Is your agency still struggling with scope creep and anemic profitability? Agile might be the answer.
It has been a while since we spoke about Agile, but we still see it as a great tool to have in your agency’s toolbox.
So, let’s start with the basics. Imagine you’re planning a road trip. You’ve got your final destination in mind, but you also know that there’ll be unexpected traffic, road work, or maybe that fascinating little detour that you just can’t pass up. You’ll need to adjust your route as you go, right? That’s Agile, in a nutshell. It’s a way of managing projects that’s flexible, adaptable, and, well, agile!
Agile embraces change unlike the old school “waterfall” method – where you make a plan, stick to it rigidly, and potentially plummet down a waterfall if things go wrong. It’s about breaking up your journey into small, manageable parts, regularly checking your progress, and adjusting your route as necessary.
Now onto some Agile terms:
Picture a rugby scrum, where everyone is huddled together, pushing towards a common goal. That’s Scrum for you! The clue is in the name!!!
It’s a type of Agile methodology where a team works together in short bursts of work, called “sprints.” Each sprint lasts about 2-4 weeks, at the end of which, you should have a deliverable chunk of work to show off. A key part of Scrum is the daily stand-up meeting, where everyone huddles (not physically, don’t worry!) to discuss progress and tackle any blockers.
Imagine a bustling sushi restaurant where dishes are sent out on a conveyor belt. That’s kind of what Kanban is like. It’s a visual system for managing work as it moves through various stages. Think of a board with columns like “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done”. You move tasks (usually on sticky notes or cards) across the board as they progress. It’s all about visualizing your workflow, limiting the amount of work in progress, and keeping things flowing smoothly.
Test Driven Development
This one’s like cooking a new recipe but tasting it after each step to make sure it’s going well. In TDD, before you write any new code, you write a test for it. Initially, the test will fail (because there’s no code yet, duh!), but then you write just enough code to pass the test. It’s a way to ensure your code is doing what it should be right from the start, rather than cooking up a whole dish and realizing it needs more salt!
So, how can a professional services business, like an ad agency, implement Agile?
Let’s imagine we’re working on a big ad campaign. Instead of planning the whole campaign from start to finish and then executing it (hello, waterfall), we break it down into smaller tasks or “stories.” Each could be a different aspect of the campaign, like scriptwriting, storyboarding, casting, filming, post-production, etc.
We then organize our tasks on a Kanban board, and our team meets daily for quick Scrum meetings to discuss what they’re working on and any obstacles they’re facing. We work in sprints, focusing on completing a set number of tasks for each sprint. For instance, the first sprint might be focused on scriptwriting and storyboarding.
We also implement TDD in our work. For example, before creating a social media ad, we set clear expectations of what success looks like (e.g., a certain number of likes, shares, or click-throughs). We then use these criteria to evaluate the ad after it’s published.
By using Agile, we’re regularly checking in on our progress, adapting to changes (like feedback from the client), and ensuring that we deliver a quality product at the end of each sprint. It’s like a relay race where each stage is vital and contributes to the final victory.
But remember, Agile isn’t just about process—it’s about people, too. It’s about promoting collaboration, embracing change, and fostering a working environment where communication flows freely and everyone’s input is valued.
And there you have it—Agile Project Management in a nutshell! It’s like a fun road trip where you’re always ready to take an exciting detour, continually checking your map and making sure every pit stop is worthwhile. So, hop in, buckle up, and enjoy the Agile ride!