Agile management for design departments

It is fair to start by discussing what is agile for design. This is a way of providing an iterative framework that is used and managed to create and develop software products. In software development, agile practices approach is a way of discovering requirements whilst also developing solutions through a collaborative and team effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams in relation to the customers/end-users and/or products.

Being iterative requires one to refine the software through repetition and to constantly move towards one’s goal. A general outline of an agile process would be to run a cycle of development on a project, once finished, identify areas where improvement and progress are required, repeat the cycle and improve the work/project. This is agile for design in brief.

This article will have a look at a few positives and negatives towards agile as a way of creation will always painting a clearer picture as to why companies opt for it and how the design world requires fast but also quality work. Here is it good to keep in mind that time is of the essence and the business world, times means money.

Pros and Cons


There are many pros and cons to this approach as one can expect with most methodologies. Agile for design offers four main points which are quintessential in making it a go-to for many companies. Quick feedback is the first. By delivering a small feature or part of a project you get a chance to get feedback and form a roadmap of your journey. With feedback after each iteration, you will improve your product and design cycle hence creating a smoother and more efficient development for your next projects design cycle. 

Customer involvement is second on this list. With agile customers do not have to wait a particularly long time to see the end product. He or she remains engaged with the product through each iteration and has visibility and t transparency of the product. Change management is the third. Changing management is easier since updating things after small iterations are inexpensive as compared to updating the product after providing complete functionality. Team motivation is final. Teams will feel more productive when delivery something often and response on their delivery.


That being said, there are still problems with agile for design and some of them may be detrimental to the entire project and company at large. One of the key problems with agile is it sacrifices cohesion in the name of creativity. Imagine you are looking at a picture through a small hole. By work incrementally, it may lead to chopping up a lot of different ideas into one massive ideal, leading to an assortment of different designs and mashups, thus creating a sort of Frankenstein model of a project. With enough research, you will find many websites with different design ideas and once you begin to notice them they will keep recurring and you will come to realize how agile can disrupt the workflow in a larger grander scheme.

A strong way in mitigating such a problem is by having a strong ‘North-Star’. This means that your creative vision is strong. This is done by good and rigorous research and having a leader who knows what he or she wants, they know how they want the product to end up and they have mapped out everything. This way, working incrementally will be much easier due to the fact that the creative vision is shared and strong. Think about it like filming a movie, the movie is not filmed at one go but it is shot incrementally all to come together in the editing room and is shown to the audience seamlessly. This is how agile for design should work.

It is always important to try and look at the bigger picture. Usually, in an agency especially designers have to focus on a variety of different products so having time and energy to take into account the bigger picture is always an extra hassle, but it may be a necessary one. This is because taking a step back will open a door to realizing what you are doing wrong, you can self-assess your work in comparison to other increments and other peoples work. Having a disjointed product is the problem and taking a step back to solve the situation is a small step to avoiding future problems.


Agile for design is a tricky methodology. From one end it creates an easy workflow, one which benefits the worker, boosting his/her motivation by constantly having something to output and have refined the development process for the next cycle. On the other hand, it may also be the arrow to your heel because having so many little increments can create a muddle and skew version of the end product. Hence, a strong creative director is imperative in order to mitigate such problems.

Today’s world is a fast and quick one. Being slow to deliver is a massive problem and clients will always look for quick, efficient and quality work. If one of those things is missing then there is a problem. A business must always find a way to perfect agile working and create a flow which has the best output at the shortest time. Working in an iterative and incremental manner will create a method that will perfect your design cycle and have you produce the best work for agile for design.

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