Agile is the latest buzzword in the agency world. But before it was a word applied to and used by agile agencies, it was created as a software development method to solve huge failures in the way people were working.
For example, a study by McKinsey came to this staggering conclusion: “On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted”
Agile was designed to stop the bleeding in software creation, but quickly people began to see that it would work on more than just big IT projects. That’s why forward thinking agencies, especially those that do digital, began to replace their old waterfall methodologies with agile across the spectrum of their work.
The advantages for brands of working with agile agencies are many, but can be boiled down to the four benefits outlined below. They sum up how agile works and why it makes sense to have a partner which knows how to do it.
The 4 biggest benefits that agile agencies bring to brands:
1. Agile Agencies Save Time
All agile projects finish on time. No hype here, this is absolutely true. At IQ for example, we use the popular agile methodology called Scrum, which uses time blocks called sprints. Say each sprint is two weeks. Within each of these two-week sprints, you and your team decide what is going to be completed. At the end of each sprint you have a working prototype. It has only a subset of your requirements, but it is a true working model or draft of the end product — not just wires or comps.
This process reduces a lot of time-consuming processes that traditional methods require. Change orders are also completely eliminated, as change control becomes part of the overall process.
2. Agile Agencies Save Money
The agile process gives a client a clear and accurate understanding of cost. The team knows how many “stories,” as agile Scrum requirements are called, can be completed in each sprint, and since each sprint is time boxed, you know what each sprint costs. The team then puts all your stories into sprints, which results in a complete cost and timeline. Gone are cost over-runs and being nickel and dime’d to death with change orders. Estimation is part of the agile process — not something extra and apart from it. Eliminating all that process and overhead also often allows the agile agency to cost less.
3. No more surprises
At the end of each sprint, you get to see a working model— called a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The magic here is that you are no longer forced to imagine the final product from a treatment or wireframes. By being able to see a tangible deliverable at regular intervals, you can easily identify problems and enhancements you want to make early on. Gone are the days of waiting eight weeks to finally get your first look, and then having to fight with your agency about what was or wasn’t “in scope”.
4. Agile Agencies Offer Greater flexibility
How many times have you had a great idea, or come up with the perfect addition after your project was finished or far along? Try bringing ideas late in the process to a traditional non-agile agency, and get ready to be bombarded with change orders, fees, delays or the inevitable “Let’s do that in phase two” response. With the agile method, however, your last-minute ideas are welcome. The team simply adds another story, gets you to prioritize it and includes it in the next sprint.
First, agile revolutionized the way software is created, now it’s revolutionizing the way work is delivered in the agency world. For both digital and traditional projects (from websites to print ads), the savings in time and dollars, the flexibility, and the continuous insight you get into a project’s progress have made Agile a game changer for how brands and their agencies work.