Agile methodology for your small business

If you have your own business or want to start one, it can feel like you must consider billions of things simultaneously. You would like to take a straight and safe road and in reality, you find yourself constantly adjusting your driving, changing routes to look for new opportunities. With the agile methodology, you can adapt to changes quickly and easily.

Delorean Side Agile Cristiano Bellucci

Agile was created for enterprises and tech companies. We can adapt it to our small business or freelance activity. In fact, the goal is the same: to adapt and innovate in a world that is changing faster and faster. Indeed, agile has above all to do with mindset. If you want to improve processes, increase productivity and foster innovation, then the agile methodology is the right answer for you.

Would it have been better to use agile methodology?

It is 1975 when John, who had just left General Motors, decides to start his own car company. John takes obsessive attention to the design and the engine of his car. He spends time and invests a lot of money to build the best sports car ever. And these are in fact the aspects that led John to bankruptcy. An investment of 150 million dollars and 6 years to build the first models are among the main problems that make the entire project start with such a large debt that it is impossible to recover.

John manages to produce a few models, sales are not encouraging and after only 3 years of marketing, the factory closes. It is 1982. It will take other 3 years before the whole world falls in love with the car that John DeLorean produced: the protagonist of Back to the Future. Despite the huge cinema success, the DeLorean DMC 12 will remain accessible only for those 7,000 models produced.

There are many examples of brilliant ideas that took too long to reach the market. Or even worse than mediocre ideas that required huge investments and which the market then rejected. The Agile methodology applied to entrepreneurial activities focuses on developing the product incrementally, progressively receiving feedback from users, starting as soon as possible. If building a machine requires a large initial investment and time to have the first model, digital projects are better suited to the Agile model. The Agile model also applies well to digital marketing activities for any business. In fact, the Agile model was born for software development.

I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work. Thomas A. Edison

What is agile methodology?

The agile methodology aims to quickly deliver a product or service to the customer, with finished and tested functionalities, which can be improved or extended in successive and short cycles. Small development teams adjust their work plans based on customer requests and feedback.

The 5 phases of Agile projects

Agile Project Cristiano Bellucci

1. Initiation

Definition of the project, what you want to achieve and what is excluded from the project.

2. Planning

Definition of objectives to be achieved and a work plan with deadlines.

3. Execution

The creation of the actual project, to achieve its objectives within the timeline.

4. Test

Measurement and adjustment of the project against the objectives.

5. Finishing

Closing the project by sharing the results achieved.

Benefits of the Agile methodology

Among the benefits of the Agile methodology, there is continuous communication with the customer. Especially during the execution of the project, constant dialogue with customers is the key to understanding if the project is evolving in the right direction or if it needs to change. In fact, the more frequently you manage to deliver the improved product, the sooner you will get user feedback.

The development team is of particular importance because there is a continuous discussion between the members to constantly improve.

Workshop is one tool used in the various agile phases. Having this type of meeting with all the people involved, from the development team to the customers, helps to define and detail the project and the objectives. In fact, in the Agile methodology, one does not seek to have all the information before starting the project but to obtain the details through iterative processes. After a few development phases, you can ask for user feedback and have a workshop to detail subsequent developments.

Delorean Prj Agile Cristiano Bellucci

When to use Agile methodology

We have seen that Agile consists of principles that can be used in any project. It is also true that some projects require time and investment before they can be placed on the market. Agile fits well in those contexts in which it is difficult to plan the project in detail. In those projects, you can start with high-level ideas that will be defined later, especially after customers’ feedback.

Experiences with agile methodology

Software projects are definitely the best examples to take advantage of the Agile methodology. I have worked with clients who did not belong to the computer industry and for whom the final product took a long time. In these cases, it was not possible to have intermediate products that users could use or even evaluate. Nevertheless, it was possible to use the other Agile principles related to customer engagements, workshops and team management which made the project easier to develop.

Even for digital marketing projects, using an Agile approach helps to focus on the most important aspects by gradually refining the project and objectives. In this way, we can have an assessment of what we are doing, understand if the investments can bear the desired results or adjust the direction.

Agile methodology in action!

Now is the time for action, it’s your turn! Think of a new project you want to launch. Or take an existing service or product and try to improve it with the Agile methodology. Can you create a workshop with customers and the development team to better understand the project? Can you define the goals you want to achieve and see over time if you can achieve them?

Conclusion

The Agile methodology is applied to develop new products by verifying them with customers in a progressive way. It helps us understand what customers really want step by step. It helps us change direction during the project to match what the clients need. Next time you want to develop a new digital project, you can use Agile and its benefits.

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