The agile model of development has led to rapid transformation in industries across sectors. Companies have been quick to adopt the agile model and its benefits like increased innovation, shorter delivery cycles, faster feedback from customers and rapid response to change. At the heart of the agile way of working is a focus on customer collaboration, reducing risk of delivery, fast adaptation, and continuous improvement. As companies begin to shift from a traditional approach to an agile transformation, it is important to keep a few guidelines in mind to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The agile transformation will be different for every business. However, there are key principles and trademark practices that are universal in any agile transformation that can be useful while developing your business’s unique roadmap.
Become intensely customer-focused
Agile organizations are intent on delivering value to customers and meeting the diverse set of needs throughout the customer lifecycle. This also extends to a range of stakeholders like employees and communities. As they are committed to delivering value to customers and stakeholders, agile organizations actively monitor customer preferences and adapt to them. They seek a better understanding of their customers’ needs through feedback and through formal methods like reviews, forums, to iterate on their offerings and develop new business models.
Keep your vision at the forefront
The agile mindset is all about adapting quickly to change. So, you will find that you may find that your plan may need revisions at the initial stages. This is a common occurrence, but it should not throw you off track. With the help of a detailed plan-, short- and long-term agendas that align with your vision and goals. The plan should have a detailed and clear division of project ownership and stakeholders so that team members are aware of what steps to take in case of sudden revision of plans.
Establish metrics and schedule regular check-ins
The agile method of working involves short sprints. This helps teams stay focused on tasks. During these sprints, the team will have frequent check-ins to share progress and solve problems. As managers schedule regular check-ins, they can monitor the progress, review, and set goals for the next sprint. By establishing the appropriate metrics and industry-standard benchmarks, managers can accurately gauge the effectiveness of their project. Typically, a team could work on two-week sprints, with a mini check-in and a big picture check-in every month that project leaders and managers can use to evaluate the overall progress and flag any misalignment with the vision.
Active collaboration is the hallmark of agile transformation. To enable this, agile organizations will capitalize on standardized methods of communication and collaboration between and within teams, using multiple meeting formats, interaction platforms and technology to facilitate the process. This approach is markedly different from the traditional practice of working in informational silos and enables rapid iteration. This also means that leaders should be open to honest and constructive feedback from team members and stakeholders across the board at any stage of the project.
Continuous improvement & decision-making
Agile organizations are committed to continuous improvement with rapid cycles. This means they must take decisions quickly and more often, with a lower probability than their previous method of working in which decision-making is slower. So, given the frequency of decision-making, agile organizations typically do not look for consensus in their decisions, as that would be hard to achieve, and would impede progress. Therefore, they rely on input from all team members and stakeholders, with weightage given to the subject matter experts, which would enable the team to proceed without stalling.
The agile transformation of industries has ushered in a new way of working as well as dynamic business models. By following a few universal guidelines, agile organizations have the ability to leverage dynamism with stability to take advantage of the multiple and diverse opportunities available in today’s business environment.