“The goal is to give clients what they want, not just what they signed off on” says Sandeep Sawhney, CTO at Icreon.
What is Agile-ish (Scrum?)
The risks of waterfall development methodologies are widely discussed and documented: prolonged development schedules, team burn out, client communication lapses and compromised QA, amongst others. And agile has since become popular as the preferred alternative approach for software delivery across projects.
While, with some projects, agile is the only way to organize, there is no one-size-fits-all software development practice. As an increasing number of businesses request their projects be managed in an agile methodology, it is important that they realize the commitments involved and seriously consider “agile-ish” as an option.
Agile-ish = Agile with a Twist
So what is agile-ish? Agile-ish is a flavor of agile scrum development with a pre-development phase that involves an intensive specification process that outlines user stories and sets the backlog so the scope is defined and can be better priced out upfront. In agile-ish, the development phase itself is approached using the collaborative, iterative and evolving imperative of agile scrum processes.
This slideshow features five benefits organizations can achieve by adopting an agile-ish philosophy, as identified by Icreon.
Click through for five benefits of adopting an agile-ish (scrum) development philosophy, as identified by Icreon.
“Clients want pure agile development and want a fixed budget, and don’t understand why what they’re asking for is a paradox,” says Devanshi Garg, COO at Icreon Tech.
Agile-ish development enables a more defined scope as well as an opportunity for the project manager (PM)/scrum master to become familiar with the business requirements. A tighter specification upfront provides greater flexibility to draw technical roadmaps and phase out features, enabling a guideline for development teams to work toward meeting assigned budgets and timelines.
Change is inevitable, and one of the biggest constraints of working with waterfall methodology is the lack of flexibility in dealing with changes that are often crucial to building a successful product.
In agile-ish, the features in the backlog are assigned points and these points can be easily swapped out when business requirements change and the respective backlogs are updated. The swap can maintain a total for the project or the client can top it up with additional credit.
“Agile-ish works better for organizations who want to build a great product but have budgetary constraints they need to be transparent about and work around, and agile becomes challenging,” adds Garg.
The development process of agile-ish itself is similar to agile. Agile-ish processes are influenced by the proactive and self-organizing nature of agile (scrum) development teams. The development team is constantly reviewing and assigning tasks in the backlog as per the requirements.
The features in the backlog are regularly prioritized by the PM/scrum master and are reviewed on predefined intervals by the client. Similar to agile, testing is a continuous and consistent part of the process, through each sprint and before rollout.
While software development is an essential endeavor for most businesses, it is rarely the most important project. Product development companies can more easily fulfill the expectations agile outlines for them, however, most other businesses need time and resources to focus on their core functions, and are unable to commit the kind of resources that are required to make agile a success.
Agile-ish processes offer clients a way to be involved without the pressure of having to drive the process forward full time. Agile-ish can work with weekly calls over daily calls. And, as in agile, instead of managing the backlog and business priorities, the client is reviewing the decisions that their PM/scrum master makes for them, which are openly shared across teams.
Project management becomes an art as well as a science.
The goal is to understand the consequences of the resources at hand and the governing limitations, and choose agile or agile-ish as a tool based on the unique requirements of the situation. The role of project managers becomes more important than ever before, as they are required to make that call and to adapt their approach accordingly.