Agile Business: Agility also in business processes

Agile Business: Agility also in business processes

How business meets agility in such a fast world when change is the new status quo? Here you are about to learn how and make the connections between business and agile principles.

Hi, this is my very first article here on the blog and I will start talking about a considerably complex matter: How to transform the business into an agile business?

This transformation, which goes beyond the accomplishment of all the suggested rites by agile methodologies, should start in a way that the business prioritizes the opinions of clients, employees, and the market.

This article intends to analyze all the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto and to understand them through the business point of view.

Being agile as the Agile Manifesto states

Many people have already heard or read about the Agile Manifesto but, it is worth remembering what it is about: it is a philosophical statement of values, principles, behaviors, and cultures, essentials for software development. 17 professionals who, in some way, had already worked with agile methodologies elaborated it in 2001. The manifest comprises 4 values and 12 principles.

Its values, in a very simplistic view, address less bureaucracy, collaboration, and our ability to respond to changes. On the other hand, its principles are a little more complex to summarize, so I claim for poetic license, as I will transform the interpretation of these principles for the business world:

#1 Customer satisfaction

Any business will be much more successful if it puts the customer at the center of its decisions. All departments should consider the decisions from the perspective of customer satisfaction. Think about how the processes can be simplified if the customer is always at the center.

#2 Be prepared for changes

A profitable business needs to be solid. However, it is necessary to be prepared to accept the constant changes in the market. The secret is to align the contingency plans with the short and medium-term strategy and review if the results are being achieved or not. It will give a realistic view of the long-term. The contingency plans will support surpassing the crisis and help when things change abruptly.

#3 Have a good delivery frequency

The time between order and delivery has to be constant. The production chain has to be prepared to replenish inventory and meet the sales projection for the month. It is frustrating when the sales department closes a large contract, but there is no inventory available. The same goes for services, imagine the end customer’s frustration at not receiving the contracted service on time.

#4 Integration between departments

The departments of a company must not act as enemies. There may even be a certain competition between them, but everyone must work together to achieve the best results for the company. When one department works to deconstruct another one, the entire company falls silently.

#5 Motivated employees

For the business to be competitive and profitable, it must have motivated, engaged, creative, and productive professionals. All of these characteristics are influenced by the company’s culture, climate, and environment. The business must provide a healthy environment for the employees. They need full support and have the right tools available to be motivated while doing their jobs.

#6 Effective communication

Teamwork, motivation, and full engagement of teams depend on clear communication and transparency. Avoid gossip. Be clear and transparent in the decisions and the business objectives. Encourage clear communication and transparency on all relationships that the company engages, whether internal (employees) or external (with customers and partners).

#7 Working software

Any business depends on some software or a computerized system, whether operational or managerial. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that the software is fully operational. A day without any application, however important it may be, can be disastrous for the business, its reputation, and the way customers, partners, and competitors evaluate its effectiveness.

#8 Sustainable growth

The agile culture promotes sustainable growth. The business strategy must be based on observations, experiments, and planning. The “plan-test-execute-validate” cycle must occur often. Everyone needs to see the big picture and act accordingly. Creativity must be stimulated, all ideas must be evaluated. Growth needs to have pace even when results suddenly leverage, remember the “plan-test-execute-validate” cycle.

#9 Attention to excellence

Every company must pay attention to excellence, not only in technical quality but also in the organization of processes. However, excellence, which means superior quality, should not be confused with bureaucracy. For this, the processes must be well defined and understood by everyone who works on them. The quality of the product and its logistics must be prioritized as they generate greater customer satisfaction.

#10 Simplicity

The business must operate with simplicity. Stop doing non-essential things and put effort into what satisfies the customer and employees, and generates profit.

#11 Self-organizing teams

The best results emerge from teams with the ability to self-organize. The teams must be aware of what needs to be done to satisfy customers and generate profit. If it is necessary to often remind them of the daily tasks and agreed rules, then the team is not prepared enough to offer high performance.

#12 Think about results and behaviors

Often, encourage all departments to ponder the results achieved and the methods used. Do not be afraid to try new behaviors and methods. Never expect different results by doing things in the very same way.

Summing up for those in a hurry

Agile Business means to incorporate the values, principles, culture, and behaviors suggested by the Agile Manifesto in the business core activity and supporting the departments of the company. To be agile is to promote self-organization, creativity, and continuous improvement and reflection.

Business agility is also about reducing the bureaucracy of processes, encouraging creativity without fear of making mistakes, making clear communication, monitoring internal and external risks, preparing contingency plans, and knowing the right time to put them in place. Finally, it is possible to extract great insights from the agile manifesto for day-to-day activities.

If you wish to learn more about Agile Manifesto, the full version is available here: https://agilemanifesto.org/

CINQ can also help you with your Digital Transformation. Bye, see you next time!

 

Marcelo Furlan | Product Owner