Agile programming has become a prominent way of managing project design, with programmers and clients working together to craft goals and expectations as the project progresses. This allows for customized alterations as you go rather than following a linear model in which all aspects are agreed upon before the project began.
In IT, agile collaboration is a relatively new, but blooming way to accomplish a task. Thanks to the ever-evolving world of technology, following a linear model will likely create more problems than it’ll solve. Ultimately, adopting agile programming as a mindset could be the key to finding success in collaborative IT projects.
How Agile Programming Works
Such a system thrives on strong collaboration and often on collaborations that are unusual and unexpected. It requires a certain tendency to think outside the box, take risks, and try new things. It’s an extremely valuable tool in IT. If you aren’t so sure that creating unexpected partnerships can be effective, learn from these examples.
Lululemon Athletica, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company, needed a fresh new outlook for their line of clothing. Instead of reaching out to traditional designers, they went to Miami-based artist David “Lebo” Le Batard who used his talents to help them revamp their store and their clothing line.
As another example, consider the Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak partnership. Jobs was a business man without much aptitude for computer technologies at the beginning. Then he partnered up with Wozniak, who was the principle engineer behind Apple technologies. Through their lifelong collaborations, they were able to create one of the world’s largest technology empires.
A lot can be learned from both of these examples, even if they aren’t directly related to your industry. You can see the power of collaborating with getting rid of the top-down linear model of doing things and being willing to break the traditional mold to make it work. In fact, it could be your solution to any collaboration problems.
How to Implement Agile Programming
Developing agile programming requires involving all relevant parties to meet the needs of both the team members and the project. There are several elements that go into this process.
Give users some power. Just because your users don’t always understand the minutia of what you do doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Empowering your users will help you get the feedback you need to implement a great end product. Asking for feedback will lead you to make necessary adjustments to evolve your team and deliver the results that users need.
Embrace flexibility. Create an environment where your developers will feel safe and comfortable with change. This requires getting rid of the traditional top-down way of managing projects, and nurturing a new style of working as you accept feedback and curves as they come.
Gain a new mindset as the manager. If you want to sell this new way of programming, you’ll have to understand it inside and out. Approach the planning floor with a “command and conquer” attitude, being deeply involved in the projects and closely tracking and monitoring the results. It also requires quick thinking and the ability to make decisions in a snap.
Agile development requires a sudden and complete shift to a more flexible environment where everyone is on board with “winging it.” It might take some time for your team members to acclimate, but the ability to think outside the box, handle the curve balls as they come, and make split-second decisions as they come is a priceless skill to have in developing.