Granted that the agile process isn’t the only effective workflow management methodology out there today, but it certainly is worth understanding more; organizations should at least consider how it can affect the way they work and produce in this day and age. Especially today, when many companies struggle to operate in a highly dynamic market that is in many ways different from what was the status quo for many years, it is only prudent to look at the possibilities the agile process can bring about.
As we take another look at the effectivity and efficacy of the agile process, we aim to find out:
Before we go any further, it’s important to understand the basics of agile and the agile process. As the name implies, the agile process involves much more dynamism and much more flexibility as opposed to, let’s say, a fixed plan for a number of years. The agile process is much more reactive and is designed in such a way to be able to adapt to any changes at any time. In a nutshell, the agile process means that a company that uses it can respond very, very quickly (especially compared to organizations that use a more traditional approach) to any changes in client preference, or changes in market trends. Agile companies are also especially resilient against the onslaught of new competition, as they are able to respond quickly to new trends and incorporate them in their strategy going forward. Agile is truly forward-looking and is really future-proof. In a sense, it goes against the often-idolized grain that thinking in the long term is always the more prudent thing to do — which, while still a good idea to keep in mind, given today’s highly competitive, ever-changing, and dynamic market that is fueled by more discerning customers whose values are vastly different from earlier generations of consumers, it follows that companies also need to have the capability to adapt quickly and tread new paths in order to remain relevant and keep their share of the market. And that’s really where the agile process shines.
The agile process, by its nature, is also much more customizable, which is why many clients prefer working with companies that use the agile process. Why? Because clients’ needs and requirements often change, and working with a company with a more “stiffer” manner of doing things means that those changes cannot be accommodated, or won’t be accommodated any time soon. Traditional companies that use traditional methodologies offer standardized services and products; companies that use the agile process tend to offer much more customized services and products, thanks to a number of factors and elements that make up the agile process and the agile methodology, such as agile squads. So put yourself in a client’s shoes: would you rather work with an agile company or a business that used more traditional methodologies?
For employees, agile also means less of the top-down approach to management — employees are much more free to express their thoughts and exercise their creativity. This in turn often leads to a much stronger company loyalty that attracts top talent and helps the organization keep its talent while growing it (and the company) at the same time.
For customers, the agile process has a similar impact — there is much more focus on the customer, which is important in this day and age. Through the years, the consensus is that with the prevalence of the use of the internet and social media, customers’ voices are much louder and much more relevant. Happier customers generally mean stronger brand and company loyalty, and better business, which is why many companies now put a premium on customer feedback and customer data (as well as the capability to process it). The agile process gives companies much more leverage to incorporate any feedback so that customers get what they want at the soonest, most reasonable time without compromising the company’s quality of output, efficiency, or even its bottom line. In fact, many companies that use the agile process often see profits increase over time, according an article in the Harvard Business Review.
Why the agile process works, and works well
Agile is truly a pioneering approach, and one that has been the source of other derivative and similar methodologies and processes such as LEAN, waterfall, and scrum. These all have their own pros and cons (much more of the former), it all just depends on what your organization really needs. But these are all rooted in the agile process, and their success throughout industries and companies only prove not only why the agile process works, but also that the agile process works REALLY WELL. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the compelling reasons why many companies are adopting agile today.
Agile suits every company in every industry.
Regardless of size, agile can be adopted by any company. And it’s also not limited to a few industries — the applications of the agile process span all industries, and companies can adopt it in varying degrees. This versatility is part of the agile process’ very nature, which is why companies need not be limited in applying agile methodologies and principles where and when they see fit. This also means that every company in any industry is capable of growing through the agile process, which in turn means that the industry as a whole grows and develops as well. Customers also benefit from this, making everything a win-win scenario.
The quickness of the many agile processes ensures that there will always be something that suits a given company’s needs and requirements. Leaders and decision-makers are much more empowered and enabled to make informed decisions that can be put to action fast.
Naturally puts emphasis and importance on both customers and employees.
The versatile and dynamic nature of the agile process has a two-fold benefit, one for customers and another for employees. Customers enjoy much more prompt response towards feedback when the company in question is an agile one, making them much more motivated to continue supporting that company. The quick response to feedback and trends also serve to strengthen the ties between company and customer, making for not only increased brand loyalty, but also a much more energetic customer base that may very well serve as brand advocates as well.
For employees, the nature of the agile process often does away with many of the traditional forms of workplace and workflow management that are oftentimes a cause of frustration for many employees (regardless of industry). With an agile workflow management initiative in place, employees have much more room to be themselves (which is especially important for millennials, who are poised to soon take over the market and the workforce in a couple of years), and are thus more creative and more motivated to work. This leads not only to a boost in the quality of the output, but also helps encourage innovation and ingenuity, which in turn, helps the company move forward, progress, grow, and further succeed.
Better for costs, productivity, and efficiency.
For many companies, agile processes make for much more efficient and cost-effective operations. Why? Taking the flexibility of agile into account, this also means more flexible working hours and careers for employees. Not only does this make employees more satisfied, motivated, productive, and creative, it also means that employees spend less time and less resources to finish any given task or project. Especially with the right tools at the organization’s disposal, such as Runrun.it’s workflow management tools leadership and management can effectively still oversee operations, but can do so flexibly and even remotely, cutting down on operating costs (such as utilities and rent, supplies, etc.).
Why agile is here to stay
Before employing the agile process in the workplace, it is important to understand that getting things down pat will take some time. Successful agile process initiatives are supported by several things — factors every company and organization should take note of. Nevertheless, agile is here to stay, and here’s why:
1. It’s a fast-paced world out there.
Ask yourself, how different are customers today than, let’s say, a year ago? Two years ago? Three years ago? How about the market and the operating environment? Chances are, the differences are large and pronounced. Markets, operating environments, and customers are undergoing constant and rapid change all the time, and companies need to keep up with the pace. Agile processes respond to change faster, and through the agile process, organizations no longer see these changes as negatively disruptive, but an opportunity for them to leverage their expertise and skill and grow in the process.
2. Makes better managers and leaders, and fosters a culture of collaboration.
That statement in itself should be enough to see the value of an agile process. Since agile blurs the line between the traditional boss-employee relationship, managers are much more in-touch with issues rank-and-file employees face, and are also much more in the loop when it comes to oversight of projects and tasks. This closer relationship also fosters a working environment where openness, strong communication, and strong collaboration thrive. The more minds working together and in harmony towards fulfilling short term goals and the long term vision of the organization, there really is no way to go but up.
3. Innovation is a given.
Stronger collaboration and strong communication within an agile organization mean that innovation is a given. Since everyone is more in-touch with things and have a better, clearer understanding of things (especially since the agile process also listens to customers), it follows that good fresh ideas will surface. Customers will naturally respond positively to these changes and initiatives (in the form of products and services), continuing the cycle where new trends and new preferences drive the organization to continue to innovate, change, and evolve.
4. The technology is there.
Adopting agile is easy. With the right tools and solutions, an organization can truly make the most of what the agile process can offer. Efficiency, cost-effectiveness, stronger lines of communication between teams and individuals, real-time data generation — all these are essential to company operations, and all these and many others comprise the capability of platforms such as the one Runrun.it provides. All this information enables leaders and decision-makers in the company to be much more nimble, giving them the capability to make more informed decisions, empowering them to make solid and well-guided changes to strategy and whatnot. The highly customizable options Runrun.it’s platform provides is perfect for the agile process — to see how it can work for you, check out the free trial here.