Companies are under increasing pressure to become more Agile in the present environment. Here we discuss four reasons why you should use these methodologies to thrive in a time of unprecedented opportunity.
What is the future of Agile companies? Is Scrum over? Is Kanban dead? Is Agile becoming less and less relevant? We have received questions like these from several of our customers.
In my own experience working with Agile methodologies for more than ten years, I think the absolute opposite — Agile is just taking off.
The origins of Agile
Agile saw its origin in software development with the Agile Manifesto of 2001 and has since spread to all types of industries, not just software.
The Agile movement spread around the world because it enabled early and continuous delivery of value, reduced risk, and impact of errors, as well as better alignment with customer needs, which are challenges that Waterfall had not been able to achieve.
Agile has continued to evolve. It started first as a better way to manage a single small team, then several teams, then many teams, and, lastly, as a better way to manage entire companies.
In the early years following the Agile Manifesto, the most prominent Agile methodology was Scrum, with its focus on small, self-organized teams, working in short cycles under the guidance of a Product Owner (customer representative) and a Scrum Master, a kind of team coach, who helps identify and remove impediments.
Their processes included daily meetings and retrospectives with customer feedback (or a PO) at the end of each short cycle.
With all this self-aggrandizement, it is not uncommon for managers and directors to frequently inquire and ask me why their company should remain or become Agile.
Why you should take the Agile path
1.If you are not Agile, you will disappear in the next few years
Companies that are competitors are already Agile. And if they are not, they are on their way to becoming so. Moreover, every day, hundreds of startups emerge capable of capturing business opportunities and disputing the market, as their agility allows them to adapt to each new market situation. Changes are continuous and uncertain in complex systems, and only those companies capable of adapting to them will survive.
If you are facing an urgent need for change and what you have already tried has not worked for you, this is probably one of the last chances to get on the right track. It may be too late, but there is no other option. If this is not your case, and you are in a good place right now, you should start sooner than later, since you don’t know what change the future may hold, so you’d better be prepared. The competition is already doing it.
Companies have to grow in a competitive and uncertain environment, which is very complicated. We can be more efficient, reduce costs thanks to operational Agility, improve quality, reach customers sooner, and improve ROI, extracting the maximum result from our products. Still, sooner or later, these products will reach the end of their lifecycle.
In all companies, we must continually seek new horizons where we can gain value from our customers. This value, known as revenue, is not free; the users are looking to receive value in return, likewise. What is value for the user? It is not easy to find, and once you do achieve it, keep in mind that value changes for the users over time, so you must be quick to figure it out. What worked before most certainly won’t work today. You have to reinvent yourself, look for new opportunities, and take advantage of them. It is an empirical process of trial and error, and we have to continuously increase the validated knowledge of our business models. Business Agility is what they call it, and it requires changing the culture of the company, as well as the mental state of the people.
3.Working in a place where people take pride in their work
Economic indicators are important, but if we want to be Agile, we have to focus on indicators that measure the value we bring to our customers and align them with the economic value they generate for us.
There are two types of motivators: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivators can go two ways: reward or punishment. If you do well, you will get a prize; if you do badly, you will be punished. In the short term, it works just fine, but in the long run, it ends up demotivating the team or becoming unsustainable over time.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is the purpose or goal. The new generations, from millennials and centennials, increasingly value working in companies where their work contributes to society or the world. Therefore, the point is to make software that helps people work better and change the world.
It is not the same to say that the client goes from ‘selling 10% more mortgages’ to ‘getting 10% more families to move into a new home’.
4. Make a positive impact on society
Agile companies today think more in ‘people’ mode, either as potential customers or because in some way, the company has or can have an impact on them. This takes the vision outside the company, towards society and the environment, that carries significant weight in the purpose and vision of organizations. The new generations increasingly take into account the values of the organization when choosing where and whom to collaborate with. This asymmetrical company-worker relationship is becoming more symmetrical, and the opinions of individuals are gaining influence in company strategies.
Agile companies with a clear purpose and strong social values will be able to attract the best talent.
The current environment is putting pressure on companies to become increasingly Agile. New forms of companies that are emerging have the distinctive traits we discussed in this article. Together, these traits enable organizations to balance stability and dynamism to thrive in a time of unprecedented opportunity.
The next and final question is, how do you get there? In a rapidly changing business and social environment, some organizations are born Agile, some achieve agility, and some become Agile because they have no other choice.
There is still time to initiate change in your company. Today is better than tomorrow, and transformation is achieved by working side by side with a company that has the experience and talent to help you along the way.
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