The concept of cross-functional teams has become an ever-growing trend in the workplace. Some companies believe having a broader scope of experience is critical to both project success and employee development. Meanwhile, innovation, collaboration and engagement are essential to building a successful company in today’s technology-driven workplace. So, which method is most effective in the current work environment? Which method incorporates these various elements to garner such accomplishments? The Agile Methodology may be the answer. Indeed, Agile is fast becoming a popular methodology of project management, as it utilizes cross-functional teams to simultaneously manage different aspects of a project.
What is Agile?
Agile is a methodology of project management where individuals from different functional areas simultaneously work as a team on different aspects of a project. The agile approach to creating a project/product is centered around a series of sprints. Sprints are generally one to four weeks of work, which result in a final product. Goals, objectives, brainstorming and prototype creation are all necessary to begin the series of sprints, which eventually are melded into the final product. Finally, it differs from traditional project management. Agile is not a “waterfall” approach with each aspect completed and tested, prior to moving on to the next component.
What are the benefits of Agile?
This Agile methodology offers several benefits on both a project basis and an overall organizational basis.
First, Agile decreases the time to create the product. In traditional style methods, each team member would stay in their respective position and wait until it was their turn to step in and do their job. Agile allows for each member to work not only in their specialty/role, but on any aspect of the project, as needed. In other words, it highlights the natural interconnectedness of project work. This process allows for the team as a whole to be more efficient without losing quality. In fact, according to research from CA Technologies and based on 50,000 agile teams with more than 160,000 projects, it was found that Agile helps high-performing teams double productivity, cut time-to-market in half, as well as improve quality by 250%.
Another benefit of Agile is its product/project focus, based primarily on customer needs. After all, the series of sprints create a ‘final product’ at each end point. Therefore, the client is able to give feedback and mold the product to the company’s needs. It is in contrast with a traditional style of development, where the client must wait until each member has individually completed his or her task to offer feedback (vs. reviewing coinciding “sprints”). Likewise, in the traditional methodologies, with feedback coming later in the project, adjustments are delayed. Instead, the Agile method allows the team to provide a ‘final product’ for the client to assess sooner in the process, which leads to increased customer satisfaction.
Lastly, Agile forces cross-functional collaboration, as the entire team simultaneously works on the project. It allows the team to quickly iron out any kinks in the product/project. Moreover, Agile helps avoid misunderstandings and addresses issues in a timely manner, which eliminates the likelihood of small errors growing into larger mistakes.
Agile may not be commonplace in the majority of companies to date, but it is a style of development that firms should watch. After all, it provides client satisfaction in a shorter period of time, while highlighting technological advancements. Moreover, this method of project management not only reduces work time, but it also caters the product to the client’s needs and forces viable collaboration within the company. Agile has clear benefits and could certainly be a consideration the next time there is a major client project to complete.
For More Information on how the Scrimmage Mobile Learning Platform supports an Agile Methodology, please click here.
Nicholas Kapp is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Marketing, along with a Minor degree in Leadership Studies at University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business. Nicholas has also been active in the University’s Student Government, as a Freshman Council Member, Vice President's Chief of Staff, and Pillars For Carolina Orientation Mentor. In the Fall, he will take on the role of University 101 Peer Leader, co-instructing a class of first year students. Nicholas is currently a member of the Scrimmage Internship Program, as he aspires to work as a business professional with interests in Human Resources, Training and Development, as well as Marketing.