The virtues of agility and collaboration during a pandemic

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21 July 2020 by Team ITG

Team ITG’s Business Unit Director, Dave Shaw, believes that the principles of agile development have never been more relevant than they are right now.

Businesses across the globe are on the back-foot, contemplating how to handle an unprecedented (sorry, I’ve said it) situation. Lockdown has happened quickly, in business terms, giving marketeers and businesses little time to react. Technology and digital platforms are being looked at as the solutions, but this can only be done properly with agile methodologies at their heart.

Agility is something that Team ITG lives and breathes, and during my four years working collaboratively with one of our leading global clients, Jaguar Land Rover, I have witnessed how ‘agile’ should be delivered and the benefits it brings in terms of flexing priorities and putting something of value in front of customers as quickly as possible, through iterative development. Richard Barber, Operations Director for our core development services, has seen our offering and approach grow and mature over the past decade:

“10 years ago, we started to work with our clients in a much more close and collaborative way, we invited them, and they invited us, into our respective teams to define a new way of working based upon agile principles. These were pragmatic and effective, rather than focusing on process or deliverables we focused on outcomes and productivity. It started with co-location and rapid feedback cycles and moved into something more defined and recognisable as an agile approach based around sprints of work. Our Product Owners are not internal employees, but JLR employees who are embedded with our delivery teams to work closely with the teams as one.”

With budgets tightening for marketing teams globally, agile development allows you to be pragmatic in your approach and thought processes. Is there still a way of delivering the key elements to a 12- month programme of work in just 3 months? Quite probably. Creative thinking is not just done within an agencies creative department; at Team ITG we have brilliant technical minds throughout our business, who think laterally and consider multiple technical solutions to achieve the same goal. It comes down to that core agile principle of understanding what is genuinely the MVP (minimum viable product), what will provide value to your customers and what is the quickest way of delivering it. Bells and whistles or gold plating of functionality, although desirable, are not essential to achieving tangible results, such as driving lead generation and ultimately, sales.

So, agile principles can certainly help large organisations change tack quickly and nimbly, providing they truly believe in them, which given the current global situation, is critical to success and in some cases survival. But the benefits don’t end there, combined with a framework such as scrum, collaboratively led ways of working are also pivotal during these difficult times.

Despite our development teams all now working remotely, with the utilisation of collaborative platforms our productivity levels have not been impacted and in some instances have actually increased. With strong work from home processes already in place and the embodiment of a ‘team’ mentality, which underpins our ways of working, our development teams were already well placed to deal with the shift to remote working.

As painful as the Covid-19 situation has been for many businesses and their marketing teams, adapting an approach through basic agile principles, plus the embracement of collaborative working and an in-built sense of team ownership, Team ITG and our clients are treating it very much as business as (almost) usual and enabled to shift direction and focus, with minimum fuss.

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Article by Dave Shaw, Team ITG Business Unit Director

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