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Butterfly: The Agile Effect
Melbourne-based-digital agency Butterfly is an early adopter of using the agile method to build websites and online platforms. They have found that working agile results in happier clients, smoother projects, and better quality deliverables. This approach has distinguished Butterfly in the market, won awards and ignited growth, resulting in being listed on the Australian Financial Review’s list of fastest growing companies, the Fast 100.
Butterfly was established a decade ago and adopted an agile approach in 2013 in an effort to revolutionize the process of working on complex projects. “Agile harnesses the creative ideas of everyone involved in a project - client side and at Butterfly, rather than simply building what was envisaged pre-sale or during planning of a site,” says Liz McLean, CEO.
Winner of the Melbourne and Sydney Design Awards every year since 2013, along with a table full of other awards, Butterfly is focused on design excellence in digital work and has an astonishing array of varied projects, from tech start-ups to tier-one clients such as Office-works. The agency achieved a goal last year to get its entire production team certified as Scrum masters or Product owners, which they said had a massive impact on the uptake of the methodology within the organization. Butterfly plans to become 100 percent agile in the next few years.
“The number one benefit of agile is that the process is more transparent by using more effective communication and delivery methods,” Mclean expands, “Clients are dramatically more connected to the decision-making process, resulting in better quality outcomes”.
A company that is leading the way in digital projects using Agile and scrum
Butterfly has incorporated company-wide retrospectives, improving knowledge share across the business which may be working on 30-50 projects at once, meaning lessons-learned are shared at the time, rather than months later when a project review is documented, circulated and hopefully read. Butterfly’s leadership in agile is industry recognized with staff presenting papers and speaking at Agile Australia conferences. In addition, Butterfly founder John Anderton, a director of the Australian Web Industry Association, advises other web agencies across the nation on how to implement agile.
“Agile methodology helps in a lot of ways–the project can be brought to the market quicker and we can trial and test out design theories in a working prototype. Clients can receive stakeholder feedback from the business and directly from users in a way that they intuitively understand-by interacting with work rather than documentation,” McLean informs.
“Agile enables Butterfly to work in smaller pieces rather than attempt to scope and deliver the entire project in one step. This makes a project more manageable from the client’s perspective. Furthermore, clients develop strong relationships and trust in Butterfly because absolutely everything is open and transparent. Clients are empowered to make the right decision about their product, and it avoids that classic conflict between client and agency, when the decision-making mindset is all about how to manage risk and minimize cost,” McLean explains.
Butterfly uses the Agile methodology for start-ups, not just to develop code but also to help start-ups build their businesses. As start-ups pivot towards a sustainable model, adjustments can be dynamically incorporated into whatever they are building, anchored by Butterfly's strong capabili-ties and experience working with early stage ventures.
“We like the agile approach because it is a way of managing projects that reflects what we do anyway-giving clients involvement, transparency, and certainty. It’s a more organic way of working because we’re constantly taking feedback on board,” McLean concludes.