Agile seems to be all the rage these days, is it a fad or are there some real benefits?
We officially moved to Agile (hybrid SCRUM) in 2013. Prior to that we were following waterfall methodology or a version of it. Pre-agile we would meet with a customer to kick-off a project and after several such discovery sessions we would present a document with their responses and have them “sign-off’ so we could start development. Once we started development we would hope that they didn’t get any new ideas or it would mean a change in scope. A larger project would entail several weeks of development and then a demonstration waiting for the client to say “aha” this is exactly how we envisioned it. That happened sometimes but more than likely there would be a change and in some cases the product didn’t look like what they envisioned and we would be back in the loop – Document changes, Dev, Testing and Demo.
Adopting agile has not been easy and we are learning everyday but it has taken a lot of the anxiety out of product (project) development. We work on two week sprints for the most part; each sprint starts out with backlog planning, estimation of stories and prioritizing with the client. It is their money and time, this process gives them the ability to use it how they see fit!
Higher priority items get done first, lower priority items sit at the bottom of the backlog. Each sprint ends with a demo, even the first sprint that is heavier on discovery. The clients are happier since they get to see the product (or project) evolve, they have a lot more control over the direction and their budgets. Our consultants and developers are happier since there is a lot more interaction within the team, more opportunities to share ideas and learn from each other, and come up with a better solution as a team.
How has your experience been moving to Agile?