We all know being nimble and quick helps Jack jump over the candlestick. Agility is great for leaping over obstacles in your way, but why stop at candlesticks? Today, agility helps develop software, design circuit boards, and manage complicated projects from start to finish.
At Treetown Tech, agility is the special something that gets us from the napkin sketch to the “living, breathing” machine. And we’ve got our unique take on it. Ready to get a peek behind the curtain?
The Problem: The Rabbit Hole
Setting out tasks and a timeline for a new project make it manageable, not monumental. But projects morph and grow; phases can take longer than initially planned; staying out of the weeds gets harder. Before you know it, you’ve gone down a rabbit hole trying to solve a minor problem or answer a tiny question and lost sight of the big picture. Soon, the entire project can get delayed, run over budget, or go off course.
Before that happens, it’s time to pause and reassess where the project is heading; the conductor must keep the train chugging along the tracks!
The Solution: Agile Development
At Treetown Tech, we’ve occasionally found ourselves going down a rabbit hole; but climbing out is a simple matter of shifting strategy. Here’s how we’ve done it.
We’ve borrowed a concept from the software world: Agile Development. Agile is all about adaptive planning to improve development through organized collaboration, making it a perfect fit for project management.
Our team implements this concept using a Kanban board to list:
- Ready-to-start items,
- Waitlisted or blocked items,
- In-progress elements,
- Completed tasks,
- Abandoned ideas.
Anything that comes up gets added to the board, so we have a bird’s eye view of all project elements in one place. Whether it’s relevant at the time or not, this allows us to keep ideas for a project in one place, so they’re not forgotten. On a day-by-day basis, we can keep track of what needs to be done immediately versus things that can wait a while by prioritizing the tasks in the board.
The 2-Week Sprint
To keep our team focused, we focus our activities on 2-week sprints, especially on larger projects. Our project leaders look at the board 1) to establish what tasks are backlogged or completed and 2) to establish the priorities for the upcoming 2-Week Sprint.
What’s important right now that we need to focus on? Tasks from the backlog? New priorities that have emerged and we need to adapt to? Our project leaders assign specific tasks to individuals; everyone knows the short-term goals for the next two weeks.
We check in with our clients weekly and update them on our progress. It’s essential for them to be part of the goal-setting process and advise on priorities. It’s their project, after all! Then the team continues to put the pedal to the metal.
Ultimately, we believe this sprint strategy strikes the perfect balance. The team gets space to work, brainstorm, and experiment. The project managers ensure that the best ideas get cultivated. The clients stay up to date. And no one gets lost in the weeds.
Agility for every project
We use Agile across the board, not just in software development. We’ve called our process “integrative hard agile.” It helps us keep our team focused and flexible so we can pivot quickly. If a client needs to evolve, so can we. In our 2-week sprint, we understand our goals—which can be just as crucial as actually meeting them. By staying focused, responsive, and Agile, we keep our priorities straight and moving forward.
Need an agile team for your next project? Reach out to one of our experts today.