As we discussed in my last blog post, agile development is a big part of life at Ascedia. Rather than using waterfall development, where projects are treated as a single chunk of work, we divide our projects into iterations or sprints. This allows us to break a project up into digestible chunks – and keeps our teams from biting off more than they can chew.
There are many disciplines involved in website development, from web designers and copywriters to developers and quality assurance testers. All of these contributors are working concurrently. By breaking projects into sprints, these teams are better able to refine their work and collaborate during the project. In theory, if the stakeholders approve everything that is developed as part of a sprint, we should be able to release everything in that sprint to go live.
Sprints allow all contributors to adapt and make changes as they go along. In a waterfall project, the client won’t see the work until the end – and if they don’t like the end result, there’s a lot at stake. By using sprints, our clients are able to review progress at various stages of the project. If the client wants a feature to work differently or they want to change the look of the site, our team is able to shift gears and easily change direction.
In fact, most of Ascedia’s clients are heavily involved in the planning and review stages to they can see early on what’s working and what’s not. Our team is very transparent with our clients, and it shows in the end result: there are no surprises and the client knows exactly what to expect when the site launches. For a project to be successful, our team needs to clearly define what the end goal is, or what “done” looks like for the project. We make sure to get client buy-in on this definition so that we are all working toward the same end result.
Typically, sprints last two to four weeks. More complex features often require longer sprints – this gives our team more time to get these features completed and tested. They are kicked off with a spring planning meeting and are closed out with a sprint review meeting. The sprint makes our team’s job easier by clearly defining a group of tasks to work on for a specific time period. Everyone on the team knows what is being worked on and they can easily see what “stories” are being developed, tested and completed.