The Cosmic Approach to Agile: Collaborative Sprints
At Cosmic, we first started doing sprints internally in the context of software development work. Through building numerous websites, web apps, and mobile apps over time, we quickly discovered that the agile approach allowed us to get more work done — and collaborate more closely along the way. As a creative agency, we have always worked to strike a balance between allowing enough time and flexibility for creativity to flourish and enough structure to get work done efficiently. With the agile approach, we found that we could more easily strike the right balance. We start all new projects with a kickoff meeting that includes a clear understanding of the project’s scope. The schedule for the project is already worked out and broken out into sprint-sized chunks. We use the kickoff meeting to surface all the data that team members need to get started. If new items come up that are out of scope, we can either choose to extend the schedule and add more sprints or create a "backlog" list of ideas that gets added to over the course of the project. At the the end of the original project, we can then spin up a new project to handle the new scope of work generated from the "backlog" list.After we kick off a project, we use weekly sprints to provide a consistent, predictable rhythm to our work, both internally and with our social impact clients. Our sprint meetings always take place on Thursdays and include our clients. These meetings give us a chance to present progress, brainstorm, collaborate with clients, and get feedback. We also reflow a project’s schedule based on the most recent information. Then, on Fridays, our clients gather their stakeholders and finalize feedback for our team. Mondays are used to quickly incorporate new client feedback and dive back into our creative work. By mid-week, we are putting the finishing touches on the next set of deliverables. And on Thursday, the cycle begins all over again.Whereas many design firms wait to do a “big reveal” at the end of each phase of a project (a la the waterfall method), our weekly sprints give way to a much more collaborative and iterative process. The social impact organizations we work with never go more than a week without reviewing the latest iterations of our work.