Why should you deploy Agile beyond software?- 4 key themes

Agile is being deployed more than ever across industries beyond software development. In this article we share with you 4 key themes of why its important to implement Agile.

2020 has required it.


1. CUSTOMER COLLABORATION OVER CONTRACT NEGOTIATION

 

Change Management

Customers are integral to all businesses and it has never been more important to work closely with them in a way that provides flexibility. Take for example People and Culture teams within organisations, who have employees as their customers.

Imagine if HR always stuck steadfast to outdated policies and contracts.

As many countries went into the COVID-19 era, organisations were needing to implement change management to far greater and impactful degrees.    Many have had to reduce workforce drastically, and in some case like airlines, let go of hundreds, and thousands of employees.     While others (like communications, and online grocery retailers) were hiring those employees.

Drastic organisational change has occurred in nearly every industry as a result of the global pandemic.    Organisations needed to prioritise people’s needs while maintaining business continuity during the past few months.

Using and implementing Agile in People and Culture departments, while instigating Change Management, has provided companies the opportunity to navigate through the crisis, with keeping most staff on the books.

CUSTOMER COLLABORATING has been key.   Partnering with the stakeholders (the staff) and keeping the communication on the go, in a live virtual environment like a mission control.  You can download our free Mission Control infographic here. 

Contract negotiation and old policies don’t standup in 2020.


2. WORKING SOFTWARE [INSERT ANY TYPE OF PRODUCT] OVER COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTATION

 

Test and Learn. Design by ADAPTOVATE

“If you have a product that you build” says Mark Barber, ADAPTOVATE project lead in Melbourne. “Regardless if it is software or a process redesign, a portrait painting, or even a house, the best way to test you are on the right track is to put in the hands of your customer as early and as often as you can.”

We still need documentation, such as house plans, but until we are walking over that slab and through those walls we cannot feel what it will be like to live there and the earlier we are in the build the easier it is to make changes.

Easier said than done?  No.  That is exactly what AGILE is designed for.   Many and fast iterative improvements during test and learn cycles.

Look at the Australian example of Stage Kings.  Stage Kings is a company that provides services to the live music and event industry setting up stages.  During COVID when there was an abrupt and sudden ban on all live gatherings their business potentially shut down over night.  In stead they pivoted to trialling making home office furniture.

They released over 30 products, had 5000 orders, and employed 50 crew across 4 states to supply the demand.

Most importantly – they turned it around in FOUR DAYS.    Imagine if they didn’t get the product into hands immediately.  They wouldn’t have been able to scale product type over eight weeks so rapidly.  (read more here).

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Stage Kings pivoted to home office furniture.

3. RESPONDING TO CHANGE OVER FOLLOWING A PLAN

By now you see that for the most part the Agile values are quite agnostic of software development.

Responding to change means to build flexibility into our planning and to make informed decisions about when and why to change direction.

The Agile mindset is about valuing the act of planning over the plan itself.

One of the bigger myths around Agile is that we don’t plan and that could not be further from the truth. We plan continuously, we just don’t build detailed plans around what we don’t yet know.

Sport is a classic example of this value – sporting teams spend a lot of time planning for different scenarios and different opposition and can quickly react to new situations

Value the act of planning

 


4. INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS OVER PROCESSES AND TOOLS

This theme is possibly the most valuable.

Meaningful work is the product of people coming together to share ideas and solve problems. We need to create environments where they are free to do so and not restricted by processes and tools.

Buurtzorg, a health care provider in the Netherlands is a famous example of an organisational model that optimises for people and interactions over processes and tools. Teams self-manage in neighbourhood groups and decide themselves how they will work and deliver value to the customer.

It’s now acknowledged that Agile extends beyond it’s beginnings.  It’s a buzz word in a world of buzz words.  However it’s important to fully understand the values behind Agile. It’s then you can see it’s extraordinary merit in bringing it into all industries.

Buurtzorg model. Design by ADAPTOVATE

 

So there you have it.  The 4 key themes on why you should deploy Agile beyond software.  The 4 themes of customer collaboration,  working software, respond to change and indiviualts matter, are at the root of why Agile is more important than ever.

 

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