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How do you implement agility in your company?

How do you implement agility in your company?

Author: Constantin Magdalina, Emerging Trends and Technologies Expert

                                            

More than 5 years ago I started talking about digitization and its necessity. The subject was somewhat exotic for a business environment dealing with the controversial VAT split.

The pandemic had to come for many business leaders to understand its urgency and accelerate the process of digitization in companies.

The need for digitization has not disappeared, only it is now complementary to agility, ie the iterative approach of project management and the development of technical solutions that help teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches.

Building an agile company is not always easy. The benefits are innumerable, as are the challenges to be solved on the road to this transformation.

That is why the recommendations for the operationalization of agility at the company level are very important and in this sense I name the main 8 such recommendations as follows

1. Ensure transparency

Work efficiently and clearly by articulating vision and values, MVPs, and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). The same is true for communication in MS Teams, Jira, etc. Transparency means more than sharing information: it means being responsible in collaboration, for a common understanding of the context, objectives, and tasks.

2. Works in iterative cycles

When it comes to iterations, it's all about cycles. It doesn't matter what framework you use. As long as the team has measured its performance, it will continuously improve, it will add value to colleagues in the organization, customers, stakeholders, and consumers.

3. Use time boxing

This is a quick way to learn how to focus and make the most of a certain amount of time. The method involves defining time intervals for each segment of a meeting. However, there is no need for extreme rigor, but always be aware that time is an essential and limited resource.

4. Count on the MVP

The concept of a minimum viable product (MVP) is often misunderstood. This is not a buggy prototype and has no unstable beta. The idea of an MVP is to find the first working solution to the main problem of the user of a product.

The scope will be reduced to the level where the product brings sufficient quality to the customer while limiting the risks and reducing the time to market.

You must learn about MVP as soon as possible. The process of creating and developing an MVP is comparable to that used by a painter. He starts with studies and sketches and, over time, the painting he is working on becomes a Mona Lisa.

5. Consider the principles of volunteering

It seems obvious that people like to work on issues when they are in line with their interests and strengths. To the extent that it makes sense, it is useful to divide the teamwork according to the interests and strengths of each member.

Of course, you are left with two challenges: on the one hand, a colleague may have too much work to do because he has key skills, on the other hand, there are always things to do that no one likes, but that need to be done. The goal is to find the right balance between "I want to do it" and "let's get it done."

6. Create multifunctional teams

A complex world needs teams that can tackle multiple roles. A project involves different skills and abilities to build and improve a product.

A team should have as many skills as necessary to act with relative autonomy to meet the requirements of a customer or user.

When a product has too many features to be managed by a single team, it is "split" between teams. Communication within and between teams is the key to building large delivery groups.

7. Maintain the cycle of action and reflection

The generic model of the agile way of working is defined by alternating the phases of concentrated action: "Plan and execute" and of relaxed reflection: "Check and Update". This creates a learning organization.

To do this you need to set up a retrospective review session in your team's calendar and take the time to think about what can be done better.

8. Relevant practical aspects

Until the implementation of agility in the company, the agile approach means a steep learning curve. There is new terminology to learn that may be counter-intuitive at first. That's why without experienced agile practitioners, projects can fail. With an agile approach, teams succeed if they:

Focus on flow efficiency, not capacity utilization. A common practice is to use a Kanban panel in which teams map their process from start to finish. One of the best ways to optimize your workflow is to get involved in a process called "swarming".

This means that whenever someone on the team completes a task they have been working on, they "swarm" around the Kanban panel and help their colleagues instead of immediately starting a new task. "Swarming" creates a collaborative environment within the team and focuses on optimizing the overall process instead of just making individual improvements.

Ensures implementation of workflow constraints. Limiting work processes helps to correlate the team's capacity with the actual number of work items that need to be completed at a given time. This approach helps to improve workflow, reduce multitasking, and increases the team’s productivity.

Integrates fast feedback loops. Agile deployment teams need to ensure that they have set up a process in which they can continuously synchronize the results of their work with clients in order to get their constant feedback. This will allow them to adjust the direction of the development of a product or service in a timely manner and to better meet customer expectations.

Decentralizes the decision-making process. This process gives more power to the teams that are, in reality, the closest to the technical details of the project. Of course, this does not mean "allowing everyone to do what they want." Instead, it means working collaboratively with members of those teams, actively listening to their opinions, and allowing them to make decisions about how best to perform their tasks.

About Constantin Magdalina

Constantin Magdalina has 15 years of working experience, while he performed in multinationals both in Romania and abroad. Constantin has a Master’s degree in Marketing and Business Communication from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. He is certified in Lean Six Sigma and ITIL (IT Information Library®) which provide him a good understanding of processes and transformations within organizations. The Chartered Institute of Marketing certification further complemented his expertise and knowledge in business. In his over 4 years of working activity in a Big4 company, he initiated and conducted studies that analyzed different aspects related to the business environment in Romania. He is the author of numerous articles on topics related to innovation, the efficiency of business processes, social media, the consumers’ buying experience in the age of digital, trends, and emergent technologies. He is invited as a speaker at numerous events and business conferences.

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CONSTANTIN MAGDALINA