Embracing Agile, Embracing change
Embracing Agile, Embracing change
Imagine a creaky old ship on choppy water. Before the crew can fire a canon they have to check the wind conditions, consider the movement of the boat and also configure their aim. Now imagine a modern ship. It has the newest technology; with a press of a button you fire a missile, with a route that can be modified even after launch. The old ship symbolises the structured waterfall methodologies, and the new ship, the flexible, adaptive agile methods.
Agile methods have been around for about 15 years, but didn’t become a buzz word until the agile manifesto was written in 2001. Around the same time people also started becoming certified scrum masters. As a way of running projects, agile looks great on paper; it allows the client to be more involved in a project and closer to the product during the whole process. The work can start straight away and therefore, it can get out the door quicker. Instead, a Waterfall project has to be planned out in detail and in advance before anyone can actually start building the product.
Fabio Calvente, Salt’s Agile and Projects Recruitment Consultant thinks that Agile is a flexible working method, which allows for susceptible market changes and results. It allows the client to see and review raw features and give rapid feedback. Therefore, the product has kept up with the market demands, which often reduces waste, as the right product has been produced from the very start. As agile is a more transparent working method, all team members are involved in every aspect of the process; they are not kept in the dark for 3-6 months creating something which results in a product that is no longer fit for its purpose.
The question is if agile is so effective at getting innovative products to the market, do we still need waterfall methods? Fabio believes that there will always be a place for waterfall, especially if a company is working on a large-scale project. If it is going to require heavy investment or will have to pass some red tape, leaving little scope for error, waterfall is a better option. Today there are many smaller start-up companies around, which have been using agile methods from the start due to their small teams. Later, when they have grown into multi-million pound companies for example Facebook and Lovefilm, they are still using the same methods. 90% of small companies in 2013 used agile in some form for their projects and 65.8% believe that it can increase their profit. As the market becomes more in tune with digital transformation, organisations need to integrate agile methods into their projects in order to keep up with the competition. A 100% agile method is difficult to sustain though, so a balance is more desirable. Top brands are therefore always on the lookout for candidates who can bring a culture of agile into their projects.
A person who wants to work in agile needs to be familiar with its adaptive, dynamic environment, but the personality, experience and style of working and leading is what matters most. There are a lot of certified agile professionals out there who look great on paper but still retain a command and control leadership style, which is associated with the Waterfall style of management.
Fabio believes that 2014 will force more organisations to adapt to agile methods, as there is a fast growing demand for candidates with agile project experience, but what the future holds for agile, we will have to wait and see.