This week I attended a meet up hosted by Manifesto Digital. They invited Greg Morrell and Jack Skeels from Agency Agile into discuss the problems agencies have with implementing Agile. I want to share with you a brief overview of the event and some of the interesting facts I learned.
Jack jumped right in and quickly taught us that in theory implementing Agile should mean that your projects become at x25% more effective, and compared to Waterfall, Agile means your project should be delivered x5% – x15% faster.
The first few valuable lessons discussed were that people deliver better in small steps, with direct communication as opposed to indirect and that organisations that ‘inspect and adapt’ outperform hierarchal ones.
Jack identified that when the real world and Agile collide the results can be ineffective. For instance, when Agile teams and finance departments work together. This can often slow down the launch of a project. Another example that was raised was the time it takes to obtain senior management sign off as this can slow the progress when decisions from senior management take too long. The audience identified when teams and/or individuals are allocated to multiple projects with a start/stop nature this creates confusion and slows delivery.
The audience acknowledged that a problem of using Agile in an agency is that the work and resources available do not always conform to the methodology. For instance, in a project different people bring with them a unique style of working, whilst also having commitments to other projects or work streams. There can often be a lot of shifting of resources and high staff turnover which can be very disruptive for delivery.
Unfortunately, often there is not an open scope or an unlimited budget. The majority of projects can’t run with the wait and see mentality that Agile requires since resources are limited.
Having identified why Agile often fails, Agency Agile left us with some helpful tips. They identified that it’s not always possible to get x5 – 15% effectiveness, but by using Agile you still can get results if used in the right way.
Jack couldn’t stress enough the importance of client satisfaction and team satisfaction, he explained that by focusing on these often leads to more effective delivery. He recommended increasing collaboration and alignment of teams and stakeholders, whilst also ensuring that the team and client fully understand the project. He explained that if the client doesn’t understand the scope then this is where the big problems are born.
Since I work in the Product and Delivery team at Futureheads, I really enjoyed learning about the role of the Digital Project Manager within Agile. Jack explained that the role of the Project Manager is to be the facilitator. The Project Manager is not responsible for the project, the team is responsible for the project and the Project Manager is there to provide the team with the things they need and then remove themselves as much as they can from the team’s environment. A bit like a Product owner/scrum master.
Some big thanks go to Agile for Agencies and Manifesto Digital for putting on a great evening. I really enjoyed the evening and will be attending more in the future. If you would like to know more about Agile Project Management jobs and Agile Methodology then please get in with me – firstname.lastname@example.org