Agile project management is naturally suited to the ever-changing projects and workloads of digital agencies, with its focus on flexibility, continuous improvement and whole-team involvement.
Today I’m looking at six ways agile can improve your digital agency’s project management, and in turn boost profitability.
1) Improved Project Visibility
A key part of agile project management is the daily stand-up – a short meeting of the whole project team where each member identifies what they worked on yesterday, today’s priorities, and any problems they’re experiencing.
This makes it easy for you to identify any potential problems before they become major, allowing you to minimise delays which can hit your profitability when a project runs over on time.
Additionally, meeting at the start and end of each sprint with your client means that both parties have clear insights as to how the project is progressing.
2) Greater Focus on Customer’s Needs
By having regular meetings with your clients at the start and end of each sprint, your project can be adjusted more easily to meet your customer’s needs, rather than being completed based on what they thought they wanted at the start of the project.
This means that your finished project is closer to their actual, rather than perceived, requirements. This reduces the need for time-consuming revisions or do-overs, which would take up time you’d not previously accounted for, and which you wouldn’t be able to bill for.
3) Better Team Utilisation
Working in short sprints makes it easier to organise your team’s workloads to minimise non-billable downtime, and to ensure you’re making best use of your team’s skills.
A resource management tool is particularly useful for this, providing agency directors with an overview of their agency’s workload, team skills, and budget, to ensure all resources are being used as efficiently as possible to maximise profitability.
4) Easier to Keep On-Track
With a regular review process before, during and after each sprint, it is easier to keep the project on-track, both in terms of budget and work progress. If you do fall behind, you will quickly become aware, and can readjust your priorities and workloads for the upcoming sprint to address the shortfall in time or budget. This reduces the risk of your project over-running or over-spending, which will both harm your agency’s profits.
5) Promotes Continuous Improvement
Another key part of agile project management is the retrospective, an internal meeting where your team discusses the previous sprint, what went well, and where they could improve in the next one.
This practice identifies areas for improvement and encourages your team to continuously improve the way they work to become more efficient and achieve better results, which will help to make your agency more profitable. Your team will improve so they will either be able to complete work more quickly, meaning your agency can take on more billable work, or produce work to a higher quality, meaning you can bill more for it.
6) Reduced Risk
The ongoing evaluation process combined with improved project visibility helps to minimise the risk of project failure. You are working more closely with your client – meeting with them regularly to assess priorities for the next sprint – which both serves to improve your relationship with them, and minimises the risk of them being unhappy with your completed work, as they are involved with the project progress throughout.
Additionally, the iterative, agile approach means your project is more likely to be completed on-time and on budget, maximising profit for your agency.