The worlds of commerce and industry have undergone great changes in the last year and a half. The covid-19 pandemic forced both businesses and individuals to adopt a ‘new normal’.
With remote working becoming the only possibility for many businesses, teams used to working together in the office environment found they could only share and combine their efforts by way of video conferencing.
However, there were upsides to all of this turmoil and change. For one, businesses of all types and sizes that primarily employ desk-based staff began to realise that remote working when organized and done properly, can in fact work. It can be efficient and productivity levels can be achieved even with people working from home.
A great deal of this ability came by way of impressive software packages and apps. Video conferencing is now part of daily life for many people in office roles and will continue to be so in the future.
What does all this have to do with Agile vs. Waterfall? The businesses affected found they were suddenly required to respond very quickly to changes, and those that work in the Agile framework found that easier to do than those using conventional methods of planning and working. Let’s look at why this is so, and how to move your business to the agile method.
Why Agile Works – 350
What is Agile, and why is it in the spotlight? Let’s say you have a team that works together to achieve a successful project. It can be anything, major or minor, and you would normally do it like this: you set up your team, they work together to complete each stage, and you eventually complete when all the stages have been met.
That’s Waterfall: it’s a linear method of working, a sequential one if you like. And it has its merits, in that for a single large project that requires many heads it can work.
However, Waterfall is time-consuming. If a problem occurs at any stage, the project cannot move on. It cannot be progressed until that problem has been solved and the stage completed. This can lead to delays and also to extended or missed deadlines. In many areas of commerce and industry, this is not acceptable.
Before we talk about Agile and how it works, consider real-life examples, such as an improved Agile model at ING and how it has helped them to become more productive and reduced time to market. It’s an interesting and informative article that is also enlightening and will help to enhance your understanding of the Agile concept.
So, onto Agile, and how it works. We described the linear and sequential way in which the Waterfall methodology progresses above. Agile takes a different route. Rather than all the team working towards the same goal, an Agile team is split into individuals or small teams working on ‘sprints’.
This is done in tandem. One sprint could involve a certain part of the process, another a different part, and so on. This way, all the pieces of the project are being developed at the same time.
There are many advantages here. First, a delay in one sprint does not mean a delay in others – there is no waiting for a stage to complete. Second, the development time is seriously reduced by using the tandem Agile method.
In fact, a great example can be seen in the recent development of the various vaccines for the covid-19 virus. Rather than one lab working on it in a sequential fashion, several worked on it in a parallel method, bringing the product to market far more quickly than usual.
Is Agile for you and your teams? In the next section, we’ll have a look at what it takes to move to Agile, and how to do so effectively.
How To Move To Agile
If you are considering adopting agile working methods, it is more than a simple change. There are many things you need to look at, but you should start doing so as Agile will save time on any sort of project.
Time, of course, is money so you save that too. Where to start when it comes to moving to an Agile methodology?
The first problem you will encounter, no matter how forward-thinking your teams are, is change. Humans are averse to change. We like routine and we like to do things the way we have always done them.
That’s in our nature both at home and in the workplace. You will encounter a ‘we’ve always done it this way’ attitude, so you need to begin by getting your team together and explaining what Agile is all about. Perhaps engage a professional who can show them thanks to greater experience.
The point to focus on is that Agile is not just about saving money and time for the business, but also about making life a lot easier for team members.
With a more solitary focus on a particular part of the project, an individual can shine and display their talent and ability more readily. It’s also a new skill they can add to their resume. Employers in the future will undoubtedly be looking for people skilled in the Agile method, so they will be one step ahead of the crowd.
Although you will undoubtedly encounter resistance there is little doubt that once your teams get used to Agile, they will find it to be the way forward.
If the future of working routines is heading the way of Agile methods it is time for you and your colleagues to learn all you can about this cost-effective method of working.
There is a lot to be said for Agile as a project management method, and it is certainly the way forward in areas such as IT and development.
Read all you can and talk to the experts about Agile, as you will find the change to be ultimately refreshing. We hope this article has helped you understand the basics of Agile and why it is the future.