Unfortunately, the purpose of the picture above is a bit deceiving. Although it’s a pretty waterfall to look at, this post will be discussing quite the opposite of this plummeting body of water. It’s name is Agile, and yes I am guessing you are seriously confused right now. Allow me to clear up this situation.
Throughout the semester I have learned about two different methods to managing projects, waterfall and agile. This article will help to understand agile management, so based on my knowledge, here’s some information on the waterfall method. According to guest presenter Jesse Wright, waterfall is non stop. Once the business plan is made it is “dropped off”, such like a waterfall and goes through production in an ongoing process. Jesse describes agile as a much different method. In this management style there is a planned out vertical of production. The project gets split up into weeks, also known as sprints, which are better suited for changes that can happen throughout the process.
In the reading by Sarah Carmichael, she sits down with Darrell Rigby and Jeff Sutherland to gain some more knowledge on this agile method of management. Rigby first states that, “We’re really contrasting it with predictive innovation that tries to guess at the beginning all of the requirements that are going to be necessary in the end. We think of agile as being more adaptive. That is, you cannot forecast everything that is going to be required. So you should start with a vision of where you want to go. But be prepared to shift the path along the way and how to get there.” This description is basically a fancy way of explaining what Jesse said.
Although a fairly lengthy explanation, Sutherland gives a good overview of the process. “You have to start in Scrum we have a product owner. That’s a person that has a vision for what needs to be built. And he creates a backlog, a list of features that need to appear in the order of business value. And he engages a team and a Scrum master to work with him to figure out how to implement that. Once they agree or are clearly understanding what the product owner feels that customers need, they enter into what we call a sprint, where they work in short cycles building, essentially, production prototypes. So they may go into a one or two week iteration. At the end they have something working that they can show to a customer, and then get feedback whether they like it or not. Based on that feedback, they can change the way they’re working and iterate again and keep coming back to the customer with something that’s better and better every time.” What you see in bold are words or phrases that I have picked that help me understand agile. To simply put it, Agile is a team management style broken up into sprints, allowing for continuous feedback until the customers needs are met.
If you don’t want to stop here, I strongly suggest continuing on because the whole interview is extremely interesting. I have given you a concise idea of what agile management is so if you want more information this page is a great resource. On the link that I have provided below you can find a recording of the whole interview as well as the full text.