To work in a truly agile way it helps if the team is small and the software is flexible, which is the case with Invotra. Our development teams stay on the project from conception to completion and during that time they’re constantly adapting the project delivery to suit the client, or more often, the user requirements.
The fact that Invotra is built on the popular CMS platform Drupal means that changes to the design, roles, workflows, content types and many other features can all be changed on the fly. So, those sorts of last minute changes are not an issue. In fact they can be done internally by the Webmaster, if necessary.
So, why aren’t we completely Agile? Probably because approaching a large scale digital transformation project within government, as an Agile purest would be ballsy, to say the least. Often we have found that the scale, size and complexity of the platform architecture, which is the foundations of the project, need to be mapped out before the project really starts. Information architecture leads the user experience and a well used Intranet has the users at the heart of the system.
Also, we have to consider the budget and timescales in all this. The budget is fixed and the timescales normally call for an element of the project to be delivered by a specific date to replace an old contract. Understanding and mapping this out from the outset is vital to the success of delivering fundamental parts of a large scale intranet project.
So, when do we use Agile…well… we use it behind the scenes a lot. In fact a visit to our offices would clarify that. Stand up’s, sprint’s, SCRUM are all used for implementation and delivery, all day every day. We deliver the project in sections that are prioritised, we work with the client adapting some of the features while they’re being worked on in a development environment.
We work through implementation, training ensuring that as soon as the software is delivered people are being trained and encouraged to use it.
So, what have we learned during our many years in software development? Clients and suppliers historically wanted the whole intranet delivered in one neat package at the end of the project, this has changed and to be honest it needed to. Working collaboratively with clients in an Agile way has immense benefits to the whole team.
The digital transformation teams benefit from working closely with their suppliers which helps to develop the relationship, not to mention the technical skills. Jumping into bed with a software company that is taking on a massive project like this has to be treated like a marriage, they’ll be ups and downs, both sides will have to accept responsibility for errors, but as long as you understand each other and communicate effectively there is never a problem that can’t be solved. As simple as this sounds…historically it’s not been the case.
In a nutshell, why do we like to approach digital transformation in an Agile way? Because it brings people together and innovation thrives as a result. The clients are happy and so are we. Invotra is an intranet SaaS, so the delivery of the software is like a wedding day, just the beginning.