If you work in an agency or perhaps on the client side, you will probably agree that there are constant balancing acts to be achieved between clients and agencies. I have worked on many projects and common issues always arise because the brief was vague or the expectation was not set. More often than not, this is because we are so hung up on documentation.
Agile is not only a different project management methodology, it’s also about changing the project mindset of both clients and agencies. In this post, I will share how both sides of the act can build better relationships to improve efficiencies and achieve better results.
1. Roles and responsibilities
Within the DSDM Agile Project Management framework, there are a number of key roles that have their own responsibilities within a project. Early on, identify who is the best fit for these roles and, if one person has many roles, make sure they are wearing different hats when required.
These roles should be defined and implemented as part of the project briefing and within the scope of work document. At Quadra, this small change has allowed us to clearly identify the owner and the day-to-day decision maker within a project, right from day one. This in turn brings the relevant person closer to the project, mitigating risks and delays.
2. What do you want, do you really really want?
Just as the Spice Girls asked, what is it that a business really really wants?
We ask clients for a clear idea of their minimum viable product (acceptance criteria) by identifying must-haves, should-haves, could-haves and won't-haves (at this time). This is a typical Agile Project Management technique and allows the solutions development team to focus on the business needs, also building with clear scalability in mind.
We encourage our clients to empower us (the solutions development team) to make quick decisions and, in turn, deliver a solution that meets these requirements.
3. Do more, talk less
The main difference between Agile and Prince2 project management is that Agile empowers the solutions development team to make decisions. This mindset ensures that the entire project team can spend less time talking about how to implement the solution at the outset of a project, and simply get on with doing what everyone does best!
So how do you know if you're on track? Well, another benefit of Agile is that agencies work closer with clients. Iterative development encourages the business to review the solution whilst it's being developed; if changes need to be made, they can - and quickly. There is less "out of scope" and more focus on an evolving solution that meets the business needs.
- Involve the right people from the start and don't become too hung up on detail during the early stages.
- The business must be on board with the methodology and allow the solutions development team to be empowered to make decisions.
- Set expectations early on and clearly understand how the must-haves, should-haves, could-haves and won't-haves are defined.
- Take an iterative approach: develop, assemble, review, deploy - repeat.