Organizational agility is more crucial than ever with the increasingly fast-paced and technology-enabled environment of today, so you may be asking yourself how to become more agile?
Well, for business agility, stretching and a healthier diet isn’t going to cut it.
Let’s look into what agile is and give you the information to allow you to answer the question: how to become more agile?
What is Agile?
Simply put, agile is a way of operating that enables an organization or business to acclimate quickly and flexibly to changes both internal or external, to get the competitive upper hand.
Agile allows you to have better visibility of your processes and thus assists you to identify and fix problems faster.
Business agility revolves around the implementation of the development of values, behaviors, and capabilities.
Agile, allows businesses to be more adaptive and resilient and adopt a more creative approach to dealing with complexity, uncertainty, and changes.
This approach of an agile business leads to improved well-being and better outcomes for the company and all involved.
So why should you learn how to become more agile?
Well, with the way the industry is developing and the unpredictability of the future, especially with the fast changes due to ever-evolving technology, there is a cloud of uncertainty about what our needs and requirements will be in the future.
As stated, businesses that adopt agile are better able to adapt quicker, which is helpful in this type of environment. Moreover, agile businesses can deliver outcomes in smaller packages more often, test the environment more frequently, and still remain customer focused.
The answer to how to become more agile?
With all the benefits of adopting an agile culture for your business, here are the top ways your business can become more agile today by adopting agile thinking and tools.
1. Implement a culture of collaboration
Communication and interactions of any form are vital for the success of your project. Becoming more agile requires the change in your organization of mindsets, behaviors, and sometimes even the workspaces.
Agile is about collaborating and thus requires a change from focusing on individual work and functional silos and rather attending to collective efforts to meet customer needs.
Implement agile activities such as their style of meetings to enable your organization to become more agile.
Meeting formats such as stand-ups and retrospectives are good tools to implement in your day to day activities to make the shift to a more agile culture.
Incorporating stand-up meetings are a great way of becoming more agile. A stand-up meeting should take place daily.
These meetings cover the questions:
- What an individual did yesterday
- What an individual did today
- What roadblocks were/are being faced
Stand-ups should ideally take place at the same time each day and also be short, around 13 minutes according to Nathalie Goh-Livorness.
Make sure that in the stand-up meetings, sometimes also referred to as “scrums”, the person who is speaking is given everyone’s full attention without being interrupted. You can achieve this by perhaps having some sort of speaking token, which could be anything from a wand to even just a simple pen.
Stand-up meetings are known as such, as the person who is speaking should literally stand up. This not only reiterates the importance of what they are saying but ensures that they keep what they have to say brief and to the point.
Another type of meeting commonly used in the agile process is retrospectives.
Unlike stand-ups, retrospectives should take place ideally at the end of the Sprint. A Sprint can be between one to four weeks of your development cycle and is made up of tasks or features your working towards in your project.
Retrospectives allow you to reflect and review the progress of your project and see where it currently stands.
Try to get answers to questions such as:
- What is going well in the project?
- What can be improved?
- Are there any roadblocks?
- Has anything changed from the last progress update?
- What’s next?
2. Set priorities
An important part of a successful agile business is careful prioritization. The process of shifting to an agile culture requires clear priorities.
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It is any project’s development cycle, that tasks on the team’s to-do list are completed just to be replaced with new ones whether from external or internal requirements.
It is therefore important to prioritize tasks from the forefront.
The M. S. C. W technique is an easy and effective way to sort through tasks highlighting those that require immediate attention.
Divide your tasks into:
- Must– tasks that must be included to deem the project a success
- Should– tasks that should be included in the overall project
- Could– tasks that could be included, provided there are ample resources and time to do so
- Won’t– tasks that are not required to be included according to stakeholders and clients
3. Hire for cultural fit
Agile culture is one of trust, innovation, and teamwork. Therefore, the people involved in allowing this agile culture to work are vital in being able to successfully transition to agile.
An agile way of working is not for everyone. Often times, employees are set in their ways and find the traditional methodologies easier and more comforting.
Ways you can help this transition into agile be smoother is through open communication. As mentioned, communication and collaboration are a big part of the agile culture.
Constant communication and reassurance not only allow for relations to grow but also encourages a growth mindset.
It is the natural way of the mind to feel insecure because of unfamiliarity and it is your job to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.
Moreover, becoming more agile can also be smoothed over by ensuring that recruits meet the correct mindset, to be able to be the right fit for the entire organization.
There are certain traits that you can look out for to hire for cultural fit. These characteristics flourish in agile workplaces:
- Adaptable Those individuals that feel at ease in roles that are not too strictly defined often strive in agile cultures. Having a personality that is easy to adapt allows for individuals to easily collaborate on tasks, and fit into a work environment of trust.
- Goal-driven Agile businesses work on the premise of tasks that can be achieved quickly, rather than long-term objectives. Therefore, meeting goals often means meeting short term goals more frequently. Therefore, goal-driven individuals will fit well in an agile working culture.
- Innovative individuals. Agile thinking is about innovative ideas. Agile tests ideas and responses to results quickly and efficiently. Thus, innovative individuals should fit right in.
By recruiting individuals that will flourish in an agile environment, you are setting your organization up for success.
4. Have clear objectives
The first step towards implementing agile working in your organization is setting clear-cut objectives in light of important issues.
It is important to keep in mind your overall goals for your company when setting objectives to ensure that they are in alignment.
Consider in detail why you are thinking of implementing agile working in your organization.
Here are some questions you can try asking to help you get there:
- What are you looking to achieve by adopting agile working?
- What benefits will agile bring to your organization?
- How do you intend to commit yourself and your team to agile working?
- What value can agile bring to your customers?
- How can you help employees to adapt to agile?
- How do agile match your organization’s objectives and values?
- How will you measure the results of this transition?
- How is going to lead the process of switching to agile?
5. Prepare for the unexpected
Although it sounds bizarre to plan for the unexpected and is pretty difficult to predict the unexpected, there are certain steps you can take to nurture an organizational culture to allow for easy and fast adaption when these events occur.
Leaders who plan and anticipate challenges will be those who are most likely to find them easier to deal with when those situations arise.
An agile organization ensures that it’s plan factors in unforeseen situations as well as how to deal with the unexpected.
This type of planning allows for an agile culture to be faster-paced when dealing with issues, both positive and negative.
If your business is to become more agile, you should be focusing more on team performance and outcomes rather than the processes that get you there. With ever-evolving technology, workers can operate flexibly and meet customer needs more efficiently.
Try to incorporate these tips into your organization to help you achieve this:
- Teach soft skills
- Encourage collaboration and teamwork
- Reap the benefits of already available services and support.
Any size of business can reap multiple rewards. By implementing agile working, especially in today’s dynamic and increasingly globalized world.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to make the transition all at once. Start small, and implement the tips we have mentioned, before you know it you will have built a faster and more efficient business through your adoption of an agile culture.
At its core, “becoming more agile” means expecting, managing, and embracing change. Agile is not just a methodology but also a mindset.
Any business is bound to experience change, agile provides a method for embracing change rather than resisting it.
Agile creates a positive working environment and culture through managing change, empowering teams, and navigating uncertainty.
We wish you luck with your agile journey!