How to Apply an Agile Approach to Enhance Your Business

by Shamsul
Agile Strategy
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How to Apply an Agile approach to Enhance Your Business

 

The agile approach was specifically designed for software development. It has progressed exceptionally over the years and can be applied to industries such as aerospace engineering, marketing, hardware development, etc. In this economic era, various market variables such as changing customer preferences, increased competition, cultural changes, and unstable business atmosphere make it hard for companies to run business. That’s why they are looking for ways to develop a more flexible strategy to run a business successfully.

If you are facing these challenges, it’s the right time to incorporate Agile principles and values into your business strategy to find new ways in difficult times. There are unlimited benefits of Agile as it helps improve workflow, increase profits, satisfy customers, and increase business enactment. Now, the Agile approach can be applied in any area of field or business.

For this reason, we have compiled a list of Agile methods. They will surely help you improve your business performance in such a short timeframe.

A Six-Step Guide for the Adoption of Agile Approach

Step # 1: Identify the Agile Concept

We have examples of companies that shift to Agile without clearly understanding its real purpose and meaning. There are two solid reasons why we should take an in-depth look.

  1. Find out how it works and what its outcomes are.
  2. Define your ability to use Agile workflow and incorporate it into your company’s requirements.

Identifying the possible outcomes when applying Agile workflow to your business is also imperative. For example, suppose you are a software development company and start a new project by informing your clients about the Agile workflows and terminologies. In that case, you need to understand how it works first. In this way, your clients can easily understand what to expect and what’s not to expect.

With this step, you can easily understand the concept or purpose of Agile workflow in terms of software development. The main idea of Agile is to separate a large project into small parts. Therefore, you can easily focus on each separated part and get the desired results. You can also ask for feedback in order to improve the process.

Dave Thomas, one of the founders of Agile, says the reason for creating the Agile Manifesto is to improve the efficiency or agility of the whole company. For this, you have to follow some simple actions as given:

  • Identify where you are currently
  • Take small steps toward your objective
  • Change your understanding level and
  • Repeat….

To achieve business agility, you have to take small steps. Also, continuously analyze your performance to determine whether you are on the right track.

 

PepsiCo and Agile Mindset: Short Success Story

PepsiCo is one of the world’s most extensive food and beverage companies. The company experienced a considerable reduction in its growth rate in 2017. In order to increase growth, PepsiCo used the Agile mindset. This mindset developed a new working culture in the company, resulting in a better growth rate. By incorporating Agile principles with its internal needs, PepsiCo is well-adjusted to adopting the latest technologies by focusing on workers and clients.

 

Step # 2: Check out Challenges and Precautions

There is no doubt about it that an Agile mindset can bring business value. It is highly fruitful in some conditions. The overall success of Agile workflow is based on transparency, flexibility, and teamwork. Being a large company, you must adopt the Agile method carefully because it can pose some challenges for the company.

The real meaning of this method is to apply specific changes in the corporate sector, from operation to processes to behavior and culture. A specific shift in behavior is the only thing that Agile workflow needs.

Big organizations must understand that implementing Agile workflow can reveal various issues. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can quickly embrace Agile workflow at any different scale. In certain situations, the complete adoption of Agile is dubious for specific projects. When it comes to long-term projects, the stability of different factors is necessary because a little mistake can destroy the whole project, even the whole company.

For complex projects, Agile workflow is suitable. In projects where solutions are uncertain, and chances of flexibility are high, Agile is the ideal method. These conditions are favorable for different processes such as sales activities, marketing campaigns, recruiting, supply chain operations, and product development. Using the Agile method in legal departments and accounting can be difficult. But, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to implement.

In order to make things possible, carefully analyze the working model of each department in your organization. This way, you can better understand which strategies suit Agile. Here, you can easily split a complex project into small parts and allocate them accordingly to different departments. By doing this, you can move to the next step of Agile.

 

Step # 3: Draft a Kick-off Plan

It requires much time and effort to kick-start a plan or project. That’s why you should take baby steps to get things started. First of all, analyze the whole organization and trace the departments or areas you want to improve. After doing this, you need to find out what Agile practices you need to utilize to make it feasible. You have to consider all the elements, such as technology, staff, processes, etc.

Do not overlook the people that will drive the Agile method and set a specific timeframe in which you want to complete the transformation process. Many organizations have utilized Scrum (a popular Agile framework) for maintaining the quality food level 2 certification. They launched Scrum, set their goals, and allocated Agile pilots to each part or department. In this way, you can successfully implement the Agile approach to any organization or part of the company.

After seeing the positive results, they implemented other Agile frameworks and have enjoyed increasing revenues and efficiency.

 

Step # 4: Develop a Shared Vision

When a company or an organization achieves success or positive outcomes, this success is a collective effort of each department. The workers feel an emotional and a personal connection to their effort or hard work. They all work to obtain a common objective. This element plays a crucial role in the transformation process of Agile.

That’s why it is essential to state your vision clearly. It helps you in crises and keeps you in the right direction. Also, it ensures that each team member or worker works towards a common goal. It shows every worker has the same priority. This kind of vision will help you measure the project’s success rate and overall progress while adopting Agile. On these bases, you can even make bold decisions.

Transparent and clear purpose statements are one of the significant pillars of Agile’s success. So, any organization can use it at all levels. The whole organization works like a united team just because of the Agile approach.

 

Step # 5: Adopt Continuous Learning and Experimentation

The connection between the Agile approach and technology is very intimate. We often explain innovation as the general application of creativity. The primary purpose of innovation is to build effective solutions for the betterment and ease of people. This process involves learning from mistakes and relies heavily on testing and experimenting. It is what the Agile approach does.

While developing your business policies, you must identify how your business works. It would help if you uncovered your product launch policies and guidelines. It is really beneficial for small startups, but large firms can also take advantage of Agile workflow.

In short, this process is mainly based on assumptions. There is also a chance that you have followed the wrong strategy or plan. It is imperative to indulge stakeholders during the implementation of the Agile process. Keep your team and even yourself up-to-date in order to monitor your progress better. You can make quick changes to avoid big problems by learning from mistakes. As a company, you can bear micro failures but can’t macro losses.

 

Step # 6: Shift from Authority to Partnership

You will no place for authority in the Agile system. Various traditional companies follow an authoritative organizational structure, so Agile is not for them. The agile approach promotes trust, respect, and freedom among team members. Without these factors, Agile is not workable for your company.

In an Agile system, leaders or heads are not inspectors. Their actual work is to focus on the workers and give them a helping hand. They are responsible for building a working environment where team members can show their maximum effort and intelligent work to achieve a common goal. They should be problem-solving, not inspectors. Knowledge and behavior are the two main factors of seniority in Agile workflow.

When a team feels psychologically safe, it produces maximum results. They feel easy, open, and comfortable in this kind of state.

 

The Bottom Line | Agile Approach

Implementing an Agile approach throughout the organization smoothly is slightly challenging, especially in an established firm. But, the steps mentioned above can significantly help you implant Agile workflow. If a company successfully implements the Agile approach, it can achieve its business goals at a fast pace. Remember that Agile is a collaborative approach and can only be implemented with a firm Agile mindset.

 
 

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