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Video: Agile Development in a Nutshell

How does an agile team build a Cadillac? They start with a bike. 

Jason Greer explains the basics and the value of the agile development methodology using a simple example everyone can understand.



So we live in a world of agile. And we hear that term quite a bit now. I started in IT twenty something years ago, and we didn't use agile back then.

Honestly, what we did is somebody would come to us with this idea. Somebody let's say that they asked for a brand new car, like a Cadillac. And we would say, "Hey, that's great, we can build you a Cadillac." And so, we would sit down for months, we would interview tons of business partners, and we would start to gather all of the different features and requirements of that car. And then, we would come back to them after we had designed and documented all the features, after we had done all the coding, after we had done all the work to build the car. And then we would show up at their doorstep to our business customers 18 months later and say, "Here's your brand new Cadillac."

And what would happen many times is we would get comments of, well the market isn't going that direction anymore. People don't want Cadillac's or, oh, is that what a Cadillac is? That's not what I wanted.

So what agile does is it takes this idea of, okay, let's build a Cadillac. But let's do it with an iterative approach. And by that it means that, so let's ask that customer, "What exactly are you looking for "with a Cadillac or even with a car in general?" And so let's say they come to us, and the first thing they say after we've kind of thought through, what are the different features and values that we get from owning a Cadillac. The top one that comes to them is transportation. They say, I need to get from point A to point B. And so what agile does is it starts to break that up. And it says, okay. If we're trying to deliver transportation, the quickest and fastest transportation I can deliver to you is maybe a bicycle. So if I build you a bicycle, and I can do that in two weeks, not 18 months, now I can show you that bicycle and I can put you on the bicycle and say, "Okay. So now you've had a little bit of time "to ride this around the block, "and maybe go buy groceries with it. "Is this what you needed?" And they say, "Yeah. that's great. "But man, I'm tired of peddling. Can you figure that out?" So now it's time for us to build the motorcycle, right? And so we progressively build them what they need. And we think about the features that are most important.

So you hear them talk about an MVP. And what that is, is this idea of what can we build you that gets you the most Minimum Viable Product. So that you have something that you can use right away. And it's available to what you, for immediately or within two weeks or four weeks so that you can start to see the value of that, and recognize whether or not that meets your market's needs, meet your customers needs and it meets your needs. So at the simplest level, this idea of iterative development is a way for us to make sure that we're engaged with our customer throughout the entire process, not just dropping a product in their lap 18 months later.

There's a lot more to agile, of course. But that is one of the simplest ways that I've ever heard it described. So that people can understand the value that agile truly can create. And in a world of complete remote working, for our team at Far Reach, we've been doing this for years remotely. And so, it works really well. And it's a great addition to our team. If you have any questions, you can post them to this LinkedIn video or shoot me a message or email me. Whatever best way, be happening, and I'll answer them for you. Thanks.