From Good to Great, the Agile Debate

Our Ottawa-based digital agency transitioned from Waterfall to Agile software development. Here’s why it will make a world of difference for your next web project.

If you’re unfamiliar with the world of software development, then you likely have no idea what I mean when I refer to “Agile” and “Waterfall” development methodologies. But it’s important you know because the difference is a game-changer. It will make a world of difference to you, your project and your entire experience working with a digital agency.

I’ll give you a bit of context here, so you can see the whole picture.

Before OPIN went Agile, we developed in the Waterfall method. The process went a little something like this:

  • Meet with clients to plan their project in its entirety.
  • Assign developers to build it.
  • Deploy the project when it was completed.

There was little wiggle room for new additions or ideas during the build, and clients only got to see how the site looked when it was finished in its entirety.

Agile software development still incorporates the plan-develop-deploy cycle that happened in the waterfall methodology, but now it is broken up into two-week cycles called “sprints.” The process now looks like this:

  • Collaborate with clients to decide what part of the digital project is going to be built.
  • Two-week development sprint.
  • Show & Tell: Demo’ing to clients what was just built and how it works.

This cycle repeats over and over until the entire project is completed.

A graphic that visually explains the agile workflow.

Agile = Happy Clients

Here’s why:

1. No surprises. What you want, you get.

Unlike waterfall development, Agile lets you see your project as it’s built. With a “touchpoint” every two weeks showing you what’s been developed, Agile gives the client the ability to flag any issues or concerns as they arise, instead of being faced with a final project that doesn’t meet your expectations and no time to fix it. Agile takes away unwanted surprises and gives you full control over the finished product.

2. Open communication is the key to a good relationship and an even better project.

Had a last minute idea that you want added to your site? Afraid it might be too late? It’s never too late in agile. Agile software development opens the doors to constant communication between agency and client. We can sit down with you to talk about your new ideas and figure out the best way to make it happen. Clients are always part of the decision making process for how the project and required features are shaped. Communication makes for a great working relationship, and the digital project you’ve always envisioned!

3. We teach you to fish, so you can eat for a lifetime.

A new website is great, but it’s useless if you’re not familiar with its capabilities and functions. The great thing about being able to show off features every two weeks is that the client also gets to learn how to use them in real-time. We demo the software, record it and deliver it to the client to review and get comfortable with. Giving clients the tools to use and maintain their site will save time, money and a headache after the digital project has launched.

4. A gift after every sprint: A fully functioning piece of your website.

One of the major differences between Waterfall and Agile is the constant delivery of fully functioning features of the website. Instead of having nothing until the project is completed (like in Waterfall), agile delivers new components of your site every two weeks. You can actively use each new feature throughout the building process and before you know it, all the pieces will come together as your completed digital project.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Two heads are always better than one and from our team’s perspective, Agile is great because it encourages collaboration. In the agile workflow, the success of a project doesn’t rely on just one person, all developers on the team have a stake in all elements of the project. If a developer gets stuck on a feature or piece of code, their team members are there to help. It’s through teamwork (and agile) that we’re able to deliver the great projects we do.

So, now you know how OPIN works and why Agile makes all the difference when we’re building digital projects for our clients. We can work more efficiently as a team, keep you in the loop with your project to make sure it stays true to your vision, and ultimately deliver you the best possible product end result.

The Agile methodology is one of the key ingredients in OPIN’s secret sauce. Want a taste?