Companies are looking for a competitive edge and solutions that increase productivity and reduce time to market.
Adopting a new framework for development that changes the way a company works is a strategic, long-term process rather than a quick fix.
What is Agile?
Agile is a people-centred and result-oriented methodology adopted from the rapidly changing world of software development. When implemented correctly, Agile focuses on self-organising, adaptive planning, fast and continuous improvement in quality, and short delivery times. It’s fast and flexible and uses tools like Scrum and Kanban, Scrumban or JIRA.
How it works and why we recommended Agile to our client?
In 2011, Jeff Sutherland together with a group of software engineers created the Agile Manifesto, a set of rules and principles that started the Agile movement. In the manifesto, face-to-face communication is one of the central parts of the Agile philosophy. Feedback is central in Agile because it is how companies move forward in the development process in the right way, that is, according to clients needs. Moreover, through cooperation, trust, and open communication, teams organise themselves in a way that allows them to decide what to work on, what the priorities are, who wants to work on what project and how to continually adjust the process to keep it simple.
Our team of consultants and representatives of the company had to admit that the “waterfall” method consisting of a “plan-build-test and deliver” sequence no longer matched the existing configuration of the company and its ambitions for development.
Another reason why we chose to recommend Agile to our client was the amount of positive change this method generated in companies of all sizes, all over the world. According to the Project Management Institute, almost three-quarters of organisations report using Agile. In 2017, Forbes interviewed five hundred senior executives who use Agile in their day to day work. 92% of them reported that organisational agility is critical to organisational success and 84% of them agree that “agility” is essential to achieving digital transformation.
First of all, to successfully adopt Agile, a company has to have the necessary infrastructure, the organisational mindset to internalise the principles of agile development, and the buy-in from senior management and key stakeholders;
After you’ve got the support of the leadership team, set the company’s priorities. The backlog is a list of prioritised tasks created and managed by a product owner. Don’t dictate teams how they should work. Empower people to take ownership of their projects and let them find a way to deliver the best possible quality of work;
Deliver in small increments. Maintaining a small release cycle allows the company to incorporate valuable stakeholder feedback before proceeding further. What is great about the short sprints is that even though the project is tightly managed, inside the team, it seems like there is much liberty to decide on the projects. On top of that, there will be competition between teams since none of them will want to be the team that hasn’t completed the projects on time;
Build cross-functional teams. Break down silos in your organisation and allow interdisciplinary collaboration. The advantage to this method is that all your experts will work towards a singular goal. This allows for continuous integration of all parts of a project which increases team cohesion and efficiency;
Agile is all about iteration and continuous improvement. In large organisations, it is difficult to predict the outcome of a project because so many variables are involved. Instead of trying to be predictive on a large scale project, agile proposes and adaptive approach to defining early stages and then going back to return the design as many times as it takes, it proved to be much more effective.
To lead, unify and accelerate the agile transformation, we created an Agile playbook that contains a step-by-step guide that helps teams be more efficient and effective. The playbook contains team health monitors to self-assess against eight attributes. It also includes “plays” to improve performance and acquire any lacking skills. The “plays” are not checklists or performance reviews; they are conversations for teams to have. It applies to all industries and all types of companies.
All in all, one of the reasons why Agile has such a great track record of generating positive change, from being considered critical to organisational success to an indispensable tool in digitisation, is that it helps team members to visualise their work and allows for client feedback early in the process. As more companies are becoming digitised, the need for more speed, flexibility and efficiency will increase the adoption of agile methodologies.