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Want to go agile? Make sure your team is prepared.

Posted by Benedict Stewart on Dec 6, 2018 11:40:29 AM
Benedict Stewart

photo-1492632833879-ffead221b059The most innovative business teams are going agile. How can your team join the movement?

Up until recently, the agile methodology was a project management tool reserved exclusively for software teams. That’s because the original Agile Manifesto was designed by techies, for techies. Now business and strategy teams are adopting agile, and it’s taking off.

So what is agile? It’s best described as a philosophy underpinned by 12 core principles. The principles are designed to drive high quality results for the customer. In today’s world if you can’t solve a problem fast enough then the customer will pay someone who can. It’s as simple as that. Going agile enables your team to adapt, pivot and react fast enough to satisfy the customer.

Sound like yet more “management speak”? I thought the same not so long ago, but during my time as Head of Product at Dacreed I’ve seen the enormous value that agile brings to the table. Agile isn’t just another management theory. It’s a mindset that keeps the customer in focus. There’s no prescribed rule book on going agile. It’s what you make it. Here’s a few simple things you can do to get started.
 
Work with people who know stuff that you don't

The agile founders strongly believe that business people and developers should work together. It makes sense to work with people who know things that you don’t because it helps you find a solution for your customer faster. And that’s what it’s all about, which leads me to my next point… 

Relentlessly satisfy the customer

I don’t mean to say that the customer is always right. Sometimes the customer is wrong, and that’s okay. Agile isn’t about blindly saying yes to whatever your customer desires. It’s about talking to your customer, listening to your customer, and continuously improving your product in ways that make sense. If you get that process right, you’ll satisfy the customer. Intercom is a great messenger tool that will help you stay connected with your customer. 

Embrace changing requirements

It’s a great thing if a customer has changing requirements. It means they are engaging with your product and want it to become even better. Knowledge is power. Use it to build a better product, even if it means throwing something out and starting again. 

Release improvements frequently

Release improvements for the customer as often as possible. That means breaking up larger projects into smaller chunks. Say you’re redesigning your platform’s dashboard: start with something simple like the logo and release it straight away. Then redesign the navigation bar. Release. Then redesign the settings page. Release. And so on. The best teams release fast and release often. Use Trello or Jira to assign tasks, collaborate, and track your team’s projects from start to finish.

Simplify - over and over again

Simplicity is the art of maximising the amount of work you don’t need to do. I’m always asking myself and our developers whether we actually need a feature or if there’s another way to do it. Don’t be afraid to throw out existing work or features if it makes your product cleaner and simpler for the customer overall. 

Trust your team to get the job done

Lee Lacocca put it well when he said “I hire smart people and then get out of their way”. Agile is all about telling your team what the business needs, rather than what to do. Give your team the tools they need and then trust them to get it right. Dacreed has built a platform that helps your team to learn, up skill and perform well on the job. It’s an easily customisable system that allows you to prepare real-time content updates to ensure your team is up-to-date with all they need to know for a particular project or job.


Agile is a journey, not a rule book, so have fun with it. Experiment with what works best for you and your team. Once you start the journey, you’ll never look back.

 

Topics: Business Management