Why is 🏃‍♀️ Agile the Go-to Project Management Framework for Digital Projects at Any Scale?

As anyone working in the digital space knows, a project can live or die by its management framework. From project outcomes to team morale, so much rests on this vital decision.

Of course, the market is rich with options all professing to hold the secret to success. But among the many contenders, the Agile framework enjoys particular popularity. In this article, we’ll explore some of the attributes that have helped it earn the status it enjoys today, particularly with regard to larger digital projects.

Understanding Agile

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, three main methodologies include: 

  • Scrum (where larger projects are broken up into smaller tasks, to be completed in short development cycles)

  • Kanban (a more visual, board-based approach)

  • Lean Development (optimising efficiency in the software development process)

Agile vs Waterfall

Agile is often held up for comparison against the Waterfall methodology, and some key similarities and differences can be observed. At a very top level, both methodologies are popular, and geared towards improved collaboration. Agile is iterative, whereas Waterfall is sequential. Agile is flexible in terms of timing, with Waterfall placing more constraints within a fixed timeline. This pattern is mirrored in the approach taken to budgets – Agile typically pushes for more flex here, whereas a Waterfall methodology will work with a fixed budget.

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

1. Higher business value

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

2. Increased visibility and alignment

Agile tools such as Kanban boards, regular checkpoints and two week cycles can improve visibility (across all stakeholders). This means the benefits of this efficiency can scale up, in proportion with the project, whatever its size or scope.

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. More collaboration and creativity

Agile allows for greater collaboration and creativity due to its highly iterative nature. Because there’s no “baton being passed” and teams are working side by side, it optimizes 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 creative solutions.

5. Better product quality and output

Agile allows cross functional teams to deliver solutions together. It’s never one individual devising the ultimate solution – the project can be viewed more objectively as it unfolds without being clouded by objective opinion or personal preference. Additionally, working on the priorities first means better value output.

6. Decreased risk

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.

7. Greater client satisfaction

Agile is geared towards efficiency and effectiveness – and this means happier clients! In fact, client satisfaction is the true bedrock of Agile and the very first principle in the Agile manifesto – “our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”.

8. A well balanced project management triangle

An Agile approach balances fixed time, budget and scope demands, and can have particular impact with regard to the time element. This can help immeasurably when balancing the project management triangle that has provided a frame of reference for project success since the 1950s.

Agile and Headless Commerce

In many ways, Agile mirrors the principles and practices of Headless Commerce – the opportunity to move quickly, iterate fast, not be slowed down by dependencies on other teams or departments, and the ability to go to market with deliverables that are perfectly calibrated to deliver maximum value.

As a result, Agile is increasingly used to improve the collaboration of distributed teams – an increasingly important factor within ecommerce builds. “The State of Agile report” (the longest-running report on Agile) discovered that 17% of companies chose the agile method to improve the management of distributed teams.

An Agile future?

With so much complementary overlap between the Agile approach and Headless architecture, it’s a strong candidate for project management of large digital projects that take this decoupled approach.

Considering a Headless project and keen to work with a truly Agile agency to achieve the best outcomes? Get in touch at hello@studiorotate.com

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