Open source web development can feel like a musical number gone wrong. Sometimes there are too many dancers on the stage. Sometimes, an extra is still dancing during the dramatic pause. Ideally, after many rehearsals and finding the beat, everything is just right.
Either way, web development and dance share the same necessary trait: agility. Web developers use this trait differently from professional dancers. But there is a business practice that helps web developers and businesses alike increase productivity.
Agile enables organizations to respond to change with more efficiency and fewer hiccups. Agile also helps businesses manage projects by encouraging more productivity with fewer work hours. Leaders know that change happens, with or without warning. The strength and stability of a business depends on its ability to get with the times. Just like Newton’s laws of motion, three elements make up what we call The Pillars of Agile.
Pillar 1: The Small Team
Larger companies with more personnel can generally tackle bigger projects, but permitting employees to dedicate their hours to a handful of projects allows them to be more productive than assigning everyone a smaller role in many projects, according to Agile consultant Steve Denning.
Working in smaller teams fosters better communication, which lessens the frustration for both team members and the client. Although there is a better sense of community and collaboration with this system, projects and companies need leadership to function. Agile does maintain the clear leadership in tech companies that is found in more bureaucratic systems because people need to know whom they can turn to during success and failure. It’s important for a CEO or manager to work closely with a team to delegate responsibilities and troubleshoot when issues arise.
Pillar 2: The Customer
Every company that works with clients is familiar with this mentality: the customer is always right. Although that’s an important philosophy regarding service and goes a long way toward finding the best solutions, web developers and UX designers can't respond to every little request. Clients hire developers to build the best website. Although clients know their own company and brand, developers understand something else: how these attributes are communicated through the design and execution of the website.
Clients need to know that their needs are being taken care of and requests are being addressed. Follow up with clients a few months after the website launches and they will never forget it. Dedication to service leads to good word of mouth, and your contact information is passed on to friends and colleagues. So, even if = clients aren’t always right, their happiness makes your business succeed.
Pillar 3: The Network
Agile teams create agile networks, and allow other businesses with similar practices to connect. Cross communication with businesses and organizations that share similar values is essential in order to build solid relationships for referrals.
In a larger organization, smaller teams can interact so the philosophy carries from one department to another. Although individual projects should be tackled in smaller groups, discourse is essential to work out kinks and ensure success for the company. Encourage employees to meet with each other, even if they’re assigned to different working teams.
Tips for Bosses
- Include peer review as a standard part of your team's workflow.
- Host meetups and workshops to connect with other developers in your area. (We love using Meetup.com!)
- Make a schedule for company and team meetings and stick to it.
- If you don't think you're getting the feedback you need, try creating an anonymous survey (aka the "Virtual Suggestion Box") using Google Forms.
- Create an incentive program for developers to attend conferences or workshops.
Are you interested in hosting a meet up in the Philadelphia area? E-mail us!