Our team uses agile when we are developing our products and our service projects. If you aren't familiar with agile, it is defined as a "movement [that] seeks alternatives to traditional project management. Agile approaches help teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences and empirical feedback. Agile methodologies are an alternative to waterfall, or traditional sequential development."
Essentially with agile you don't waste your time planning out your entire year's worth of work just to have it crumble when you hit an inevitable bump in the development road. Chances are that something will come along that throws your schedule off, but when you're using agile, those types events, which might normally set you back to square one, are no big deal.
So how does agile planning work?
For an example of agile, let's take a look at our product team. They have created a long backlog full of tasks they want to accomplish for products - this is a dynamic list that changes along with our priorities and findings from customers. Using the tasks in the backlog they set up sprints. Sprints are a short period of time (a week, two weeks, you choose) that you commit to finishing a task, or tasks, from the backlog.
Every sprint the team decides what is going to get done from the backlog and every day the team meets up to report on how their progress is going on their particular tasks. Talk about accountability! When you're teammates are checking in on your progress each day, there is no room for slacking. What's important to note here is that tasks must be small enough to finish during the sprint. If they aren't, then you have to break them down into smaller tasks so they are able to be completed during the sprint. Once the sprint is over, the team meets up again, looks at the backlog, determines what tasks will be accomplished in that sprint and the process begins again.
We have found great success with agile. First, because it is a daily reminder to our team to keep communication and productivity at the top of their to-do list. Second, Because it is speed bump proof. Stuff happens, but agile allows you to deal with it without starting over. Stay tuned to hear how our EVP of Sales & Strategy, Nate Norman, uses agile for his daily to-do list!
Check out what we make with agile!
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