Outside the agency environment, I was introduced to Agile development: an iterative approach to development that sees a project evolve as it’s built. But typically within the agency world, a small core team finalizes each project concept before production starts. This can lead to a one-dimensional project and everyone outside the core team feeling like a grunt worker. How can everyone on a team have the opportunity in each project to contribute – especially in his or her area of expertise?
Google has offered an Agile solution to agencies. Rather than letting one side do all the ideation, this approach introduces flexibility through iteration. It gets more people involved in the thinking part of the project: people with different skills in the trends and technologies that will make the project shine. To avoid the chaos and typical ineffectiveness of a free-for-all brainstorm, the project is broken down into stories, and stories are fleshed out by small teams.
The project benefits because not all the thinking needs to be finalized before any building starts, giving more time for ideas to ferment. Crack teams work on key components, each bringing their unique skills to the project, and the project improves as it evolves into a final piece. It answers the question, “how can developers and art directors work creatively together?” Ethan Marcotte in Responsive Web Design explores this at some length: he proposes that this is an ideal method for building responsive applications. With the plethora of connected devices today, responsive design is not simply a nice-to-have, but essential criteria for modern, cost effective interactive. But it definitely requires teamwork between artist and programmer.
Today’s users choose which ads they watch, and only interact with the brands they like; they share and promote stories only if they are worthy or offer sufficient reward. The need for engaging ideas has never been greater – iterative and collaborative development gets the best ideas, creative, and technology into each finished piece, and those working on the piece each have the satisfaction of being a part of its creation.