As long-standing practitioners of Agile project management, we believe it can be the default methodology for the working world as companies’ sizes become more digital and remote. No matter what sector you operate in or the size of your company, agile facilitates the type of open and flexible project management required by today’s ever-changing world without compromising on results.
For those making the transition to incorporate Agile practices in their operations, here are the 5 most important aspects to consider.
- Who’s the boss?
Does it really matter when it comes to Agile working? No, as the method aims to flatten the hierarchical structure within a company, as precise and constructive communication is required. The endless chains of mails with a longlist of CC’s and BCC’s included will no longer be tolerated since direct communication is strongly recommended. Thus, shortcutting the bottom-up approval to top-down confirmation chain, allowing teams to get to work faster. In this efficient scenario, project managers are seen as communication coach/shepherd, watching the game and giving pointers if needed.
- State of mind and correct tools
In the words of Agile Academy founder Matthew Cain, “Agile is about learning and improving how we work; not only what we do but how we work.” The biggest difference with the traditional mindset is the constant flow of deliverables, feedback, and the willingness to adapt at any moment while keeping the work quality on a high level. This requires a team of dedicated workers who bring out the best competences in each other. Combine this with the right communication and project management tools such as Slack, Assembla, Teams and many others and you’re off to a great start.
- Trust and responsibility
Most companies using Agile methodologies do not require a traditional call the shots boss as autonomous teams work on their tickets and troubleshoot miscommunications with assigned project managers. The performance levels are carefully tested through sprints, which motivate in a completely different way to strict deadlines. Sprints give teams more flexibility to anticipate possible bugs and correct within the timeframe calculated beforehand by the project managers. In case of a mismatch in the results, responsibility will be acknowledged by the team and the necessary constructive feedback from ‘higher up’ will be given. This emphasizes once again how important it is to have competent and disciplined employers who fit the Agile profile.
- Daily stand ups
It goes without saying that after learning all the tips and tricks for Agile working, you won't be left to your own devices. Every day you will have a stand up with your team: a 10 to 15 min meeting to walk through the tasks done the day before, the planning for the current day and prioritization of important questions. If needed, the meeting will be prolonged in order to guarantee clear sailing for planned operations. This allows everybody to stay up to date and to keep track of how efficient everybody is working.
- It takes time
It’s important to take into account that the processes that are put in place to move towards an Agile company requires a transformative strategy across all levels, from structure to people, process and technology. How long will it take for your company to be fully Agile? Anything from 2 weeks to a couple years, depending on factors such as the size of your company, the present structures and the sector. McKinsey provide a good mapping on the multifaceted strategies required in their article The Journey To An Agile Organization.