Agile: Enough toe-dipping, we’re going in all the way up to our knees!

As my team will attest, whilst we use an agile approach to our project management, I detest the doctrine that is the Agile Movement. There’s a lot of good in amongst it, but there’s way too much jargon and cult-like following in it for my taste.

Due to the complex nature of building web apps, it’s tricky to accurately estimate large projects. There are many twists and turns along the way, most noticeably when the project is speculative, or a product, or... ah, who am I kidding, they’re almost all tricky in one way or another.

All of this can make it tough for our new clients, many come to us having been burnt by a bad experience in the past or this is their first major web project. Placing their trust and hard-earned cash with an organisation that they‘ve only met a few times can be daunting.

In an effort to manage the complexity, we’re always evaluating the way we work within our team and with our clients. But balancing the needs of ‘our’ business and that of our clients can be challenging.

At Custom D, we’d like to think that we provide a good workplace, but a familiar groan from our team is the granular nature of tasks and time entries. When your stock in trade is time, it makes sense that you track it vigilantly....

...until it doesn’t.

What we’re finding is that if you drive the focus of your work towards time entries, tasks, budgets, estimates etc there’s very little opportunity to lift your head and assess where you’re at relative to the project goals, the deliverables and making sure what you’re doing is adding value? And success becomes just as much about meeting budget as it does about what we’re building.

So we’re throwing caution to the gentle breeze and we’re adopting more of the pure agile techniques – NOT ALL OF THEM, just enough to ensure the definition of success is derived from what we’re building, how well it works and most of all delivering value.

We’ll be trying this out across a few key projects and we’ll check back in to let you know how it goes.

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