If you haven’t heard by now, agile is the new waterfall when it comes to project management. The agile approach is taking the world by storm as people and organizations of all sizes are recognizing it as a more effective than traditional project management methodologies.
Waterfall vs. Agile
For those who are not familiar with the two forms of project management, waterfall methodology is a sequential process which is fully documented upfront, providing clear expectations for timeline and cost. Agile is a more continuous, incremental approach, which allows for flexibility along the way. If requirements change during a waterfall project, you would need to stop and start again from the beginning. If you approached the project in an agile way, the team would adjust and continue moving forward from where they were. Waterfall projects are great when everything happens exactly according to plan. However, most projects encounter change - when this happens, having an agile approach will save you time and money.
Not convinced it is the right method for you? Let me highlight a few reasons why an agile approach, specifically the use of Scrum, has been so impactful for us here at Mediacurrent.
1. People have a Purpose
First and foremost, in Scrum, every team member has a purpose. Whether you are the Product Owner, Scrum master, or a member of the team - you have a responsibility and you are expected to contribute to the task at hand. For project team members, it’s no longer about blindly following orders from a supervisor, it’s about thinking strategically and collaborating with those around you.
All team members have a voice (as they should!) and are empowered to make decisions throughout the process. The Product Owner tells the team what needs to be done and the team, who is actually doing the work, decides how to do it best. Dispersing responsibility keeps everyone accountable and motivated.
2. Teams Unite in Vision and Drive
Every day the Scrum team huddles in a 15 minute meeting to discuss current work that is going to help achieve their goal. If there are impediments or blockers, this is where the team can discuss how to break through them. By allowing these issue to surface, you increase the likelihood of issues being addressed and solved for quickly.
It can be easy to lose sight of the project vision when you get caught up in minute details or smaller tasks. The daily check-in is a reminder of why the work is necessary and keeps the end goal top of mind. As a result, the team stays focused and united in their mission.
3. Built to Evolve & Adapt
As Heraclitus said, “change is the only constant in life.” You need to expect that wants, needs and priorities are going to change throughout the process. Whether change is a result of user feedback or the market around you, the agile approach gives you the flexibility you need in order to adapt before it’s too late.
A list of all outstanding tasks that need to be addressed by the team in order to reach the MVP (minimal viable product) is kept in the sprint backlog. Items can be added to the backlog at any time throughout the project, by any team member (however only the Product Owner can prioritize them and pull them into sprints). This fluid process is one of the main reasons why Scrum is so successful.
Scrum Gets it Done
At Mediacurrent we have seen firsthand how Scrum brings people together and creates a team environment which fosters communication, creative thinking and improved productivity. By focusing on continuous improvement in both team members and the MVP (minimal viable product), I am confident an agile approach can help you too! If you’re still not convinced, I encourage you to try an agile approach for yourself.
As Dr. Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-creators of Scrum puts it in his book title (great read!) - it’s about getting twice the work done in half the time. So say goodbye to your Gantt chart and hello to a daily Scrum!
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