How to Adopt Agile Principles for your Enterprise

Enterprise agility is at the core of business strategy today. It is not just about profitability or higher revenues. But the idea is to be nimble enough to adopt, adapt & respond to customer needs better & faster than your competition.

Organizations globally recognize this non-negotiable aspect of their business. And are more forthcoming in taking the right steps towards agile project management.

There is enough evidence to support the tactical & strategic benefits of adopting agile principles for your operations & customer delivery.

Primarily because agile is all about delivering outcomes in an iterative & incremental manner where value is realized (or rather perceived) instantly.

However, it is important to understand; agile is not a panacea for your chaotic delivery model.

Agile is more about a culture, way of doing things, being ok with incremental values & frequent course corrections than expected.

Having said that, let us focus on simple aspects that enable agile methodology for your business.

Set Expectations Transparently

Loss of management autonomy is one of the major threats to agile adoption. And a close second is resistance to change.

Let’s dig deeper.

Agile execution offers greater freedom to your teams in choosing what to deliver & when. The entire ownership and accountability are with that team with very little scope of control for the management.

And this is where things get tricky. Driving the message clearly through to your management is critical to agile adoption.

Hence, you have to start at the top! Showcase how:

  • costly failures can be avoided
  • customer participation can be increased
  • speed of execution can be ramped up
  • desired business value with optimum quality be delivered

Agile adoption needs a lot of practice. It is about preparing or a marathon rather than an energy burst to win a sprint!

It’s a long haul and needs absolute commitment & management support to make it a success within the organization.

Similarly, take a hard look at the long-established processes. People are comfortable with them. Tweaking them overnight isn’t a wise approach.

You must show them that though their work remains the same but with increased value. It is about the team shifting the focus from being quantitative to qualitative.

Traditional approaches do not do a great job at showcasing the true value of one’s contribution and if so at a very late stage. So not particularly helpful.

On the other hand, agile methodology is more inclusive & enables the quicker representation of the value delivered.

Teams see the impact of their work directly in almost real-time & are more inclined to be aligned with the objective.

Hence, driving the change with transparent communication, knowledge & impact of the change is critical to getting all stakeholders on board.

Identify & Build a Team of Change Agents

You are bound to find quite a few excited early adopters. Note: agile isn’t for the tech or delivery teams only.

It is an optimized way of delivering value repetitively & frequently. The more you tend to champion it, the more you get to stand out in the market.

Try and identify like-minded team members across the organization who are willing to take agile adoption further.

Build and run a small implementation for their department or team. Identify any in-flight or about to start initiatives that you can try with the agile approach.

It need not be a significant shift. Maybe identify the most common or a repetitive step of a process that you can optimize for agility or reduce recurrence.

Agile benefits are like compound interest. You need to be patient with your efforts and commitment.

Get Organized

Self-Organizing teams are at the heart of agile methodology.

Teams are more aware of their capabilities & strengths. Hence, they are willing to take risks, experiment frequently and take full responsibility for the outcomes.

These are precisely the attributes that enable most companies to fail fast and succeed faster.

When your teams are offered adequate freedom, there is a steep rise in sense of ownership of the tasks at hand.

Teams tend to be driven by a greater sense of purpose and are more dedicated to client success.

It’s the value-driven approach that also adds to the mix.

Moreover, the perks of rapid on the job learning & greater exposure to the customer’s mindset is also a huge plus.

Our businesses revolve around that of the customers. The moment our customers are assured of our alignment with their ideas and vision, the job is half done.

Getting the above fact ingrained into our teams goes a long way in maturing the overall agile practices within the company.

Be it sales, HR, marketing, IT, customer support; self-organizing teams is the need of the hour.

An important aspect of self-organizing teams is that of being self-sufficient & self-sustainable too.

The whole concept is about putting a team in place that has all the required talents to get the job done. Thus silos are broken and inter-departmental conflicts are minimized.

Self-organizing teams also present an added advantage. Multi-skilled members collaborating together widens the overall team’s learning scope and the knowledge quotient.

A critical ingredient to make impact-ful contributions to the company’s bottom line!

Maintain clarity across the Organization

As straight forward this may sound, implementation isn’t that easy.

Head over to any job posting sites and go over a few Scrum Master, Agile Coach job descriptions.

You will see how cumbersome and contradicting requirements are listed there.

No one is to blame. But it explains all too clear as to how unaware organizations are about their own real needs.

It isn’t a bad thing. Rather a great area to start fixes with.

There is also another side to it – lack of confidence in the agile approach and the urge to bite more than they can chew.

Hence, communicating across the board will help reduce the degree of uncertainty. Do equally focus on all things that agile is not about rather than what it can do.

Total awareness of your industry, associated regulations if any is a must before charting on your agile journey.

On the other hand, the market you are in and the way your company functions may not be very conducive to agile practices and may make an attempt irrelevant from the word go.

Hence, obtaining & maintaining absolute engagement at all levels across the organization is key to the agile methodology adoption.

Quick Recap

Initiating new approaches or making strategic shifts is always an uphill task. Diving straight without optimum groundwork is a big NO!

Hence, focus on the basics tenets of

  • Expectation management
  • Answering the “what’s in it for me” question
  • Building self-sustainable teams
  • Communicating at all levels

How far are you on your agile journey? Haven’t you started?

Get going with Orangescrum’s in-depth agile scrum feature today!

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