It is without a doubt that in the past few years, the agile method has changed how businesses function. The linear, waterfall way of approaching projects was thrown out the door in favor of a more flexible model. The idea behind agile originated in software development. The fast-paced, instantaneous nature of software meant that products and services had to be developed rapidly to keep up with this standard. The agile methodology evolved as a response to these demands. As a company established in 2000, we’ve had the opportunity to work with agile since its inception. Today, many organizations also adapt and customize the agile process to meet their own particular needs.
Although agile can be applied in slightly different ways depending on the business and its goals, a few core features characterize the process. Projects are usually assigned to a small team, which deters different units from deflecting responsibility between themselves. An emphasis on flexibility means the team uses a rough outline to plan only necessary details, giving them the room to make any changes needed throughout the project. Lastly, progress is made at shorter increments which gives the team the ability to assess and adjust.
By embracing agile early on, we’ve had more than a decade to explore how to integrate the concept into our projects. At Marker Seven, we work hard to define how this methodology guides operations, adopting our own modified approach to creating digital products. Our project management process begins with particular tasks in the initial stages as we gauge the client’s needs. We start by having the client fill out an input questionnaire, which covers topics from preferred design aesthetics to functional needs, then assign certain aspects of the project to the right team member. We then hold weekly discussions with the client to get feedback on project activities as their product develops. Weekly status reports track short periods of development and the schedule is updated as needed. We also hold daily “scrum” meetings, where the Marker Seven team discuss their tasks and progress on particular projects.
Overall, our development process is broken down into four main parts: Discovery, UX, Content, and Design. At each stage, we create a prototype before fully coding and developing, giving us the freedom to adjust the product design according to the project’s evolving needs. This technique gives us the flexibility to meet any changing requirements from our clients and allows us to pivot without having to start over from step one.
Our agile method of work allows us to overcome various challenges. Recently, one of our clients went through a complete cultural and organizational change. Their transition included multiple rounds of staff changes and continuing product modification requests to meet the organization’s new focus. Using our own agile approach, we adapted to their changing needs, delivering a final product that met their demands and can scale with them as they continue to roll out changes.
Adopting agility is a major shift in how a company operates, and it is not easy to execute, but our experience has proven that it can be applied successfully even to companies who may not be using it internally. With the right combination of know-how and teamwork, we’ve seen how powerful agile can be.