With its focus on adaptive planning, continuous improvement and quality products, agile management has a number of valuable lessons for today’s complex test and assessment translation projects.
First, what is agile management?
It is a stage-based management process based on 12 principles that is often used in software development today. Agile management features include an emphasis on close cooperation, satisfying changing requirements, sustainability and encouraging participants to learn from earlier parts of the process while progressing through the project.
Like agile software development, test and assessment translation needs to be a highly collaborative process among the different parties at every step in the process. Agile management emphasizes transparent communication. The cross-functional participants regularly provide progress reports and analyze each phase’s development and results before moving on to the next one. Stakeholders are involved from start to finish providing valuable direction and input as the project moves forward.
Progress is measurable and accounted for. The project goals, scope, requirements, priorities and timetables are clarified and agreed upon by all at the beginning. This is supported by short cycle planning, task lists, progress tracking and reviews that take place throughout each iterative phase.
Nothing is set in stone though. While planning is very useful and necessary in order to figure out how to get everyone from point A to point B, agile management recognizes that planning also needs to be flexible and account for changing conditions and requirements. Like any road trip, if you find that one of the roads you intended to take is blocked, then you have to quickly clear the path or else pivot and find a new way through to your destination.
While at the end of the day software development and translation are different endeavors, these industries and their products both benefit from the keys of the agile management process, where communication, collaboration and continuous learning are king.
Special thanks to Andrzej Nedoma, CEO of XTRF for his look at this topic.