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Is Agile Right For Me? A Q&A Session With a Workfront Product Manager

June 7, 2016

is agile right for me

How do you know if your team is ready for Agile? An Agile transition expert walks you through how and when teams can best implement Agile into their processes.

Agile work processes are top of mind for many marketing and enterprise teams now, but several questions remain:

  • Is Agile right for me and my team? How do I know?
  • How do I start the process to transition to an Agile team?
  • Am I able to adopt Agile in phases or do I have to prepare to adopt everything at the same time?

We recently had a chance to chat with one of our product managers, Nick McCleery, about how Workfront can help teams adopt Agile in a way that suits them—without requiring an “all or nothing” investment in the overhead required of resources, processes, and training requirements.

How has Agile changed the way teams work?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for teams—regardless of if they are marketing, IT, or other enterprise teams. The inherent need of teams to accomplish goals while providing a sustainable structure to how work is completed has not changed over the years.

What has changed is the way teams are expected to react and morph to the ever-changing, more demanding climate of work.

See our post, "What Is Agile Marketing And Why Should You Care About It?" for an overview of Agile marketing and its benefits.

What Agile provides is one approach to work where teams react more quickly to changing markets, competitors, or requirements. The goal for Agile teams is to translate the constant change they experience to opportunities where they are able to test, learn, and process requests proactively.

Given this change in the way we manage work, how can teams better prepare to adopt an Agile methodology?

There seems to be some misconception that in order to become an Agile team, you have to go “all in.” I think there is a better way to adopt a new way to work that doesn’t require a complete all-or-nothing approach, but rather, a self-paced process that takes into account that each team works differently.

As marketing teams see the benefits and advantages their counterparts in other departments are experiencing, Agile is quickly becoming mainstream.

With our new Agile release in Workfront, we’ve been able to create a solution that allows teams, especially marketing and creative teams, to be able to adopt Agile methodologies into their processes.

Here are a few highlights of our new Agile functionality:

  • Toggling between Agile and traditional – Let’s start with the fact that Workfront is the only solution on the market today that provides the option to toggle between an Agile and traditional view of projects and tasks.

    This ingenious approach to work management provides complete real-time visibility for project managers, who, in the past, have been able to rely only on traditional Gantt views of projects.

    With access to Agile views that feature epics, storyboards, swim lanes, and burndown charts, project managers are better equipped to understand a team’s capacity and bandwidth.

    Project managers are better able to estimate project completion dates and timeframes while driving the team to more frequent short-term wins while still producing a more precise long-term project deliverable.
  • Dynamic data – Workfront provides real-time visibility for project and account managers, something that’s more accurate and different than the traditional Gantt chart.

    Our new burndown charts dynamically shift and update based on the progress and velocity of work tasks completed, both at the team and project level.
  • Interactive storyboards – Our interactive storyboards allow Agile teams to easily prioritize, manage, and assign work tasks by freely moving them through swimlanes and statuses that represent completion stages.

    These storyboards display the number of stories and points completed based on the progress of tasks, and ultimately, report the productivity of the team.
  • Easy transparency – Another aspect of Workfront’s Agile capabilities is our dropdown navigation menus. Each team can easily access the performance of other teams, providing complete visibility and transparency at the team and project level, breaking down silos of information.

    It also provides an affidavit of accountability for each team, as all the work tasks—assigned, unassigned, and completed—are easily visible to other teams.

To better prepare teams that want to adopt an Agile way of completing their work, we really made an effort to ensure that it’s something they can adopt at their own pace, but more importantly, something that they can morph and adjust to the best way to work that optimally supports their strategic goals.

Our own marketing team adopts Agile to various degrees and has modified our solution to fit their needs—the way that works best for them.

What would you say to managers that want to prepare their teams to work in this new structure?

I think it’s important to understand that team managers know their team best and already have an idea of how they want to adjust. What I can recommend is using the Workfront solution to test the waters.

Our Agile solution is really pliable, in the sense that it can be adjusted to how your team approaches work.

For example, if your team works best in a combination of Agile and Waterfall methodologies, Workfront supports that approach.

If your team is looking for the Agile experience but hesitant about supporting a strict methodology, with Workfront you are still able to toggle between methodologies and navigate your work tasks, without sacrificing visibility, reporting, collaboration, etc.—all the benefits for which you already rely on Workfront.

So is Agile right for you and your team? To learn how Workfront lets teams work in Agile, traditional PM, or a mix of both, watch our Agile demo below.

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