Yesterday we started to train the first group of our entire team in the Agile project approach.
What is Agile?
Agile was created in the early 1990s as an alternative method for the then prevailing way of project management according to the “waterfall method”. They wanted to address the well-known project problems such as high workloads, unattainable deadlines, budget overs, tensions between project members and quality problems. The question was whether there would not be a better project approach that would overcome many of the above problems.
Traditional project approach versus Agile
In the traditional project management methods, a thick project plan was and is made in advance in which one tries to describe the path to the result as best as possible and to estimate costs and time. It is the task of the project leader to try following the plan with the project team. The Agile approach is based on a different way of working: it is assumed that it is very difficult – if not impossible – to pre-conceive a project in a good plan and design. As a result, time, money and project achievements will always turn out differently than in the plan. So why spend so much time writing a project plan when it’s not convenient? Agile projects take a different approach where the timeline of the project is divided into a number of short iterations of, for example, 2 or 3 weeks. The team will then look at what is the most important work at that time. After a working period of 2 or 3 weeks, the situation will evaluated and based on the current achievements there will be decided how to proceed.
In essence, the Agile approach boils down to this: instead of creating a comprehensive project plan with designs and research in advance, you will start working directly in the Agile projects. In short time frames (iterations, timeboxes or in Scrum terminology: sprints) of about 1 to 4 weeks you build parts of the project. After that period, you’ll revisit what’s most important to do in the next iteration. This way you get to the end result in an x number of iterations.
One of the discussion cards during the course
The Agile Manifesto
The Agile Manifesto is based on four values:
- People and their interaction over processes and tools
- Working software over all-encompassing documentation
- Cooperation with the customer overcontract negotiations
- Responding to change over following a plan
Let us be clear that all the aspects mentioned are important and must be implemented. There needs to be a good contract and excellent documentation, but Agile shows how to achieve better and more realistic results by naming these preferences.
Agile brings a number of new principles and insights to projects such as:
- Team members have much more to say about the project and are therefore often in several varied roles: consultant, executor, designer, planner
- The design of a project result is gradually created and is hardly predetermined
- Project steps are cut into smaller parts, making the work clearer and can be adjusted more quickly if a build element does not work out as desired
- Teams are invited to try things out, activating innovation and creativity, and more motivation!
- The planning of the project is based on the smaller elements and therefore becomes more realistic; as opposed to big deadlines in ‘a few months’
- The team will start creating almost immediately and will not wait for instructions from a project plan
The Agile approach has shown good results when building software. The Agile methodology often used for software development is Scrum. Davanti has also been working according to the Scrum principle for a long time. Our Development Team has acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in Agile working and is very satisfied with this way of working. We have experienced many advantages in terms of regarding cooperation, planning and implementation in relation to the traditional project approach. But actually we want our entire organization to work Agile; that’s why we train our entire staff. At Davanti we like to learn and we want to apply the best way of working to serve our customers optimally.
Benefits for our customers
We also see advantages for our customers in the Agile approach in our WMS implementations.
- Quicker and more flexible intervention in the event of any disruptions. By quickly investigating the cause together, it is possible to switch on quickly. There are no surprises afterwards
- The customer has more influence on the processes, because he is himself in the Scrum team
- There is a clear division of tasks and responsibilities; what does Davanti and what does customer