Getting Started with Agile Development

Facing a backlog of 120 projects that would take approximately 13 years to complete, the development team at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews turned to agile development methodologies to help them expedite their work. “Something had to change,” said assistant information architect/Web manager Gareth J M Saunders. “We had to change. We needed to stop saying ‘yes’ to everyone about everything, and we needed to find a way to more efficiently and effectively plan and manage our projects. That’s when we turned to Agile for assistance.”


To help prioritize the projects, the team used “planning poker,” a game where each team member flips over a card simultaneously. In this instance, the cards were used to rate the difficulty of the development projects. After presenting the results of this exercise to the boss, the team was able to remove 20 projects from their list.

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