Web designers who have never worked in the software industry normally find the Agile methodology to be a very peculiar industry term. Many employers and recruiters like using the term very much. But the question is what does the term really mean?
Agile methodology was introduced in 2001 by a group of software developers who decided they needed a different workflow. They came up with twelve principles and wrapped them as a manifesto. The manifesto describes a web starter process or methodology.
A typical Agile process has three identical stages, also known as sprints. These are:
- Sprint 1: discover – design – develop – test.
- Sprint 2: discover – design – develop – test.
- Sprint 3: discover – design – develop – test.
The method involves working through iterative, incremental processes. The only way to understand the Agile process is to the waterfall method.
This method is considered to be a traditional process to product development as its processes happen one after the other. The waterfall is considered to be more rigid and also less effective.
The benefits of Agile over Waterfall are:
- The final product is released faster to the market,
- It is more collaborative and
- Requires incremental investments.
On the other hand, its flexible nature tends to make employers more nervous. It is also often misunderstood.
How Agile workflow works
This contains all the features that will be found in the final product. The features are very beneficial and are based on the user needs. Each feature is placed on a separate individual index card which is normally semantically structured. This is often from the perspective of personas, mainly for consistency and clarity.
The designer is needed to estimate how long each card takes. The developer has to take an assessment too. However, developers have an idea of the time each task will take after the first sprint. Each feature is normally given a t-shirt size (S, M, L, and XL). Each size is then put into a sprint.
Daily scrum meeting
This can be compared to a stand-up. Basically, every team player is aware of what they are working on and what the developer is working on too. It’s a good platform for making the necessary plans in the morning and setting directions for the entire day.
Potentially shippable product increment
“Shippable Increments” is the philosophy which should be delivered after each sprint. This term is theoretically difficult to achieve and applies broadly to many industries. It is normally a section of the product, something with an increment of product functionality.
What are designers required to know?
Dealing with UI products
The Agile methodology normally deals with software engineering but can also be very effective for apps and websites. For instance, a developer can begin from a user persona that they have created. They can then outline the needs of the targeted user, and then use that to identify the features required.
Developing the ability to estimate accurately
This requires collaboration with the product manager or scrum master. This, however, depends on the organization. The manager/master is generally responsible for keeping things under control. Normally, they tend to ask developers to make accurate estimations as much as possible. Sometimes you might go to optimistic estimates, but no one can hold it against you.
The Agile methodology is highly collaborative, and that’s one of its best parts. This methodology requires the designer to sit next to the developer and work hand-in-hand to achieve each iteration as the process goes on.
Agile projects can be a big leap for web developers transitioning from freelance to working with big companies. Agile is a useful methodology for web designers as it can also be used for personal projects. Web designers can work more efficiently with design teams if they understand the collaborative nature of agile methodology.