Agile is one of the biggest buzzwords in business today. Companies are either starting to utilize Agile methodology as a means to run their businesses or are beginning to explore how to properly “be Agile.” Agile methodology helps business groups show progress and results more quickly and effectively than in the past. Although many companies confidently claim to be Agile, after review it becomes clear that not only are they not properly implementing Agile, but in fact they are using this methodology as a way to justify indecisiveness. Companies need to understand that if a business process is working well, then the entire business may not require adjustment. Many successful companies don’t use Agile yet will continue to be successful-even when compared to Agile businesses.
Agile is often described as “a process based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. Agile methods or Agile processes generally promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organization and accountability, a set of engineering best practices intended to allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.”
Agile methodology is a great option if implemented properly. But oftentimes it can lead to longer development cycles and out of scope project specifications that only complicate tasks. It’s not enough for a company to simply decide to use Agile. They must also invest in training their employees to properly understand the benefits. Companies must also be willing to try new tools, invest in training and implementation, and take the time to give the methodology a chance by starting small (versus altering the entire company). That’s not to say these companies have no chance of success once they’ve given Agile a chance and failed, but there are necessary steps and points to keep in mind if being effectively Agile is the end goal.
Though this is only a start, the following points will certainly help companies better utilize all the advantages of an Agile methodology: Firstly, companies must be willing to try new tools specifically designed to facilitate a more Agile approach. Tools like JIRA exist to better help companies plan their projects and more effectively track things like releases, sprints, bugs and tasks. Secondly, companies must be willing to train employees on Agile and ensure they know how to implement the lessons they have learned. Without training, people will create their own versions of agility. Sometimes these may work, but more frequently they will be time consuming and costly for the overall business.
Lastly, it is of utmost importance not to give up after your first failed agile project. Process changes take time for people to accept and fully utilize. Rather than giving up, learn from the mistakes made and work to limit these issues in the future. Granted, this is a lot easier said than done. But with the right mindset, many businesses can reap huge benefits and rewards from going Agile. If your organization is looking to adopt an Agile approach but needs some help getting started, please reach out to us. We’d love to help you out.