Every day we talk about agile, we all want to be agile, but what is this about working in agile? Agile is a business process methodology often applied to software development, involving breaking up a project into multiple sprints to get quicker user feedback. And it can be incredibly impactful for mature organisations that need to be more innovative. But Agile isn't just for technology anymore. It has crept into other areas and departments, from product development to commercialisation, transforming how organisations hire, produce, and manage their people.
Agile is all about delivering value to the customer and the company. The aim is for teams to be organised according to the strategic objectives of the company, objectives that will be broken down into projects, activities and tasks by various teams. As a result, agile brings less linear and more adaptable planning, less time-consuming and shorter work cycles, less siloed work and a greater focus on the collective. Actually, according to the Project Management Institute, over 70% of organisations incorporating an agile approach show a success rate of 28% above other companies that continue with the traditional method.
So how can businesses effectively employ agile? What are the best practices? Take a look:
- Management: To be practical, agile teams need clearly defined roles and responsibilities. An agile leader will set up the organizational structure, track the progress of the sprints and encourage collaboration. But the most essential part is helping create a culture of innovation;
- Planning: Agile does not mean rushing. There needs to be sufficient planning, so the team understands what needs to be done. However, the ability to respond to change is more important than following a plan. The constant feedback received throughout the project is a key factor in being able to react just as quickly;
- Key Performance Indicators: Setting up a few metrics to strive for is crucial for the implementation of agile fundamentals. Implementing agile metrics brings more clarity to development and will monitor how productive a team is across the different phases. And they need to be as easy and as realistic to be understood;
- Reviews and feedback: After each sprint, it's a good idea to evaluate the progress. Since there will be a focus on user feedback, results and added value are the priority. Decision making must always be under the client's objectives, which will lessen the subjectivity and politics of the process;
- Software Tools: Once comfortable with the mindset above, teams can start developing their ways of working with agile tools - Scrum framework, Kanban board, Trello, Wrike, Asana, DailyScrum, Jira, and many others. Regardless of the approach, it is vital to be tested, developing one's model based on organisational culture, sector, team size and business needs.
Never forget that if the people in the organisation can get closer to the customer, they can deliver more value to that customer. So make sure people have the tools, training and job assignments they need to be successful. But, most importantly, lead from the front!