The fast pace of change in the digital world is driving the need for businesses to become agile and adapt to rapid change in the marketplace. It’s about being quick and flexible, creating the right business culture, and putting your customers first, while remaining profitable.
Agile business methodology
Agile approaches for projects have been in use for more than a decade, mainly by software development teams. The agile approach differs by using short but regular cycles that deliver results to users. This allows for lighter, more flexible processes that maximise the time spent on directly value-adding tasks through close cooperation with the customer and continuous improvement through feedback.
Agile approach to strategic planning
Continuous small incremental changes and regular evaluation reduce the implementation risk and make it easier to stop non-profitable projects before they incur huge losses. The flexibility to revise and re-prioritize projects at an early stage is essential.
Having seen the benefits delivered within IT departments, organizations are now starting to adopt agile at the enterprise level and implement agile ways of working across their organization.
The most successful agile teams will be those that take the time to understand what a disciplined agile process looks like. Achieving the best business outcome will combine traditional techniques, discipline and flexibility to provide an approach that is transparent, reliable and nimble.
An attitude of “we don’t plan, we’re agile” is likely to result in a project losing direction and ultimately failing. Some formality and planning is essential – if agile development abandons all project discipline, it is unlikely to deliver a quicker time to market, reduced costs, lower risk and greater flexibility.
Simplification is the key
Many organizations have excessively complex structures with too many layers complicating business, and a culture that is characterized by fear of failure and resistance to change. In order to get the best from agile and deliver the full benefits, an agile culture is needed across the organisation.
That culture is significantly influenced by the leadership so this means management needs a comprehensive plan for managing the expectations of the business, easing resistance to change, encouraging motivation, and promoting the skills and behaviour required for agile.
A company of the future is one that understands the changing dynamics between the company, its employees and customers and can deal with constant change by creating flexible, agile and decentralized environments that can execute autonomously, yet are working to achieve a shared, clear vision. The digitally enhanced and richly connected world we live in today creates new challenges and opportunities for designing effective collaboration and communication for this way of working.
Agile business environment
Organizations must learn to better leverage IT for working digitally and autonomously. Instead of a disparate set of activities where each person works independently, having everyone working together to co-create meaningful content and solutions can be more effective for your business. Collaborating with others helps push beyond the obvious and create unique solutions, at the speed of now. Teams are connected using lean visualization tools.
The right solution provides value-added capabilities such as managing work flows, increasing collaboration between work groups and allowing content creators to self-publish. It makes progress fast and simple. It allows users to easily personalize their views of complex issues and understand them by sharing multiple dimensions of knowledge, updated by contributors in real time. It is this transfer of knowledge, more than the IT itself, which will keep enterprises effective, competitive and agile in the future.
Agile business management
Businesses are under pressure to digitally transform. New technology is vital for improving agility. Taking an agile approach to projects and programs produces higher quality results, in less time, at lower cost and risk. That’s because with agile you stay focused on what matters, and continuously adapt to the latest information, not what you predicted at the start.
It’s about focusing on the pull rather than the push and eliminating or reducing the activity that consumes resources without actually adding any value. It also makes work more rewarding and enjoyable, meaning a more engaged workforce, driving you towards a culture that attracts the next generation of star performers. Agile gives leaders a framework to maintain a balance between running the business and changing the business to ensure growth through innovation.