Over the last year or so, our team embarked on moving from a typical Waterfall development approach to implementing a Scrum/Agile approach. While there are plenty of good blogs about making this transition from a development standpoint, I have not seen a lot of good information on what this change means from a business standpoint for an agency or professional services firm.
One of our biggest challenges is aligning the benefits of Agile to the way sales are accomplished in the organization. Our most effective sales approach has always been to have a fixed budget, fairly defined scope, and to provide timeline windows (X months, etc.).
Software development organizations are trying to realize the benefits of moving to more Agile methodology, often with limited success. When product owners are asked what is most difficult about the transition from traditional to Agile development, the overwhelming response is focused on managing the impacts of change … on the team, on the client, and the project.
Meltmedia has also decided to take that leap into Agile and similar challenges. But, by working closely with our teams and our clients, we have identified some fundamental practices to mitigate change impact.
Step 1: Reduce the impact of change requests on your team.
The introduction of Agile has allowed development teams to more quickly produce high quality, functioning software for their clients. During short iterations (sprints), teams deliver production-ready units of work, receive client feedback, and make requested adjustments. This allows for faster course corrections when original requirements weren’t well understood or when business circumstances change. In fact, “regular adaptation to change” is one of the fundamental principles that form the foundation of Agile.