Agile Management Beyond Tech

Agile is a list of values for managing software development projects, where people come before processes, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over plans.

In the hands of skilled practitioners, the application of agile principles enables teams to respond to changing client needs and business priorities, reduce project risk, and easily and speedily incorporate the latest solutions. See how your organisation can benefit from Agile to gain a competitive edge.

Embrace Change

With so much change happening at a rapid pace, teams in all sectors are looking for more dynamic ways of working, and the adaptability, collaboration and productivity ethos of Agile makes it a great way to transform any business – not just software! The Agile approach suited the needs of Mayo Clinic, one of the largest not-for-profit medical groups in the world, because it helped staff deliver better patient care in more efficient ways, improve clinical operations and reduce wait times, and advance medical research by allowing teams to organise differently. Now, agile frameworks such as the Scrum approach and Lean Management principles were being introduced into multidisciplinary teams at Mayo, helping focus collaborative efforts on simultaneously delivering customer value while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their processes. Frequent communication and transparency with stakeholders can foster increased engagement and reduce risk of resistance throughout the transition. If early wins are recognisable, the same stakeholders who viewed the change as a risk can become high-visibility champions of the transformation. To learn how Agile can work for your organisation, Prosci provides change management training and tools, and a playbook on how Agile can scale in any organisation.

Build Trust

Although associated with software development teams, agile principles should be employed across departments to fine-tune efficiencies, eliminate redundancies and meet customer needs. This allows inbound market insight to help the cross-functional team set the right project priorities and deadlines from the outset. This means that customer feedback can be acted on quickly without building in needless delay and cost. For an agile team, small solution iterations can be delivered very quickly. This means that customer insight can be received and learnt from very fast while, at the same time, the function that made the wrong call can learn from this feedback with relatively little cost to the delivery of the year’s plan. The Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Furthermore, its iterative delivery model increases the probability that risks and uncertainties will be identified early in the project’s development and corrected early on. Once such risks have been found and brought to light, teams can then decide the best way to proceed, without those outside the team dictating the priorities. This increases motivation and engagement amongst the team and also enhances that ‘psychological safety’ that is crucial for effective teams.

Focus on Customer Needs

Agile has now become a pervasive way of working across an enormous number of corporations, from banks to property developers to miners, to government departments. Every type of company – banks, property developers, miners and government departments – uses its ways of working to increase efficiency, flexibility and customer satisfaction. Collaboration among team members also increases with agile project management, as teams get more control over their work, which fosters more autonomy and ownership over their work, leading to greater morale and productivity. Another benefit of Agile is that it establishes a clear framework for agile project management where stakeholders can easily come to a shared understanding of objectives and align on how to allocate resources. With iterative sprints and feedback loops, an agile team delivers more working software in shorter periods of time than a traditional method, allowing clients to see progress earlier, and keeping customers happier by making sure the most working features go live first – important for businesses that need to iterate quickly in accordance with shifting demands.

Invest in People

Agile’s most significant feature is that it awakens the sense of team building and collaboration, which leads to happy and more engaged employees, by fostering authentic interaction between people, encouraging teamwork and collaboration, and shortening the time-to-market by breaking bigger projects down into iterations cycles that enable the teams to deliver working solutions faster. One of the key benefits of Agile is the regular feedback and reflection cycles that foster continual improvement and help teams deal with any problems or barriers that they encounter along their project path. By using practice data to inform approaches you can improve the efficiency of running any style of team. Agile methodologies are often best known in software development environments, particularly where technical requirements exist, but can equally be deployed in other departments – such as offering recruitment efficiencies and driving innovation in operations, culture and HR, or boosting sales and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, introducing agile methods for the first time in non-tech departments such as HR and sales can lead to enhanced innovation and greater competitive advantage, boost competitiveness, drive efficiencies and reduce inefficiency in processes. However, in all cases, it will be up to those driving transformation to apply the various tools and techniques within agile most effectively, and ensure there’s buy-in amongst their teams who are less tech-savvy to the benefits that agile can bring.

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