What Does Agile Mean?
Agile practices are a business management mindset that looks to rapidly conform to inevitable continuous change instead of working against it. It prioritizes
- People over processes.
- Working models/prototypes over detailed documentation.
- Collaboration over meetings and negotiations.
- Rapid adoption to change over following a predetermined plan.
Agile delivers useful outputs as you go along instead of having to wait to the very end of the project to submit all deliverables at a go.
While it has its roots in software development, the agile framework has since been applied to every business line in every type of organization. From marketing and human resources, to procurement and compliance.
Agile helps organizations navigate today’s volatile, complex, ambiguous and customer-centric marketplace. Projects are broken down into phases and teams run through a continuous cycle of planning, execution and evaluation.
Agile is not about procedures but a governance, leadership and cultural mindset. It’s a shift in enterprise culture characterized by quick learning and fast decision-making cycles. It adds adaptability and speed to stability which confers a competitive advantage in fluid conditions.
The traits of the agile approach include:
- Clear organization-wide or project-wide vision and purpose that aligns teams along a central objective.
- Empowered, flexible and scalable teams instead of the traditional, hierarchical structure.
- Quick learning cycles and rapid decision making.
- Diverse, enthusiastic and dynamic stakeholders.
Implementing an agile transformation can be done in two phases:
- Designing and piloting the model by building team leaders’ understanding
- Developing a roadmap of how agile adds value.
- Implementing pilot models including breaking down projects into cycles (known as sprints or iterations).
- Using knowledge gained from the pilots to Improve the agile process.
- Create more agile teams across the organization.
Traditional business management is pre-planned to cater to predictable circumstances. By adopting agile principles, businesses can stay focused on customer requirements, improve their productivity and scale complex, uncertain business landscapes.