“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” – Katniss Everdeen
Although its history can be traced back to 1957, Agile methodology has enjoyed a more fevered rise in popularity since 2001 as the framework of choice for software and system development. The Agile Methodology promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.
We see the Agile Methodology used by the rebellion in Mockingjay Part 1 to create, iterate, review, and ultimately release propaganda (propos) videos to the people of Panem.
Project Initiation and Requirements Definition
President Alma Coin is the military leader of the rebellion, and she confirms the proposal from Plutarch Heavensbee to create propos for the purpose of galvanizing and mobilizing support for their cause. They know that their timeline is short, because they need to inspire the support of Panem’s populace before they slip back into complacency.
First Iterate and Test
With the requirements defined and the project authorized, the team films Katniss Everdeen speaking an inspiring message over a rising musical track with a crowd and flag added via computer graphics. The first iteration is complete. They test the first propo on the leadership of the rebellion and thoroughly underwhelm everyone in the audience. The first prototype failed the test and was not approved to be sent to the people of Panem.
While the rebellion leadership may have been disappointed by what they saw, and Haymitch Abernathy declares it to be completely terrible, the results were perfect for the Agile Methodology. Given that they had something real to respond to, rather than a conceptual discussion of options and possibilities, the team was able to quickly what their expectations were and determine that a change of environment for the propo would be more likely to engender success.
Second Iterate and Test
Katniss and her team incorporated the recommendations to go to the real environments and to speak without a script. The second iteration of the propo took Katniss to a hospital in District 8 to visit the wounded, who unfortunately were bombed as a result of her presence. Katniss’s compassion for the wounded was documented, along with her unscripted conviction when she said to her enemies in the Capitol: “Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!”
Using the footage they had taken on location, the recording of Katniss with the symbol of the Capitol burning in the background was composited with music and careful editing. When the new material was tested with the leadership, it was immediately approved to go to market.
By providing continuous visibility to the leadership of the rebellion (clients), Katniss and the prep team (developers), and those like Plutarch and Haymitch who knew how to use propoganda (users) – the propo was far more successful in meeting the requirements from all groups. The team was able to receive and incorporate feedback into their second iteration and the result of the project was an inspiring propo that exceeded everyone’s expectations.
This methodology is great for continuous and incremental improvement where the project can benefit from frequent checkpoints with the stakeholders. Allowing the key stakeholders to review at specific points to provide feedback will often enable a stronger deliverable, as the more transparent process can more easily facilitate management of expectations rather than disappointments.