What do you think of when you hear the word “agile?” The ability to move quickly and easily usually comes to mind. Recently, a client of mine chose to move to agile development methodology. The user group split a large loan project into prioritized tasks. The project team consisting of managers, developers, and users meets three times per week to provide status updates, ensuring everyone stays on the same page. Deployments of completed items occur monthly, giving everyone a sense of accomplishment as we work toward completing all the individual tasks of the project.
In business, agile methodology involves breaking a project into smaller, manageable pieces, enabling an earlier and continuous delivery of changes/enhancements that set a pace that the team can maintain. With individual feature enhancements, business and developer teams collaborate daily to deliver new or updated software enhancements more frequently, increasing customer satisfaction.
In contrast to agile development, large projects following waterfall development find decreased work productivity. Unlike agile development, in which team members meet regularly, in waterfall development, the team defines all the requirements at the beginning of the project with minimal collaboration with customers throughout the project development life cycle. With a rigorous, long development process associated with waterfall, the team members are disconnected for longer periods of time until the testing and final deployment dates. Project burnout can occur, and often the final product does not match the original plan due to communication failures. Using traditional methodologies, like waterfall, I experienced far too many client projects where “what the user asked for” was not “what the user wanted.” This disconnect did not become known until all software modifications were complete and moved into the test environment, resulting in countless wasted hours of development with major rework at the end of the project. The final result – no one was happy!
Moreover, businesses today live in a dynamic environment rather than a static one, so agile methodology’s ease of adapting to changing priorities and functional requirements proves beneficial. The smaller tasks, known as sprints, can more easily be modified or reprioritized. Scope creep, often seen in traditional business plans, is no longer an issue.
However, be aware that a business may encounter challenges to using agile methodology if the current business culture conflicts with agile values or if the organization is resistant to change. As with any tool, all team members must use agile methodology correctly to see its benefits.
The key benefits of agile methodology are:
Following are some related articles for more information. The first article, What Is Agile? Introduction To Agile Methodology and Principles, provides an informative overview of an agile mindset and key concepts. For a look back at how agile first began, the article The Secret History of Agile Innovation provides an interesting origins story. The final article, Embracing Agile, describes how to adapt the process within your own organization. In a nutshell, keep your business moving by embracing agile methodology. Contact our Applications Solutions Group and partner with Keller Schroeder so that our expertise can guide you in achieving your business goals, allowing your organization to flourish!
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