The Agile Agency
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The Agile Agency

How Lean and Agile Will Transform Your Creative Agency

About the Book

You can't manage projects in creative agencies the same way as 10 years ago. This book tells you where it goes wrong, offers alternative approaches, and illustrates them with a number of case studies. Next to agile, lean, scrum and kanban, you will also read about gamestorming, John Cleese, Ai Weiwei, Dan Pink and rock bands.

About the Author

Bart Vermijlen
Bart Vermijlen

Bart Vermijlen is an independent Agile Coach, Product Owner and Design Thinking Consultant. He evolved from a digital project manager managing projects to an operations director managing teams and organisations. From Scrum and Agile to Sociocracy 3.0 and Design Thinking. Currently he is COO at Wieni, a digital agency based in Leuven.

His goal is to learn people and organisations to learn. Learn about themselves, their users, their products, … But also the other way around, he wants to continuously keep learning from people and organisations.

Bart teaches Agile project management or Design Thinking at Vlerick Business School, Ehsal Management School, Belgian Ad School, PXL Hasselt, Thomas More, Erasmus University College Brussels and Devine (Howest). He is a regular speaker at FeWeb,, Idealabs, Flanders DC, iLean, Innovatiecentrum Vlaanderen, ...

Feel free to follow his blog on

Table of Contents

  • 1 Introduction
    • Why Is This Book Relevant?
    • Why Did I Write This Book?
    • About the Title
    • How Did I Write This Book?
    • What Is the Structure of This Book?
    • Acknowledgments
  • 2 What Is Agile?
    • The Roots of Agile
    • Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
    • Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
    • Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
    • Responding to Change over Following a Plan
  • 3 Interlude: Complexity and What Art Can Teach Us about Agile
    • Coincidence?
  • 4 Say Goodbye to the Masterpiece Mentality
    • Nec Plus Ultra
    • Installing the Sink
    • Waterfall Thinking
    • The 3 Week Fail
  • 5 User Stories. Defining Scope in an Agile Way
    • Enter: User Stories
    • The Client Brief vs. User Stories
    • Conclusion
  • 6 What Is Scrum?
    • Roles
    • Timeboxes
    • Artefacts
    • The Boot and Shoe Repair Shop
    • Scrum vs. Waterfall
  • 7 Scrum Principles and Practices
    • Transparency
    • Inspection
    • Adaptation
    • Trust
    • Planning Poker
    • Definition of Done
    • Demo or Die
  • 8 Applying Agile and Scrum in an Agency Environment
    • The Daily Scrum
    • Demo or Die
    • The Scrum Board
    • The Burndown Chart
    • Budget and Backlog Prioritization. Scope Can Change over Time
    • Retrospectives
    • The Role Threesome
    • Why Account Managers Are Pigs
  • 9 What Is Lean?
    • Optimize the Whole
    • Focus on Customers
    • Eliminate Waste and Create Flow
    • Build Fast, Learn Fast
    • Keep Learning
  • 10 The Lean Bicycle Factory
    • It’s Not Working
    • Traffic Jam
    • Visualization
    • Work in Progress Limits
    • Pull vs. Push
    • Slack
    • Cycle Time
    • Stop Starting, Start Finishing
  • 11 What is Kanban?
  • 12 Applying Lean and Kanban in an Agency Environment
    • The Lean Startup
    • Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas
    • Work in Progress Limits and Lead Time
  • 13 Case Study: Using the Agile Manifesto as a Tool
    • Where Are the Problems?
    • Where Are the Solutions?
    • In Practice
    • How?
    • The Results?
  • 14 Case Study: Scrum for Rock Bands. How to Measure Progress When Recording
    • The Band Splits
    • Building a Backlog
    • Estimating the Weight: Planning Poker
    • Prioritizing the Backlog and Scope Creep
    • Measuring Progress with the Burndown Chart
    • The Result
  • 15 Case Study: Using Scrum with a Hyper Fixed Deadline
    • The War Room
    • Bring In the Customer
    • The Result
  • 16 Case Study: How to Mix Scrum and Kanban
    • Why Was This a Perfect Project to Test-Drive?
    • How Did We Get Started?
    • Did This Kanban Board Do the Trick?
    • What Was the Result?
  • 17 Case Study: Using a Visual Control System to Manage a Portfolio
    • A Visual System
    • Side Effects
    • Next Steps
  • 18 Case Study: Why You Should Play Games at Work. Gamestorming for Retrospectives
    • Bad retrospectives
    • Good Retrospectives and Gamestorming
    • Actions for Retrospectives
    • What Happens When You Start Gamestorming
  • 19 Case Study: Why Stop with Production?
    • Mapping Iterative Working on the Whole Value Chain
    • Google and Their Agile Creativity
    • Mindtunes. Agile Creativity Applied.
  • 20 Case Study: Culture Hacking. Why Agile and Lean Actually Work in an Agency Environment
    • What is a Culture Hack?
    • The Pop-up Inspiration Session
    • The Digital Production Checklist
  • 21 Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Bibliography

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