When is Agile appropriate for a CMS project?

Skinning kittens
We find the barbarian approach to cat skinning is less favored...

Very few would argue about whether or not a CMS project is a software project. As such, it is known (among experienced professionals) there exists more than one way to ‘skin a cat’. However, when it comes time to discuss the right approach, this lack of discord will sometimes evaporate quickly.

Our team of contributors here at The CMS Myth have literally hundreds of builds under our collective belts. We’ve experienced tremendous success and made a few mistakes along the way as well. With all this experience, we just can’t help but join the discussion.

Before getting into the topic of when Agile is appropriate, we feel it is important to point out that this is an entirely valid conversation to have. Believe it or not, there are digital shops who have adopted a religious dedication to Agile methodology.

However, like choosing the right CMS for the job, we believe it is important to recognize Agile for what it truly is: One of the many tools a project team might select to get the job done. There are situations when it works and there are situations when it is a recipe for almost certain doom.

Coincidentally, a lot has been written on the different approaches to managing software projects. We at The CMS Myth are pretty fond of this article by PM Hut.

In terms of when Agile is appropriate, we’ve come up with the following critical criteria:

  • The project team is trained and/or capable of following this approach.
  • The agency executive team understands the risks and rewards associated with Agile and is on board.
  • The client is on board and knows what is expected from them.
  • The client does not have well-defined, specific requirements.
  • The client acknowledges (in advance) there is a real probability the project team will iterate in directions which do not ultimately result in a product that successfully addresses their goals, but are nevertheless a critical part of the process.
Although our last bullet is the most important, if one or more of these conditions are not true, Agile is probably not a good idea. One big mistake we’ve seen many project teams make is moving ahead with Agile because a subset of the project team simply believes it is a good idea.
About the Author
Jake DiMare

Jake has spent the last 15 years helping organizations plan, design, develop, and implement effective online experiences with a strong focus on large scale web content management systems and integrated online marketing suites. Jake wrote for the CMS Myth during his time working at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design). Google Plus Profile

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