Agile is often used to refer to a set of practices and methodologies that a business adopts for its software development processes. In today’s digital environment Agile can be broadened to every aspect of the organization. This Business Agility gives any organization the strength to face and overcome not only technical disruptions, but also pandemic induced ones. Let us start by asking a question, “Where do you position your company in the next five years?”.
Today, we would laugh at this once quintessential question. We may not take it seriously. The pandemic has taught us that despite our advancements in technology the future can be uncertain. Yet, the vast research in data analysis and prediction systems need not be undermined. Though, right now, the disruptions are caused by the Coronavirus, a similar disruption can be caused by a war, or a policy change, or a sudden drift in customer expectations, or on a lighter vein, an alien attack as in Hollywood movies…These disruptions are beyond the scope of technology to predict, control and monitor.
Disruptions are of many kinds
Technology disruptions are usually brought by advancing technologies, new business models, or changing regulations. In the past year and a half, some technologies thrived, and some became obsolete. We came up with new business models to accommodate remote working. Governments and businesses relaxed some regulations to quickly respond to challenges. These changes haven’t been easy but essential. After more than 15 months of remote working we reviewed our systems to find what worked right and what need some tweaking.
For probably the first time in the century, the future of many businesses or enterprises is as unpredictable as it can be. Yet, tackling such enormous uncertainties and assuring a healthy business to our clients, employees, and all stakeholders is essential to keep going and cross the bridge over to the other side, a safer future. And, being agile and embracing agility is the key to help us get through that bridge is the same one that helped us wade through the previous year and half.
Agile was a sure shot idea for software companies to stay resilient during disruptions. Other sectors like retail, healthcare, logistics, etc, even before the pandemic, started embracing Agile in their organizations. The pandemic has forced almost all enterprises across domains to digitalize as far and as fast as they can. That was the only safe way to survive. In such conditions, Distributed Agile has emerged as the biggest contribution of software companies to other industry sectors.
Technology and tools
True, technology could neither stop nor control the pandemic effectively. We’re angry, but do not know whom we’re angry at. Still, the simple yet essential joys that offered us solace in unexpected ways in the past 18 months were possible only because of technology. Being able to see and talk to someone miles away when needed is a technology boon – something we take for granted today.
After the pandemic, companies quickly started using Agile tools like Jira, Trello, Azure, etc, and communication software like Teams, Zoom, Meet, etc. Adopting these tools and customizing these to our needs have been crucial to successful remote working. Our Scrum Masters also brainstormed and came up with creative ways to help our developers open up and give genuine feedback periodically.
Agile is not just a product development process; it’s a mindset
Agility doesn’t stop at being a software product development process. Websites and blogs on Agile might mislead you to believe that Agile is complicated and is all about tools, daily Scrum calls, etc. The basic principles of Agile, valuing people and work, reviewing and adapting processes, are often lost in the jargon. Even the Agile Manifesto is too concise. It does not elaborate the principles or explain how to apply them to various situations. Though the manifesto is not inappropriate and is based on great philosophies, as with any Agile outcome, the manifesto too should be reviewed and retouched, and adapted to our time and place.
Agile’s Daily Scrum, and other periodic review and planning meetings inculcate open communication. Sprint planning and Sprint retrospective force us to evolve with time. Backlog and Increments help us maintain the momentum needed to get work done. When we extend these systems to the entire organization and imbibe it as a truly Agile mindset, it will help us overcome even the disruptions that couldn’t be anticipated by advanced analytics, like the current pandemic. This mindset is what gives us the courage to dream and stay ambitious when we do not yet know how long the pandemic would last or how the next normal is going to be.
We, at coMakeIT, imbibed Agile internally to make it strong enough to respond to all kinds of disruptions – business, technology, and regulatory. Identifying it as a mindset helped us empathize with people going through health and other crises, review and align our goals, value both our employees and customers, and communicate our goals, plans, and intentions clearly to all the stakeholders. Therefore, we could tackle the pandemic disruptions efficiently. Unless we inculcate the Agile mindset, we and our businesses are not truly agile.
So, when are you going truly Agile?
Whether you’re a software startup planning to go truly Agile, or a non-software enterprise looking forward to adopt Agile as a part of your digitalization – You need not do everything on your own. Our more than a decade long experience in ‘Agile Transformation’ can help you in this journey.
Read more on the other dimensions of being truly Agile in the previous blog. Or talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org