That’s Not Really Agile, Is It?

A lot is written about Agile software development and seemingly as much appears to be misunderstood or perhaps just ignored until a newer, shinier buzzword emerges. To give context, I’m referring to Agile as it’s commonly used (or maybe misused) in digital marketing software development projects - not product development, R&D or other software teams where the methodology is a more natural fit. Narrowing the focus further let’s consider for the purpose of discussion a distributed team working across time zones.

Immediately there are challenges to the 4 Agile values:

1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools (challenge: decentralized teams who, in some cases never meet)

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation (challenge: handover if key members have to leave the team or the project moves to a different team for maintenance - or worse, a different vendor)

3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation (challenge: getting contracts signed without agreed upon scope, deadline & budget)

4. Responding to change over following a plan (challenge: with fixed budgets and timelines come CR costs and delivery delays)

A few high-level sticking points are identified above and each could be expanded into its own, lengthy discussion. There are many more that are specific to individual teams and projects. Dig in to the 12 principles of Agile and challenges become more granular still.

Those of you working in digital marketing: is the push behind Agile solely based on the traction it’s gained in software development circles, and, does it even matter that the reality bears little resemblance to its namesake methodology? Further, have any of you found success with a modified version of Agile that goes beyond sprints and iterative delivery?

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