Using Agile Methodology in an Agency

Agile on board

I’ve been keen to get a bit of Agile methodology thinking into the way we approach web and app builds at NUKO. Its a large task to undertake and it’s nearly impossible to go from a waterfall approach to Agile overnight.

A friend of mine who works over at Alliants has been training our team in this new way of thinking and we’ve been working with our clients to adapt the way we build their sites.

So why the change to Agile?

This way of working means developing our clients websites based on putting the users and their required interactions over processes and tools.

Instead of creating long, and often heavily detailed, technical documents upfront we aim to create working phases of the website. This encourages collaboration between both parties, allowing the website to respond to business changes and values.  It keeps the conversation open between the two sides – clients and agency – and avoids the creation of lots of documentation.

Resulting in a very flexible system that puts the road map build into the clients’ hand and keeps a tighter control on the budget and project scope.

How does it benefit the team?

From an Account Managers point of view, this process makes it much easier to have a conversation with the client about budgets and where best to spend them on the project. It can be a little daunting when having to go back to the client mid-build to tell them it is taking longer than expected.

Risk, Effort and Complexity of the User Story

Risk, Effort and Complexity of the User Story

It also takes pressure off the development team right at the beginning. As most of you will be aware, its very difficult to scope an entire web build upfront and get an accurate estimate on the time. Scope creep often happens and it is not uncommon for clients to want to squeeze additional functionality out of the original, quoted budget.

What are the drawbacks?

As with most things, there are positives and negative to consider. So far, the downside for this way of working is the steep learning curve for all of the team. Its a huge mindset change and it’ll take time to fully adjust to thinking in user stories, story points and iterations.

We’ve still got a way to go with this agile way of thinking but so far everyone is positive about the shift. Next we’ll be looking at purchasing the JIRA agile tool so that it can compliment our use of the Atlassian modules we already have in place.

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