Let fundraising be as agile as your technology

August 4, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Poor communication, missed commitments, lack of transparency (internal and external). Does that sound familiar?

According to Dan Murphy of Abila, speaking during the AICPA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference, those problems and more afflict many organizations, and the solution is to get agile.

Agile means building software incrementally at the start of a project rather than trying to deliver it all at once at the end. It follows these steps:

Create the team. Select a small team (six or fewer) responsible for development, implementation and review of project/delivery. Select a scrum master.

Create the backlog. The backlog is a collection of “stories.” Work as a team.

Time to sprint. Decide on sprint length (e.g. two weeks). Create a spring calendar.

Planning. Schedule backlog grooming and sprint planning. Be sure that all stories are sufficiently documented and explained.

Stand up. Have a daily planned “stand up” meeting time, face-to-face when possible. Keep it short (usually 15 minutes). The scrum master is in charge.

Track progress. Track sprint progress on a “burn down chart.” Update the sprint tasks daily.

Retro. At the end of a sprint, have a retrospective meeting. Discuss what went well and why, and what could/should be improved and how it will be done.