. In short, agile methods are a process in which you change priorities, requirements, and your way of fulfilling them along the way.
In a world that is more complex and difficult to predict than ever before, not being able to address change when needed is taking a great risk. Working agile is embracing the idea that change will – and probably should! – happen.
With agile methods, you have the tools you need to adjust your work, re-prioritise on the go, and apply iterative development to any project that might come your way. This means that discovery, design, development, and testing are not separate phases. Rather than being blocked from revisiting previous actions, agile a continuous process of improvement.
"Yes, but what about the project plan?"
A frequent concern with the agile method is planning. It’s common to lead a project based on a fixed budget, set time frame, and a detailed project plan, but this is hard to do in agile projects. Still, deciding on something ahead of time is no assurance of a great end product. On rare occasions, you might even get to the end with nothing to show for your work. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen projects where road bumps were not addressed in time for The Big Launch and the end result was obsolete – a huge waste of money and resources!
With the agile method you have more opportunities to influence what direction the project will take and where the budget ends. Deliveries and launches are made incrementally along the way, instead of at the end.
Scrum – the most common agile method
There are different agile methods and ways of working. Some common methods are Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Crystal, and Lean Software Development (LSD). Scrum is probably the most common, which is why for many people the word is synonymous with agile. Scrum is also the agile method that we most often use at Comprend.
Setting up an agile team means setting up a cross-functional team
With most agile methods you are encouraged to set up a cross-functional team - a collection of individuals working together to deliver the requested and committed goal.
This is an example of how an agile cross-functional team is generally built:
- Strategy advisor
- Solution Architect
- UX consultant
- Frontend developer
- Backend developer
- Web copywriter
- SEM/SEO specialist
- Web analyst
Comprend to the agile rescue
Compared to more traditional ways of working, agile demands a higher degree of ongoing participation from all parties, especially the client. Since priorities and decisions are being made along the way, we always suggest that one of our clients takes on the role of product owner. This will speed up processes and ensure we are in line with each other throughout the project. As the product owner manages stakeholders and is the main channel for communicating the organisation’s business needs, it is crucial that they also have the mandate to make operational decisions.
Comprend can provide a cross-functional team that will cover the competence required, as well as a Scrum master who will work as a facilitator, providing process leadership and removing impediments. Comprend can also help fill the role of product owner by proxy or, alternatively, a business analyst role to facilitate the process.
Benefits of the agile method
- Better control over your budget and more transparency on the direction the project is taking
- It’s easier to make changes along the way than to a finished product
- Easier for the everyone to understand how the budget is being spent
- You can reassess development and design priorities based on urgency
- You can take important decisions when you have the most information instead of forcing them at beginning of a project – when you actually know the least!
Are you ready to go agile? Get in touch!