Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of Forrester research. So a recent Forrester Blog, entitled The Top Thirteen Customer Management Trends for 2012, warmed my Customer Experience heart. It spoke of many of the trends I am personally following, including Agile development processes. Varolii is a cloud services provider that practices agile methodologies. So, this means our customers get faster product updates which allow them to be nimble in their customer interaction strategies, as well. Agile methodologies can help facilitate and support new, state-of-the-art, and leading-edge processes and best practices (many more benefits of the cloud can be found in my blog, The Cloud - What Is It? Should My Call Center Be There?).
In Forrester's blog, William Band spoke eloquently to Agile:
“Agile implementation approaches will take root. Companies want to become more flexible, and they are increasingly adopting Agile project management and software development methodologies based on the principles of iterative development, where requirements evolve through collaboration between a self-organizing cross-functional team. Pure waterfall and big-bang approaches to CRM technology deployment approaches are declining and being replaced with ‘Water-Scrum’ and ‘Scrum-Fall.’”
After reading Bill’s predictions, I realized that many readers may think ‘Water-Scrum’ is a nasty bug that requires a prescription of Ciproflaxin. So, I decided to define Bill’s thoughts a bit further so we can all follow this Hot 2012 Trend.
Agile Project Management
Defined: Agile Project Management is a method used by engineers and IT personnel. It allows development projects to be highly flexible and interactive. It uses supplier, customer, and employee input. Agile techniques are best used in small-scale projects. Elements of wider programs of work, or ongoing projects that are difficult for the customer to understand also utilize this methodology of management.
Benefits: Mistakes can be easily corrected. Projects are easier to maintain and improvise. Progress can be verified by internal teams and outside consultants. Agile projects can be delivered in an efficient manner depending on the situation and what it requires.
Example: Scrum is an agile process that has three roles: There is the Product Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the team. The Product Owner oversees the product. He or she makes sure that it’s the right product and it is being built in the right order. The ScrumMaster oversees the people in the project. He or she makes sure that they are on target, overcoming obstacles, and tracking progress. The team assumes responsibility for achieving project goals. They determine which people work on each task.
Agile Software Development Methods
Defined: Agile Software Development Methods have requirements and solutions that evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams. In addition to being self-organizing, these groups of individuals must be skilled in adaptive planning, rapid responsiveness to change as well as evolutionary development and delivery. This type of methodology promotes foreseen interactions that take place throughout the development cycle.
Benefits: Documentation saves time because it is streamlined and crisp. High quality software ensures the least possible time duration and the most satisfied customers. Agile's business benefits can be realized as faster time-to-market, increased business value, and improved flexibility and responsiveness.
What Is Scrum – And Does It Live In Waterfalls?
Iterative Development, Where Requirements Evolve Through Collaboration between a Self-Organizing Cross-Functional Team
And remember – a cross-functional team can help customers redefine standards by identifying what needs to be done in the first place. This helps avoid a situation like that in Figure 1 below, courtesy of The Project Cartoon: