A few months ago, bbd provided me with the opportunity to further my development and take part in a course that taught me project management and agile fundamentals. The course itself was invaluable and a lot of the learnings I’ve been able to implement in my day-to-day role. 

One of the most surprising learnings I took away from the course was that the typical project manager role doesn’t really fit into our agency life. The project manager core role is the delivery of the project by any means. 

For an Agency in the Client Service department, the primary focus isn’t the project delivery itself, but the client and their requirements. Be that helping to get their colleagues excited, meeting sales KPI’s or downing tools and delivering something at speed for a key stakeholder. 

We always try to plan, however there will always be something that comes up that demands your attention more and pulls you away from the current work. Though, that shouldn’t have a knock-on impact.

With that in mind, I’ve taken the 4 values of agile and broken down how they work for me.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

From experience, it’s usually a person or discussion that helps when you’re busy. As helpful as management tools like Zoho, Trello and Jira are, the real value comes from daily standups and meetings.

The value of an interaction, whether face to face or via video call, is underestimated when working at speed and juggling different projects. Processes and tools cannot replace human interaction, and it’s the human element that will understand the client’s goal and ensure the drive of project delivery. 

Working software over comprehensive documentation.

Documentation is always useful and helps as a single source of information to relate back to. When it comes to supporting a client and helping them to achieve something within a fixed timeline and budget though, the time spent on all the details can be better used elsewhere.

Details on how you are going to achieve something aren’t as important as what you are going to achieve. So long as you’re aligned on a goal and what success looks like then the actual delivery itself is the most critical thing.

Client collaboration over contract negotiation.

Sometimes details need to be defined prior to a project commencing, and sometimes they don’t. From experience, the most successful projects have been those where the client and agency are in clear agreement of what the end output should be, even so the trust is there to allow the journey to take shape in flight. Simply put this allows changes, barriers and direction to be flexible, or agile if you will, as things develop..

The key to a successful delivery is based upon a mutually agreed objective and vision. That translates into a solid understanding of the destination, which all decisions are based upon. Bringing knowledge and expertise, which combined with a common view of success leads to autonomous decision-making in the client’s best interest. 

Responding to change over following a plan.

As we all know, client requirements can be fickle, you can have all the processes and all the documentation but if something needs to change it needs to change. Sometimes review and feedback takes longer than expected, sometimes it is quicker. That is completely fine, at the end of the day our responsibility is to support requirements and not put up barriers.

A lot of the value that we can bring in our client service roles is the ability to help and support when things go pear shaped.

To summarise the values for you to take away to implement in your own way

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3. Client collaboration over contract negotiation.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

With that, I come to the end of this agile blog. Thanks for taking the time to read, and I’ll leave you with this quote… 

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

Aidan Grant
Project Manager