Working with an Agile Driven Agency

What to expect from working with Certified Scrum Professionals and Certified Scrum Product Owners

If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably interested in the benefits of hiring an experienced Agile agency. Or perhaps you are wondering what it means exactly when an agency mentions Agile, and ‘how this methodology might improve our products’? 

Let’s start with Agile.
Agile means: “[to be] able to move quickly and easily and able to think quickly and in an intelligent way” (Ref.1). If you think about your products - how do you want them to be delivered? Probably in a quick, easy, and smart way. But remember, easy delivery doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is simple! It means that you don’t need to feel the pain points whilst producing it. So how do we go about creating a great product? And most of all - why Agile?

According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Pulse of the Profession 2017 (which I encourage you to read), “71 percent of organisations use Agile approaches for their projects sometimes, often, or always” (Ref. 2.). Agile is widely embraced by companies and organisations that value a more flexible approach to project delivery. 

Furthermore, the key to Agile project success is through being engaged in building your product. Working in an Agile environment means gone are the days where we state all requirements upfront, have business analysts creating huge documents, then pass the project on to the developers, only to get a product 2 years later that no longer reflects the current market, business, or users. Agile encourages active conversations during the project period. A conversation is so simple, yet so powerful. PMI notes that the average percentage of projects with actively engaged executive sponsors is increasing constantly, even last year it went from 59% in 2016 to 62% in 2017. Communication will help you meet the business goals and create something that users will love. 

Communication, therefore, is key to reducing waste. 
How many times in the past have you developed something that was never used? Or decided to close the project as its business goal was no longer valid (after investing in months of work and loads of cash)? How much money did you lose because of the lack of the reaction to the changing environment? And here’s the most important question - if you could have changed the requirements, priorities or specification at the time when change was happening around you - would you have been more successful? An Agile approach guides you on the path to success, which might mean failing early and learning from mistakes - when these mistakes are not as painful to fix or as costly. Agile teams deliver small parts of a working and fully tested application. You won’t get a whole product at once, but rather, get smaller chunks of it more often. You have unlimited access to your product backlog to change your requirements, prioritise them, and make sure your product has the features that are needed. And you have an experienced Agile professional who will help and support you!

Let’s go a little bit deeper into Scrum
Another term that you may have come across in relation to Agile is Scrum, a subset of Agile and a framework for Agile development. But why Scrum? According to the Scrum Alliance’s ‘2015 State of Scrum Report’, “the overall success rate of projects delivered using Scrum is 62%” (Ref.3.). If you’d like to read more, you can read the full report on the Scrum Alliance website.

What can you expect from a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)?
I am a Certified Scrum Professional and this is  what it means I can do for you. You can be assured that I have at least 3 years of a professional Agile experience, during which I served as a Scrum Master and/or Scrum Product Owner. The CSP must also have a certification in at least one of these roles (in my case, it’s CSPO). The CSP certification is a very involved process which requires the practitioners constantly improve their skills and to be up-to-date with new knowledge in their field. Many CSP’s (including me) even run events or host coaching sessions in order to facilitate knowledge sharing within the community. Remember, the CSP is an experienced and active Agile practitioner who leads by exemplifying the Scrum values focus, courage, openness, commitment and respect. And this is what you can expect from me.

What can you expect from a Certified Scrum Product Owner?
A Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) is typically a more business facing person on a Scrum Team. The CSPO works with all stakeholders to define requirements and to prioritise the backlog accordingly. At The Cogworks we have seven CSPOs and having us on your project means we will be able to establish a high-level vision and understand the goals of the business, in order to maximise the ROI for the project within the set budget. The CSPO will also assess features and functionalities at the end of each Sprint in order to align with business values. 

What can you expect from The Cogworks team?
At The Cogworks, our Project Management Team consists of Agile practitioners who also specialise in particular frameworks. Some work with Kanban and others with Lean. If you are looking for an XP passionate, we even have those too! And of course, Scrum is a particular favourite. We have one Certified Scrum Professional, and seven Certified Product Owners, and a stellar track record for delivering successful projects. What you can also expect from us is advice, coaching, and help. We keep up with the latest techniques by participating in the Project Management Institute and regular Project Management and Agile meetups. If you’re not sure whether Agile works for you - I’m happy to show you the benefits and help you discover how Agile can help you achieve your business objectives. Plus, you can expect a friendly environment with people who are committed to helping you create a great product.

If you are new to Agile and want to learn more about Scrum, I can’t recommend enough Mike Cohn’s and Mountain Goat Software blog. It is full of wonderful material to help you get started. Just be careful, because you can spend days reading it and you will only want more and more! If you are interested in speaking with me and my colleagues, please do get in touch. I am excited to embark on an Agile adventure with you!




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