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Agile 101


Enjoy a summary of the interview with the Toronto-based Agile trainer Shai Shandil about how working per the Agile Methodology helps businesses to minimize:

  1. Project delays
  2. Budget overruns
  3. Processing Inefficiencies

This methodology will in turn increase your productivity.  Tips we all can use!


Agile is a set of values and principles for software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continual improvement and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

It is a project management methodology that uses short development cycles called “sprints” to focus on continuous improvement in developing a product or service. The main principle behind Agile is customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software.

What agile solves in an organization

Agile can bring many benefits to the enterprise. Agile is a customer-centric process that encourages hands-on communication between business and IT, so your solutions better meet customer needs in ongoing fast-paced cycles that facilitate change.

  1. Project delays

Agile project management (APM) is an iterative approach to delivering requirements throughout the development life cycle of a project. Because agile approaches are used after gathering requirements, there’s still plenty of time for projects to become delayed. APM helps manage project delays by giving teams a way to communicate accurately, assess risk and plan for the unexpected

  1. Budget overruns

Agile helps companies manage project scope and potential budget overruns by breaking projects down into smaller pieces and then prioritizing which pieces are most important.

  1. Processing Inefficiencies

Agile helps with processing inefficiencies by working closely with the customer to quickly deliver small increments, thereby improving productivity. This also facilitates continuous changing of requirements, as we learn more about how best to meet the business needs.

A successful agile project

A successful agile project provides software that works, is of high quality and value, inspires additional business ideas and productivity, solves real business problems, and delivers continuous improvements. Agile project management focuses on delivering a fully functioning product instead of requiring an up-front specification of the requirements. Agile manages risk by identifying the highest value features to build first instead of the traditional approach that begins software development with the most complex features.

Scrum and what it does

Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. Much like a rugby team (where it gets its name) training for the big game, scrum encourages teams to learn through experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to continuously improve.

The area where agile does not work

First, Agile does not work in areas where things are not changing. Agility is about responding to change. If there is no change, then there is no agility. A good example is the innovation department. It is a government department, and do not change very often. Lots of legislation and procedures pin them down. So, agile cannot work in the innovation department because they can’t deliver working software more than once a year.

Second, Agile cannot work in small organizations that are doing well for themselves. They might be having budget overrun and inefficient processes, but the customers love their products. So why the change? It is not worth it.

When to drop agile

Agile development is a powerful way to build software. Many of its principles make a lot of sense, and it addresses key weaknesses in the old-school Waterfall approach. It has value, but it’s not without drawbacks as well. It’s important that you understand when agile is right for your project, and when it might not be the best choice.

What the future holds for agile

The future for agile is that all manner of businesses will adopt the processes and principles of scrum and agile methods. The world has discovered the value of being able to deliver what your customer wants when they want it. Rather than having to wait 12 months or two years, the future is built on delivering faster. Delivering fast builds a competitive advantage while keeping you in the game and relevant. Many businesses have already found new and better ways to increase speed and reliability.


Shai Shandil