By Guy Morley
Change can be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary for organisations to stay competitive, innovative, and attractive. Technology has completely changed the way organisations conduct their daily activities, and is ever evolving and fast-moving.
Many tech firms have introduced a new project management methodology that better suits this quick pace. This agile way of working is a change that requires teams to be flexible, adaptable, and responsive. But what is the agile methodology? How can it benefit your team?
What is the Agile Methodology?
The agile methodology is a way of working often seen in software development. It arose from the real-life experiences of programmers and IT professionals as they dealt with the highs and lows of a project. Agile is a process that allows teams to quickly adapt and respond to the feedback they receive from outside parties, such as management or even customers, in various stages of development.
This way of working prioritises outcomes over procedures. Agile essentially throws the rulebook out the window and allows satisfactory outcomes to be reached by whatever means necessary. Plans are not strictly adhered to; what matters most is that the software works. The agile process is often executed in short spurts called “sprints,” which are fixed periods of time allocated for each specific phase of the project. A sprint is considered complete when the time period expires. When the sprint concludes, no more work will be completed for that phase, and the following phases will continue in their allotted time frames.
Benefits for Firms and Customers
Research into the effectiveness of agile methods yielded the following results :
- 41% were better in terms of overall business value
- 83% showed quicker time-to-market speeds
- 50% were higher in quality
- 50% were less costly
- 83% were more productive
Eliminating the ‘one size fits all’ approach to project management benefits both the organisation and its customers. Interaction between the team and its stakeholders allows for complete transparency about the state of the project and a collective understanding of the client’s vision. Continuous collaboration between these parties ensures that the final product meets these expectations. The feedback from parties outside the team provides fresh perspective, and allows for troubleshooting early on. Things can be changed mid-development as opposed to after the fact, which saves time and effort later on.
The Challenges of Change
As humans, we’re wired to steer ourselves towards things that are familiar and comfortable. We like routines and stability. Agile work is massively disruptive, asking us to abandon our pre-existing ideas of what the project management process should look like. Changing to an agile approach requires changing established behaviours. That can be unsettling for some, and make the change process towards adopting the agile methodology a bit rocky. Employees established in their roles may struggle to shrug their old habits, and may have a hard time discarding tried-and-true procedures for a flexible, adaptable approach.
How to Implement Successful Change
With any change, there is likely going to be anxiety and uncertainty during the process. Full-blown change cannot and should not happen overnight. Implementing agile elements little by little will allow employees to ease into their new normal as opposed to being thrown into the deep end of change. Take it one project at a time to start out. When introducing the agile methodology, ensure all those involved are motivated and communicating openly.
Soft skills are crucial for agile to be successful. In these collaboration-heavy environments, it is important for staff to communicate well and for everyone to possess strong teamwork skills. Those providing feedback should be constructive and respectful, and the members of the team should be open to receive criticism and learn from it. Sprints provide fixed time allotments for each piece of the project. This requires strong time management and organisational skills in order to complete the tasks at hand before the sprint deadline. The most successful teams will already possess many of these attributes, but the agile working environment encourages employees of any organisation to develop these essential skills as a result of their new processes.
If you need support in hiring the right Agile talent (engineering or management) to implement change in your organisation, please get in touch. Email email@example.com or call +44 (0)1892 512494 .