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SXSW Interactive 2013

Agile for Agencies: Secrets of Scrum

Applying Scrum changes the day-to-day reality of agencies dramatically. If done well, it improves output and profitability like crazy.
However, for agencies, Scrum dynamics are radically different from in-house design and development teams. Our leading Dutch design agency, Fabrique, has built up over 35,000 hours of Scrum experience since 2008, designing and developing interactive products such as websites and mobile apps for national and international customers.

It’s time to share our best-kept secrets. We prefer sharing them with experienced Scrummers, so we can skip intro and dive right in! This talk will feature tons of photos from our scrum rooms. It will also feature video interviews with design & development team members and product owners.

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  1. What tools, what deliverables, documentation and what rhythms should you use to actually succeed in designing & developing at the same time? We’ll give room to be pragmatic and deviate from Scrumming dogmas. We will also make very clear which ones to stick to at all times. From sprint planning to product demo, we'll offer ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  2. How do you maintain quality? It is often hard to combine Scrum with ideation, creativity, user centered design and innovation. Sometimes it is also hard to test well, including different types of user testing. There are ways of ensuring that your teams and projects stay on the forefront of interactive design and development, despite the pressure Scrum puts on them.
  3. What are known pitfalls and key success factors? Inspect and adapt is key to scrum. Troubleshooting Scrum is often about people: Scrum is very demanding on emotional and professional levels. Team building is essential. It may also be about the process: Scrum may look simple, but is actually very hard to master in detail. Finally, troubleshooting may lead to evaluating the product: how to build it up so that it is robust yet modular and supports change.
  4. How do you handle the changed customer relationship? Scrum is like turning your agency into an open kitchen restaurant. With the PO there all the time, the value for money you deliver is very clear. We will address how to communicate flexible scope. We will explain how to deal with different customer personalities and attitudes, ranging from the Hypercritical to the Opportunist.
  5. What are ways of selling Scrum to inexperienced prospects, as well as stakeholders within the agency? In Scrum, we give freedom in exchange for commitment. We know that Scrum dismisses most of the risk management tools that project managers have traditionally relied on. We will offer ways to convince them and replace old paradigms with new trustworthy ideas.



Pieter Jongerius, Partner, Fabrique [brands, design & interaction]

Meta Information:

  • Tags: design, agile
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Level: Advanced
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