Have you ever sat in a project briefing with an agency and they've explained the project process as a set of phases? 

Maybe you've been in an internal project meeting where you've talked about phase 1-3 only you know that in your entire career you've never seen phase 3 come to life?

Us too, that's why we're 💀 it.

No More Phases Time To Commit to Agility

Phases comes from the world of waterfall; or XP project management.

When we were defining our way of working we wanted to ensure we didn't bring old processes from past lives. Myself and James have worked in just as many companies that practice waterfall project management as various flavours of agile and we've concluded that none of them work.

The main problem is that even with agencies you cannot be truly agile because you're working with a fixed budget instead of a continual, infinite process that the business commits to. Instead the agency manages its time by looking at the amount of effort required to complete the tasks they've sold then divides it into generic two week sprints.

This isn't a bad way of looking at things, but it's also wrong, because a sprint was never meant to be a fixed duration of time - ever.

In-house there's another problem. Projects are still being budgeted with a fixed sum and most of the time they have a deadline; sometimes these deadlines even have a valid purpose but for the most part it is just used as a measurement tool for efficiency and we want to kill that too.

All this means is that ideas need to be continually de-scoped in order to fit the timeline and the things that aren't seen as important today get moved to phase 2.

Phase 2 will never come

How we work

This is nothing new, we take no credit for it. In fact you'll most likely come across a number of businesses like ours that set things out in this way. What we can tell you is that we are committed to it - and it does work. 

Since our first project with Cellectis, a bio-tech lab working on an incredible cure for cancer, we've focussed on three types of project that you can buy into. I hear you, I hear you, isn't this phase 1-3? No, because unlike that approach each of our project types will conclude with actionable content and nothing will be left for next time.

Our projects follow the Double Diamond methodology that underpins Design Thinking practices. It doesn't matter what you're challenge is, whether you want to evaluate your businesses design maturity, understand how to improve your conversion rate, deliver a new product, or redesign office communications - this methodology works, and can be applied.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be writing about our approach to work in the form of some case studies where you'll be able to read about how we've worked with our customers during our first year.

Stay tuned.

Thoughts from Andy Parker published 4th May 2017