Before we start, what is Agile?
Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a “big bang” launch, an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments. Requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.
The primary benefits of Agile for companies:
Agile increase Visibility
Visibility into what’s being done, when, and how increases transparency of leadership while improving accountability across the organization. It can also improve the overall agility of the organization; if everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to make strategic, coordinated pivots as needed to adjust to the marketplace. But visibility isn’t just helpful for leaders; it’s helpful for people at every level of the organization.
Increased Product Quality
The Agile Manifesto values working software over comprehensive documentation. One of the 12 principles clarifies this point further: Working software is the primary measure of progress. It’s a seemingly simple concept that has led to a more modular delivery of software. That shift profoundly impacts both how organizations deliver software to customers, and ultimately results in better quality overall.
Increased Business Value
The goal for any Agile team is to increase the value created for the customer. Without a deliberate focus on creating customer value, it’s easy to lose sight of what should drive business decisions. Agile empowers everyone, at every level of the organization, to ensure that work is done in a way that maximizes customer value.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Agile teams start with the understanding that satisfying the customer is the highest priority. Successful Agile deliverables prioritize regular interactions with customers.
In the beginning, Agile teams clarify expectations and ensure they prioritize the customer problems they need to address. They then start delivering a working version of software on a frequent basis to demo functionality for customers throughout the development process. Doing so provides an ongoing opportunity for customer feedback. Product owners can use this customer feedback to prioritize development of certain features while moving other items that are less important into the product backlog to be tackled later.
All of these things collectively lead to higher customer satisfaction. Continuous customer alignment means Agile teams stay focused on delivering software features directly aligned to customers’ needs. That prioritized focus allows Agile teams to deliver value to customers faster, delivering higher quality software in the process.
What are the dimensions of agility in a company?
- Technology: These are all the tools, techniques and methods that companies can use to become more agile.
- Organizational design: This is the workspace and the organization that enables cross-functional, creative and effective work.
- Employees: Agility enables employees to work across functions using techniques, coaching, advanced training and development paths. Diversity is an opportunity to think outside the box and achieve solutions quickly.
- Leadership: Management goes beyond budgeting and controlling performance targets and sees change as an opportunity. It’s about trust, empowering employees and giving decision-making power to the people with the best assessment of the situation.
- Culture: The purpose of the company takes precedence over the mission. The culture should enrich and fulfill all those involved. It should encourage experimentation and mistakes within clear boundaries in order to learn and improve. It is a humane, trusting and respectful culture of conflict about the best solution for everyone.