In today’s market, an organization must be able to evolve constantly and rapidly to keep up.
Customers want products immediately so they can begin using them; investors want constant innovation and development so as not to remain stagnant; and competitors don’t want to waste time and let other companies catch up.
Furthermore, the virtual world is quickly consuming the marketplace as businesses move increasingly (and even solely!) online. This shift to the online sphere means that companies must be able to stretch in multiple directions at any moment in order to collaborate with clients, vendors, and team members—all at the same time. This requires a type of multitasking that, until now, has not been fully realized.
So, how does your organization keep the balance? It’s simple: you go Agile.
Agile embraces dynamic motion and adaptation; unlike the rigid step-by-step approach of traditional management, Agile is built not only to keep up with rapid innovation but to overtake it. Not only that: agility is profitable. You make money sooner, reduce risk, and create better products!
Agile is always looking forward; so, in the spirit of Agile, let’s go over the 5 Trademarks of an Agile Organization:
1. Planning with a Common Goal
Throughout an Agile project, everyone is kept on the same page.
All targets are made clear, and resources are made easy to access. Information radiators—direct displays of data, like charts and graphs—are used to make roles, tasks, and progress obvious. Transparency is key; short, daily sprint meetings are held to keep everyone aware of what is being done.
To further avoid misunderstandings, everything in Agile is standardized—from the language, you use to the tools you employ—so that everyone is in harmony when it comes to the context, the materials, and the goals of a project.
An adaptive approach is emphasized: what matters most in Agile is the creation of value. Because of this, Agile is incredibly customer-focused, and the customer is involved in every step along the way–from the representative product owner to frequent requests for feedback.
When everyone on a team fully understands the goals they aim to achieve, teamwork improves and innovation flourishes.
The market remains under constant vigilance so that resources can be shifted according to its needs. Additionally, any opportunities that arise can be spotted early and seized immediately.
Agile teams are proactive; they aim to predict and pounce on any fluctuations in the market. Strategies can be altered as soon as the end of an iteration, so any challenges a team faces can be transformed into further openings for innovation. There are no roadblocks that can’t be overcome—only shortages in creativity!
2. Team-Based Architecture
Agile takes a step back from the machinelike, factory-based development structure of traditional project management.
Because Agile removes the roles of “leader” and “follower”, everyone is on the same level, and everyone can bring something to the table without fear.
Though there are no “higher” or “lower” positions, roles are still made clear—even if they shift according to need throughout the duration of the project. Whoever is the most knowledgeable about the relevant skill is the one currently guiding the team.
To replace the traditional hierarchy, everyone is made accountable for their own actions. Targets may be set, but the manner in which they are achieved is fluid; team members are empowered to self-organize and direct themselves in the way that best suits their work. This allows the team to feel true ownership over the project; it is by their own hands that it comes to fruition.
Agile is the best of both worlds when it comes to project management since it provides both a stable foundation and an adaptable structure. It’s also scalable—whether you have one team or hundreds, it’s built to sustain any type of project.
Additionally, Agile prides itself on optimized work environments. Agile uses modular work settings to allow teams to build workspaces that best represent the needs of their project. Not all projects need all tools—one project may benefit from the use of a task board, while another may be better suited to simplified charts and graphs. The team is empowered to rearrange resources—and furniture!—as they desire. Teams are also encouraged to work in the same space, as co-location improves information fidelity. By having short, in-person conversations, a team can eschew playing phone tag or falling victim to email misunderstandings.
3. Dynamic Actions and Cycles
Agile functions in short work cycles (called iterations) that allow for rapid delivery of value while still maintaining the flexibility to accommodate shifting priorities. Processes are always being analyzed and improved to further streamline operations. Because of these features, Agile is both adaptable and sustainable; an Agile project can run indefinitely, or it can end as soon as the client receives the desired product—both outcomes are equally attainable.
One of the key features of Agile is rapid decision-making. “Pretty sure” is better than “absolutely positive” when it gets you ahead. Decision paralysis can be the bane of projects, so it’s better to take action now than wait around for inspiration to strike. Furthermore, because Agile is built to accept and overcome challenges, even if the decision ends up being less than you hoped for, it can easily be accommodated for and fixed.
Experimentation and testing are baked-in to Agile and occur throughout the iteration. This allows teams to produce the best solutions and highest-quality products while still catching errors early and removing them before release.
4. Empowered Teams
Talent acquisition is becoming increasingly important as candidates with creative solutions and a penchant for learning are in high demand.
Innovation is crucial if you’re going to keep up with your competitors!
Because of this, Agile teams are to constantly seek out new information and learn new skills. The team is also encouraged to be cross-functional and rife with redundant skill sets. This allows the team to continue working, even if one member is unavailable.
In Agile, team members are trusted. They are allowed to set their own pace and achieve their targets in the way they see fit. Everyone knows themselves and how they work best, and Agile gives people the ability to prove it.
Companies are no longer meant to simply be machines churning out products, but living communities gathered to collaborate and excel.
In Agile, people are seen as human.
Instead of authoritative managers, Agile leaders act as inspiration and motivation to their team, aiming to uplift and support members by helping them achieve even greater heights. Empathy, passion, kindness (not to be mistaken for weakness!), planning, listening, and communication are all required skills for an Agile leader.
5. Embracing Tools and Technology
In Agile, the best tool is always selected for the job.
This does not mean the most expensive, the newest, or the most complicated: it simply means the one that makes the most sense.
This doesn’t mean that Agile avoids embracing new technologies, however—constant learning applies to everything in Agile, and that includes technological advancements. The cycle of obsolescence means that an organization must constantly adapt and change with the tide of new technology, and Agile’s flexibility only serves to help organizations better accept this.
Technology and development go hand in hand; Agile recommends the adoption of tools like cloud-based storage and online applications so that all team members can access what they need, whenever and wherever they need.
This interest in technology is especially keen on digital tools as the world becomes increasingly online.
Automation is also an area of interest when it comes to Agile, as it allows teams to test more, faster, and better, leading to higher quality products. The more you test a product, the better the outcome!
When it comes down to it, technology in Agile is approached in the same way as everything else: analyze the situation, improve your processes, and update your strategy accordingly.
So, what’s the answer to what separates Agile from other management frameworks? The 5 Trademarks of Agile Organizations, of course–boiling down to strategy, structure, process, teams, and tools!
Embrace the Agile way and unlock your team’s ability to consistently deliver value to your customers. Enroll your team in our online Agile certification today!