Tips for Adopting Agile Approaches

Agile approaches help teams deliver value faster. Here’s how companies can adjust and start adopting agile ways of working.

Agile approaches are not new, but some companies still don’t seem to get them right. Agile ways of working helps teams deliver value faster in small, consumable increments. Agile demands that project leaders, team members and their organizations be flexible and adaptable to change.  

Being agile is a mindset, and organizations that are agile embrace change and take a customer-centric view. Here are insights project professionals shared from some of our podcasts and interviews

Make the agile framework a part of company culture.

Weaving agile ways of working into a company’s culture can help an organization be responsive to change. Organizations that introduce agility may have higher customer satisfaction, a focus on people, faster execution and higher-quality deliveries, according to Anne Cherouny, an organizational change management leader at Boeing, who spoke with Projectified®

“I’ve experienced organizations that have done agility well. It has taken a long time, and it looks natural. It’s organic. They use similar terms, talk about the work in the same way and approach work in a similar way. An agile organization is able to adapt and respond quickly to unpredictable changes in circumstances that could occur inside or outside of the organization, which affects them or disrupts them in various ways.” 

Agile teams have a change-ready mindset.

Organizations should find the ‘why’ behind their agile implementation, and after that ensure there is buy-in for new ways of working explained Amol Pradhan, chief transformation officer for services integration hub cloud advisory and enterprise agility at IBM. 

“We have heard many times about the growth mindset, and for me, it’s all about how we can better manage resistance to change. Because the change agents’ job starts with resistance to change. Some people are always leapers — they’re ready to start early. Some just follow the crowd, which is the majority. And another type is more about laggards who do not want to change unless they really see the benefits. My experience here is that there is no harm in trying, let’s say for 12 weeks or so, and if it does no harm, let’s just stick with the new ways of working and get rid of the old, traditional habits that slow everything down.” 

Implementing agile processes and evolving them.

The use of agile approaches is ever evolving, and sometimes organizations need to shift their methods. Tweaking agile approaches has its benefits, explained Maria Virtudes Briz, head of product development at Telefonica. 

“Our use of agile has evolved in two main ways. First, using agile values of collaboration and communication, we work with simpler, low-definition prototypes to validate the product. This allows for a fail-safe and fast achievement of the agreement between teams on the scope of a minimum viable product. We’re also using more data to understand our customers’ behaviors and how they changed. Anonymized and aggregated data about our customers’ usage lets us improve their journey in our service. The benefits of these shifts are significant. Now the teams are involved in earlier stages of the product life cycle, such as conceptualization and detailed design, allowing them to identify opportunities, risks and/or propose efficient ways to solve business needs.” 

Agile approaches are the future of working.

Project leaders and teams are shifting toward agile ways of working to adopt and mitigate risks. Embracing agile approaches and focusing on building out other essential skills like people skills, or power skills, is essential, too, according to Darryl Isip, PMP, former director of digitalization at Credit Suisse, now with Julius Baer in Zurich, Switzerland. 

“Less focus needs to be on the traditional triple constraints, the predictive approach of scope, time and cost. Instead, project leaders need to adapt to a more agile approach of prioritizing the scope against a fixed resource capacity within time-boxed sprints. There is also always the need for project leaders to further increase technical knowledge and skills, especially for software development projects. It’s also essential for project leaders to further embrace people skills such as improving emotional intelligence and empathy,” said Isip. 

Teams functioning with agility are better equipped to respond to change and adapt to ways of working that deliver greater value. 


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