Why is 🏃‍♀️ Agile the go-to Project Management framework for digital projects?

As anyone working in the digital space knows, a project can live or die by its project management. And there are a number of ways to do it.

The market is rich with frameworks all professing to hold the secret to the success of project management. There is Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Extreme programming (XP) the list really does go on. But among the many contenders, the Agile framework enjoys particular popularity and it’s something we use at Rotate°.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the attributes that have helped it earn it’s popularity and show the benefits it brings, particularly when delivering large-scale digital projects.

Understanding Agile

The is a lot of information out there on Agile (see a few useful visuals below), but in a nutshell Agile is a project management framework that places its focus on continuous iteration and a nimble, adaptive approach to the development process.

While several methodologies can be applied within an Agile framework, there are three main methodologies include:

  • Scrum (Teams to break work into goals to be completed within sprints)

  • Kanban (A visual way to manage tasks through a workflow)

  • Lean Development (Optimising efficiency in the process by only delivering only what the product needs)

The Agile Manifesto consists of four key values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Read the full manifesto here → https://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

Credit: Eric Ries, Exposit, Binfire, Process Street, Testsigma.

8 great reasons benefits that Agile brings large digital projects... 

1. Deliver value early (and often)

Agile is centred around customer satisfaction, meaning that goals are flexible, dependent on discoveries made during the project. This goal is aided by a prioritised backlog, which sees the team work on the highest priority first to get to value into the hands of customers in the quickest and most effective way possible.

And that doesn't have to mean quick and dirty (Just staggered). See for yourself...

2. Better visibility and alignment

Agile encourages radical transparency and the day-to-day tooling such as Kanban boards, regular checkpoints and two week cycles can improve visibility across all stakeholders, both in agency and client-side.

3. Greater adaptability

Agile, as the name suggests, brings more agility to “pivot!”. This means the freedom to change plans, rather than being bound to rigid statements of work and scope that can't flex, even when a clear advantage is uncovered. With Agile, a blocker for one team need not apply the brakes to the whole project – workarounds can be collaboratively generated, and progress can still be made.

4. Real cross-discipline collaboration

Agile allows for greater cross-discipline collaboration and holistic creativity due to its highly iterative nature. Because there’s no “baton being passed” and teams are working side by side, it optimises scope for lateral collaboration. Working in this way, benefiting from the input of multiple specialists and different approaches to problem solving, means teams are more likely to generate better, more holistic solutions.

6. Far less risk

Agile projects have a significantly higher success rate compared to Waterfall projects, as measured by the most recent Standish Group Chaos Study published in 2020. That Study showed that Agile projects are 3 times more likely to succeed.

Two week cycles, regular deployments, a faster “get to market” and earlier access to user data all help to decrease project risk. Investment is qualified throughout the process as it unfolds, so that the certainty of value being ultimately delivered is much stronger.

From 50,000 technology projects the Standish Group Chaos Study, 2020

"Agile Projects are 3x more likely to succeed than Waterfall projects".

7. Setup to tackle the unknowns

Projects of scale, will no doubt have unknowns. And that’s okay. Having hundreds of lines of scope is a) unlikely to happen before a project begins, and b) if by some miracle it does, it will probably need to change.

And Agile is a framework that welcomes that change and allows the team to pivot based on learnings along the way.

Agile vs Waterfall: The final showdown

Agile is often held up to comparison against the Waterfall methodology, and the key differences are…

  • Agile is iterative in delivery, whereas Waterfall is sequential.

  • Agile is flexible in terms of timing, with Waterfall placing more constraints within a fixed timeline.

  • Agile is is variable scope typically, and waterfall is fixed.

TL;DR If you know exactly what you need in a project then waterfall is probably the most appropriate. But if you don’t have the scope, problems and solutions nailed down then you’re setup to fail and instead should probably go forward with an Agile-type framework.

Want to find out more about how one of our Product Managers would lead you project? Hit that big button below…

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