Agile Management for Multimedia: A Case Study

Agile Management for Multimedia: A Case Study

Ana Filipa Sousa (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Ana Margarida Almeida (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4373-4.ch010
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The past few years have seen a revolutionary transition in the field of project management that enlightened the strength of agile methodologies as a strategic attack towards the progressively faster development rhythms and growing innovation requirements. In this chapter, the authors present a study developed under this context that aims to discuss the suitability of agile project management to multimedia production through a case study focused on an academic context depleted in management formalities, the Laboratory SAPO/UA. The most prominent project of this setting is the SAPO Campus, and its team is analyzed and subjected to an agile project management model. Consequently, the authors anticipate an enhancement to the studied project and the gathering of arguments that empower a clear perspective on the fitness of agile project management to the context of multimedia development.
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Since the beginning of the last decade, the growing needs for innovation and the constant turbulence of business markets have forced companies worldwide to change many of their established practices. New product development styles have shifted from “predictive” to “adaptive” and traditional approaches have found themselves continually opposed by the numerous benefits and the increasing use of agile approaches (Highsmith, 2004). And project management did not escape such revolution. The tight association between this area and the society it escorts has always determined its evolution as a journey of progressive adaptation, where its methods, instruments, and strategies are clearly influenced by the society's multiple dimensions. But what was once a mere set of handy processes, it is now a structured discipline crucial for the survival in the enterprise context and achieving project management excellence became a priority to the majority of businesses (Kerzner, 2010). The need to fight the business market volatility and the awareness towards how a rigorous project management accession is fundamental to that fight are strengthening agile project management as a possible solution. Thereupon, this period brings out the relevance of understanding how can agile methodologies be adapted to the management of a specific type of business where innovation is at its fastest pace: multimedia production. Driven from a greater purpose of discussing such fitness, this case study aimed to comprehend how to specify an agile management model for an academic context. To accomplish such proposition, three specific objectives were defined: to adequately diagnose the management status of an academic context, to respond to it by developing an appropriate agile management model and to validate such model after its implementation. The focus of the study was Lab SAPO/UA, an academic context of multimedia product development which enclosed a set of projects functioning in the absence of any kind of formal management processes or practices. This nonexistence became the starting point for the methodology specification.

Chapter Organization

In this chapter, the Background begins by providing a contextual framing to agile project management, with particular focus on agile values and its relevance to today’s enterprise. Then, the Case Study section presents the involving scope of the studied object and describes the different study phases. To attempt a lighter and hence clearer reading, the latter section will combine each phase with the data we have collected during it. This chronological line will be preserved during the debating of analyzed data in the Discussion section and in Future Research Directions new possibilities of investigation are presented. Finally, the Global Conclusions synthesizes the most relevant aspects of the chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Project Management: A discipline oriented to the systematizing of time limited and goal defined efforts of development, from the project phases to the people, resources, time and costs involved.

Project: A time-limited activity based on the completion of established goals.

Agility: The ability to regularly and rapidly identify potential opportunities/problems and to attack/correct them.

Multimedia Production: Development sector for products that combine different types of media (image, audio, video, animation …), typically characterized for following the technology field’s innovations, for the creative nature of its industry and for the multidisciplinary character of its teams.

Agile Management: A non-prescriptive management approach that confronts the volatility of the industry through a strategy of permanent attention and adjustment, focused on simplifying management processes, guaranteeing the tangibility of the product and ensuring a dynamic collaboration among all involved.

Enterprise 2.0: A strategic use of Web 2.0 platforms and applications within a company’s context to improve knowledge information sharing, collaboration between workers and customers and the company’s ability to rapidly take advantage of each emergent opportunity.

Iterative Development: An approach to development based on a succession of time limited periods and oriented to the creation of a tangible outcome; the developed product is expanded during each period and evaluated by its end, in order to define the direction taken in the sequent period.

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