Good afternoon FITCers. My name is Guinevere Orvis and I'm one of the attendees who will be blogging some high level takeaways from some of the sessions I'm attending here at FITC 2009. The first session I went to was Feed the Experts: A Sneak Peek into the Treasure Chest of Creativity presented by Carlo Blatz. This was a great session comparing a traditional workflow with newer agile workflow principles.

Here's the anatomy of a typical workflow:

Client states their objectives --> key persons at agency develops idea --> experimentation --> substantiate the idea --> client approval --> project completion.

There can be multiple drawbacks to this traditional approach:

   1. Too often the original client objectives to not match the final project.
   2. Problems with the project remain hidden as the process is closed door.
   3. Rigid workflow makes it difficult for the project to adjust to changes in requirements.
   4. It doesn't invite creative ideas from the whole team working on the project, or the client.

The agile workflow approach addresses these issues with a new workflow:

Client states their objectives --> entire project team at agency develops ideas --> team defines clear goals --> team completes a small number of requirements in first iteration (each iteration is one to four weeks) --> client review --> revisions --> iteration #2 --> client review --> iteration #3 (etc)  --> client approval --> project completion.

If it seems like more steps, that's because it is. The big myth of agile project workflows is that they are less structured. As you can see, that isn't true. It's as structured as a tradtional workflow (or perhaps more). The difference is that each piece of the puzzle is smaller with checks and balances back to the client and original project goals throughout.

This approach minimizes the likelihood that the client will be unhappy with the final deliverable. Also, including the whole team in the creative process helps members feel ownership of the project and motivation increases. Mr. Blatz mentioned and I completely agree that good ideas can come from ANYONE -- the shy coder in the corner, the project manager or the client. The agile approach aims to have everyone involved in the creative solutions process for the best results.

You can read more about the agile approach to development on Wikipedia.

What do you think? Have you found that the traditional workflow works well or is your shop moving to agile development?

Thanks to Carlo for the presentation.