Is adopting agile harder for agencies and consulting companies?

Agile development has imprinted solid mark in the software development in last 5-6 years. There is a jump from fringe to the mainstream, and the claim of "We are Agile!" is truer at this time in the teams while it wasn't back in 2010.

The Agile Manifesto was written by a group of software developers for their use. Many of the underlying principles of a framework like Scrum assume the existence of an in-house team and working for the business that employs them.

There is a strong argument for

"Agile Methodology is easier in the settings where you have all the control. Adhering to agile frameworks such as Scrum is more difficult within an agency/consulting structure than it is for an in-house development team especially with the client who understands fixed costs, fixed deadlines, and fixed bid contracts."

On this notion, Atish Narlawar speaks with Christopher Cunningham, a Group Technology Director at Huge, to understands "Does Agile works in the client engagements?" and what are the factors which play a significant role to make it happen.

They start the discussion by going through the factors which have changed in the engagement following Agile process. Chris mentions the importance of a shared language which plays a significant role to create a shift where agencies and client services pushing Agile with their customers. This change has worked with a positive note as agencies started to spend more time delivering excellent products, and less time arguing over out-of-date functional specs. Infact he thinks clients are also requesting and even demanding agile practices from their agencies.

Chris mentions even though some contracts bound with a deadline and fixed costs but there are better ways to get overcome with this, and the best way is to get rid of the fear of uncontrolled cost with the clients. With the combination of informed decisions, tangible results, waste reduction, risk transparency and time to market Agile can certainly give enough ammunition to influence customers and build the trust. With delivering a fully-working product at every milestone, Chris mentions agile expects more involvement from the clients at every step, and corporate companies responded to this need with the positive note.

On the reporting side, Agile driven burn down charts, sprint velocity and points breakdown offers the better way of tracking the progress, identifying the impediments than traditional metrics.

Christopher also notes that within an enterprise environment, Agile methodology is restricted to the software development teams. Other parts of an engagement like business, approval workflows and delivery management still go through traditional way, and that's one of the main reason the clients are not able to leverage the full Agile potential. He predicts there will be a positive change in upcoming days and companies will experience company-wide adoption.

Podcast: Tech Time Podcast

Venue: Brooklyn, NY.

Host: Atish Narlawar

Guest: Christopher Cunningham