Agile development is one of the big buzzwords of the digital industry but what exactly does it mean? Put simply, agile development is a way of managing teams and projects in order to deliver work in an efficient way.
The use of the word agile in this context derives from the agile manifesto, a better way to manage development projects. Here are 4 important values of agile:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Cancer Research UK
At Cancer Research UK, we have adopted agile. The #nomakeupselfie all started with a simple spot-on social media. The success of this user-driven campaign was mainly down to the proactive nature of our social media team but, with the digital team working in agile, it allowed the flexibility to de-prioritize other projects.
We couldn’t have been any more thrilled than we already were to gain £2 million for our charity with #nomakeupselfie.
Benefits Of Using Agile Development
- Agile way of working aims to deliver user centric projects. The team must be empowered to make decisions so that work is delivered in a realistic time period.
- A key principle, is that testing is integrated throughout the project lifecycle and iteration happens at each step in the process.
- Agile allows a collaborative approach between all stakeholders; everyone is involved and happy with the result.
Roles in Agile Development
Although agile development is all about a collaborative approach there are key roles that help agile work:
Scrum Team: This is the team that deliver the product.
Product Owner: The person who will be responsible for prioritising work on the product. A person who knows what is required of the product, someone who is a good communicator and able to convey requirements. Most importantly, a person who is committed to the success of the product, such that they are willing and able to dedicated a reasonable amount of time to its development.
Scrum Master: As Scrum Master, you are responsible for supporting the Scrum Team, coaching and guiding them through this process, and removing any impediments blocking their progress.
6 Steps To Introduce Agility
Step 1: Get Your Backlog In Order
The Product Backlog, in its simplest form, is a list of things that people want to be done to the product, in priority order.
Step 2: How To Estimate Your Product Backlog
You need to provide some high-level initial estimates, in order to get an idea of the size of your product backlog items. This is helpful because it helps to inform the decision about priorities. Whether or not the features are likely to be worthwhile. And from a management point of view, gives a perspective of how big the team ought to be.
Step 3: Sprint Planning
Call a Sprint Planning meeting. Make sure the meeting is attended by the whole team. Clarify the requirements of your sprint eg In these 2 weeks to go live with a website so that we can implement social campaigns. Estimate how long you think tasks will take so you can accurately create a picture of what your team can deliver.
Step 4: Sprint!
So you’ve got your backlog in order, estimated your backlog, clarified your requirements, planned your sprint and created a collaborative workspace. Now you’re ready for sprint
Step 5: Stand Up And Be Counted!
Hold a daily stand-up meeting. The whole team must be present. It’s not optional. The whole team must be involved. The team stands, in a half circle around their Sprint whiteboard. This is where Scrum gets its name.
Each team member reports back to the team in turn about what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and if there is anything holding them up. Only the person reporting back should speak at one time.
Step 6: Review, Reflect, Repeat
Hold a meeting and invite all the relevant stakeholders so you can review what was delivered in the Sprint and demo. Then, hold a Sprint Retrospective meeting. Invite the whole team. This meeting is not for the wider stakeholders. Typically it might follow on immediately from the Sprint Review. The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to reflect on how things went during the Sprint. It’s a chance for the team to discuss the Sprint and consider how they could improve things.
So there you have it, whether you’re able to go full agile or cherry pick the aspects that may make your work more productive, agile is the future of delivering websites, social, digital and marketing campaigns and taking full advantage of expertise from throughout your business .
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