If you’ve spent any time in project management, you know how challenging it is to keep a project and team on track, meet deadlines and manage changes in scope. Our web development team deals with these challenges on a daily basis. To improve not only our internal process but our end product, we spent the last year researching project management methodologies. And we landed on Agile Development.
What is Agile?
In simple terms, Agile development is an alternative method to traditional project management that is centered on adaptability. This methodology incorporates a highly flexible and interactive structure for responsiveness to changes in scope and a high level of communication. Central to this method is Scrum, which is defined as:
A simple, incredibly powerful set of principles and practices that help teams deliver products in short cycles, enables fast feedback, continual improvement, and rapid adaptation to change.
When Agile and Scrum are properly implemented, the results are significant. Our team decided that the Agile method would work well in our demanding website project environment. And yes, scrum is a term borrowed from rugby.
Why Agile and Scrum?
Implementing the Agile methodology will allow our web development team to build out realistic timelines for projects, meet deadlines more effectively, and deliver a better end product to our clients. Two of our team members became certified as Scrum masters at the end of 2015.
They will serve as facilitators for the team, managing the process of how information is shared.
The scrum master replaces the traditional project manager, but he does not serve as the project lead and is not accountable for outcomes. The entire team now shares responsibility for project outcomes. The scrum master still has plenty to do. He helps the team reach consensus on timelines, stay focused on the work at hand, and remove obstacles that are preventing progress on a project.
How Agile will change our process
Agile project management and the Scrum process will change our environment in several ways. The consistent communication of 15-minute daily standup meetings is a new practice for our team. We focus on answering three questions every day: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What is in the way?
Other changes include a new internal language around project and change management, how the projects are handled, and the shift in responsibility. We are implementing the use of large white boards to track the status of each project so anyone in the company can get a real-time update without having to talk with a project lead.
Agile methodology and the Scrum process will be fully implemented over the coming weeks. We believe this methodology strengthens our commitment to our 5 Step Process and streamlines what we do for greater efficiency and customer satisfaction. We are excited to be on the Agile path to project management and look forward to sharing updates on our progress.