“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”
In its simplest form, Agile is the act of taking one bite at a time. In traditional methods of development and marketing, everything is created in one swoop – eating the elephant in one bite.
Software and marketing projects may be different in content but are similar in size and complexity. Each project holds countless moving and interconnected parts that all work toward achieving one result. We achieve this goal by using a few core guidelines in the Agile manifestos.
In practice, Agile progress is made in iterations. An iteration is a timeframe, 2 weeks for software and 4 weeks for marketing, in which specific tasks are completed. And each iteration is a complete cycle of planning, design, development, testing and reviewing so that each iteration produces a completed “bite of the elephant.”
An Agile-functioning team is fast-paced and highly collaborative. Each team member is able to immerse themselves into a client’s business and processes to fully understand and address key issues. This makes clients more confident in the project because as stakeholders’ priorities change the client has the flexibility to change development directions to create best-fit solutions. For example, every day, Client X’s employees were spending countless hours navigating spreadsheets and communication channels in order to process thousands of confidential documents for each customer. So, like most projects, Client X came to us with a grand solution in mind. They envisioned a system that did it all, automating the entire process with a simple click of a button.
While the client’s initial concerns are considered closely, an Agile team’s objective is to provide the client with the best fit solution, which isn’t always what the client initially envisioned. If the team discovers an obstacle or a better solution for a procedure, they are able to involve the client and continue work without losing valuable time. As we began digging deeper into Client X’s processes and workflows, everyone began to realize just how complex the daily operations were. Seemingly simple instructions began to divide and multiply into lists of if/then requirements. Three step sequences branched into massive tree diagrams. Needless to say, we quickly determined the original grand solution was “the elephant.”
Thankfully, our Agile team knew exactly what to do and which questions to ask. The driving question was, “What is the most valuable solution we can quickly get into the client’s hands so that they can begin using it?” In the world of Agile, this is called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Rather than setting out on a potentially multi-year, extremely expensive project to accomplish the grand solution in its entirety, we started with the most valuable, most cost-effective piece. In this case, the biggest pain point for Client X was manual documentation review and organization. That pain point solution became our MVP. From the very beginning, the client was less fearful of the investment because they are making smaller investments for immediate and valuable results.
The client also knew that they will have full visibility and control over the project every step of the way. Every two weeks, we showed Client X progress and opened the floor for feedback. With the MVP as the goal, the team began “taking the first bite,” a.k.a. working using our iterative process. As the team completed each iteration, they were able to hear feedback from the client and constantly shape the product into its highest value version at every step. Even if updates or changes were needed in Iteration 5 or 11, our team was able to react and continually build exactly what Client X needed for MVP success.
At the completion of the project, the team was less stressed about meeting a deadline and more confident in the product they delivered because the project had been revised and tested every step of the way. In just a short time span, we were able to deliver a fully functional product to Client X to begin implementing into everyday workflows. As a result, Client X decreased processing time by 70% for each of its customers in the first week and solved its biggest pain point and hindrance to growth. By the end of the project, they had a high-value product that took less time and less money than traditional development methods. With a more agile and scalable workflow, Client X was ready to start work on Phase 2 within the next month.
Client X is only one example of the many Agile projects we’ve had the opportunity to work on. Using an agile methodology not only allowed our team to produce quality work in a brief timeframe but also provided the client with high visibility, quick results and a smaller invoice. Here’s a breakdown of a few of our favorite benefits:
Agile is Envoc’s proven method of success. If you would like to talk with our team of technical counselors to learn how Agile could work for your mobile app, custom software or digital marketing goals, we’re here to help. All you have to do is start the conversation.