30 June 2015 | MOF Team
However, many companies have not followed in their footsteps.
One of the common production or development methodologies, for example, is called Waterfall. This approach asks that as one department or team finishes their task, the next team takes over, until the end goal and final deliverable is arrived at and released.
The issues with Waterfall are various: firstly, key knowledge can get lost throughout the process, meaning those working at the end of the project may not be building a solution that aligns with the original team’s vision or purpose; secondly, responsibility for owning the output gets lost amongst the various owners of work down the line, so finding the individual or team responsible for a mistake could be difficult if the situation arises, and in-turn finding a fix to the problem may also prove evasive; thirdly, once the output is released it is considered ‘finished’, so any potential eventualities post-product launch are not accounted for, and are often met with groans and nervousness by stakeholders; fourth, it takes longer to get to product release as all the features have to be built before it is signed off and ready.
Another available approach, Agile, is very different to Waterfall; it consists of a group of methodologies based on iteration; where requirements and solutions evolve through ongoing collaboration between self-organized, cross-functional teams.
Agile asks that digital products be built over a series of short bursts commonly known as ‘sprints’; where the features to be built are broken down into smaller priority lists, and teams tasked to build and ‘ship’ the releases in sets of updates as they are manufactured. Removing much of the inefficiencies endured by the Waterfall production method.
Agile relies on implementing a system of increased creativity, communication, commitment and self-analysis, which if implemented correctly can empower the development and efficiency of a team. Such a system should stop the flow of unnecessary work that is all too often the output of poor organisation and distribution of efforts.
Two basic principles form the crux of Agile methodologies: being adaptive rather than predictive; and being people-oriented rather than process oriented.
In other words, Agile demands that organisations throw away their rigid plans that assume change to be a failure of one part of the system, and embrace more flexible methods that thrive on such alteration; supporting development teams rather than imposing strict and sometimes irrelevant conditions upon them.
Agile principles are meant to create valid workflow by tackling individual habits - often self-serving or opaque - and building momentum towards team habits, that are documented and improved upon over time. This allows for the removal of self-generated obstacles that are frustrating and counter productive.
An Agile process can help overcoming issues such as:
Eventually, the Agile agency model favours a general incentive for excellence, and that’s why many agencies across the world, including Matter Of Form, have chosen to adopt it for their day-to-day project management.