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The buzz around Agile is continuously growing. Today, even some corporate giants are switching and opting to go Agile in hopes of boosting productivity levels. Ultimately, with the goal of acquiring and retaining more clients, law firms are also starting to jump on this bandwagon.
It is said that the teams that are going agile are 25% more productive. Moreover, 71% of US companies are now using Agile, and the number is expected to grow. While there are plenty of figures demonstrating the powerful benefits behind going Agile, there’s an apparent reason why some of the top fortune 500 businesses are already implementing this. Here’s a quick example of a giant that went Agile:
Cisco Systems, a multinational tech company, initially used the waterfall technique. This approach slowed the company’s development process, resulting in many problems, from quality issues to missed deliveries. In light of this, they opted for an Agile framework known as SAFe, the Scaled Agile Framework, and introduced agile training with their internal team. The results?
- Reducing defects by 40%
- Increasing efficiency by 14%
And that’s not all! Research shows that many industries, including the legal profession, adopt Agile for 5 main reasons. Check it out:
By now, you may be thinking, “So, what’s agile? How can firms like mine go agile in this day and age?” You’re in the right place. Next we cover some of the top Agile FAQs, with additional tips and tricks:
Top FAQs For Law Firms Going Agile
1. What exactly is Agile for law firms?
Agile is all about adapting to evolve and thrive in today’s highly dynamic, complex, and competitive business world – especially for those in the legal profession. By definition, Agile is “the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.”
This brings us to the next question…
2. What’s the difference between Agile and Waterfall?
Most involved in the marketing, advertising, and business process are familiar with the good old Waterfall technique. It involves the creation of monthly, quarterly, and yearly plans combined with a series of launches throughout the year. While it’s pretty straightforward, in today’s highly dynamic world, it may be challenging to foresee the market 6 or even 12 months from now, and this is where Agile comes in.
Agile focuses on shorter sprints and shorter campaigns that reflect current market conditions. Unlike waterfall’s rigid structure, Agile focuses on the ability to pivot to thrive in today’s dynamic environment.
3. What are the main characteristics of a legal Agile team?
Whether you’re looking to implement this internally or with your legal marketing agency, there are 4 main characteristics of an Agile team:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Working with more collaboration across teams, ensuring everyone contributes ideas. The more, the merrier.
- Data-driven decision making
- Data in today’s world is one of the most valuable assets, and decisions driven by data are worth their weight in gold!
- Rapid and iterative releases
- To regularly adapt and adjust to your firm’s current needs, it’s best to work in short sprints that allow room for improvement as you go.
- Adherence to the agile marketing manifesto
- Last but not least, the team should stick to the Agile Marketing Manifesto. If you want to know the history behind the Manifesto and its 4 values, check out this short explanatory video:
4. “Can you name a few benefits my law firm can expect from going Agile?”5. “What are some of the top Agile techniques my law firm can implement?”
- Sprints – A sprint refers to the timeframe you’re giving your team to complete the current projects. This isn’t set in stone, but sprints typically last between 2-6 weeks. More significant projects might not fit into this timeframe. Therefore you can break the tasks into pieces.
- Stand-up meetings – AKA a daily scrum, this is a short daily meeting where your team gets together to check in. Each member goes over what they did, goals for the team, roadblocks, etc.
- Teamwork – Everyone in your team should be prepared to collaborate and assist.
- A board to track your firm’s progress – It’s your choice whether you prefer sticky notes or a digital Kanban board. The point is to have a central tracking record of your sprint efforts.
Want a FREE Kanban template? We’ve created one for you!
Want to try it? Download by clicking on the image above, print a copy and put sticky notes in the categories!
6. “Let’s say I want to implement a Kanban board. How do I define the ‘In Review’ section?”
The previous Kanban board offers a general birdseye view of how your team’s workflow works with Agile, but Kanbans can be 100% adjustable according to your firm’s process. Usually, it begins with an idea and follows through with the to-do and doing, but confusion may arise under the ‘review’ stage.
A basic Kanban board would typically stick to one ‘review’ section, but you can break it down into multiple sections. For example:
- Ready for review: The work is done, and the person in charge of reviewing needs to go over the task.
- Review in progress: The person in charge of reviewing is already going through the task.
- Waiting on 3rd party: The work is done, except the team is waiting on an external party to check it.
7. “Does daily stand-up really help my team? I feel a sprint is enough. What added value do daily stand-ups offer?”
We’ve discussed some Agile techniques, two of them being sprints and stand-up meetings. Firms looking to go agile should incorporate both. Here’s why.
Things move fast; a week from now, your team might have different priorities, and going an entire week without checking in on your teammate’s progress introduces a high level of risk. This is one of the main reasons many businesses are going Agile; they want to be able to switch gears rapidly without compromising team communication and quality work.
8. “How do I get my team on board with real agility vs last-minute pivots?”
Frequent last-minute changes impact a team’s staff and clientele in more ways than one might expect. If we were to revisit the case of Cisco Systems, the waterfall technique with strict timelines and “last-minute pivots” impacted the company’s delivery and bottom line.
On the contrary, real agility relying on sustainable techniques like stand-up meetings, sprint projects, and cross-functional team collaboration helps build “moldable guardrails” around the team. Because Agile focuses on shorter periods, it allows the team to focus on what’s essential now while keeping an open mind to any future changes.
Eventually, All Roads Should Lead To…
One of the most potent underlying benefits of Agile is the ability to remain consistent with your success, your team, and, most importantly, your clients. In the business of law, consistency beats predictability. Most people prefer to avoid the unknown, and if a client knows a firm can consistently deliver the same level of service, they will be comfortable because they know what to expect from you.
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