Here at After Digital we’re keen to implement processes that support a closer working relationship with our clients, ensuring collaboration and involvement at every stage. Over the years we’ve dabbled in a number of styles and formats searching for the best possible solution, but fundamentally we’ve always come back to a more agile way of working.

As we looked forward into 2015 we decided that we wanted to put the agile development methodology, and ultimately people, at the heart of everything we do. So, in December 2014, the entire After Digital team underwent an intense two-day agile training programme.

Since then, some of us have completed our Professional Scrum Master 1 Assessments, certifying us as an accredited ‘scrum master’ (our mothers will be proud) and over the coming month the whole team will gain their certifications. So, here’s to a more agile and scrum-tastic After Digital!

What is agile development?

Agile: “able to move quickly and easily.”

The agile methodology is a process developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the early 90s, in order to develop complex products in complex working environments. Originally created for the software development environment the methodology has evolved and is now used in a number of industries and environments across the world.

At its core is people and an understanding of human nature. Unlike many other processes, agile empowers individual team members and encourages self-organisation, whilst allowing for change. Agile development recognises that change is inevitable and, therefore, flexibility is essential to success.

Agile aims to be transparent, iterate fast, test frequently, learn and adapt.

In order to be agile, we employ the scrum framework and its techniques.

What is Scrum?

Unfortunately, for all the fans of men in short shorts out there, scrum has nothing to do with rugby. Scrum is in fact a lightweight framework used to build complex products and achieve an agile methodology, consisting of Scrum Teams with associated events, artifacts, roles and rules.

Scrum is based on what is known, taking an empirical view and employing an iterative, incremental approach to work. This allows for greater transparency, inspection and adaptation (the three cornerstones of scrum).

What are the benefits of agile development and scrum?

Approaching things from an agile perspective mean that we don’t get bogged down in unnecessary detail from the offset, but rather prioritise tasks, allowing us to produce increments of working deliverables quickly.

Cross-disciplinary teams are formed who are all exposed to the same level of insight to client’s projects and objectives. This instills greater buy-in and understanding of a client’s objectives across the board.

Agile adheres to the ‘fail fast’ mantra. People and communication are placed firmly back at the centre of projects, ensuring regular feedback is gained and the flexibility is provided for inevitable changes and challenges. Because you are working with small increments and regular releases it means that risk is reduced and predictability is increased.

Who uses agile?

Everyone from Microsoft, Yahoo, Salesforce (with teams of 500) and Amazon, through to Siemens Healthcare and the NHS (in small pockets) have adopted agile techniques. We’ve already utilised the agile approach to great success when working with clients including energy giant EDF Energy (who commonly implement the agile process for their own development), The Courtauld Institute and University of Southampton.

Moving forwards, all projects will be subject to our agile process, ensuring we live by what we preach - being a people-centric agency.

Interested in learning about agile development? We’re happy to share our hints and tips, or even to do some training for you and your team - drop us an email at [email protected] or give us a call on the numbers below.