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How Agility in Business Creates Agile Customers

Agility in business is as much about mindset and culture as it is about operational process. Agile principles encourage companies and customer to work together to create collaboration. Recognising that people over process is better able to efficiently respond to and anticipate change and this creates a leading edge for your business.

Harvard Business Review post Embracing Agile, gives a through explanation of how Agile really works.  The article credits agile innovation methods with revolutionising information technology success rates in software development, quality and speed to market and even boosting motivation and productivity in IT teams. Now the practice of Agile is adopted across industries and management levels “by taking people out of their functional silos and putting them in self-managed and customer-focused multidisciplinary teams, the agile approach is not only accelerating profitable growth but also helping to create a new generation of skilled general managers.”

Over-thinking decisions is the antithesis of agile, agile strives to prevent procrastination by recognising that only 20% of the effort in a project is productive, the remaining 80% is wasted. The agile methodology aims to teach teams to stay within the 20%. I will show you how this benefits your customers and helps them to buy more from you.

Companies that follow agile operations align all functions to work simultaneously on parts of a project with a flow of communication. The agile methodology is an alternative to the traditional waterfall project management model where projects are completed one department at a time. The purpose of Agile processes must create an environment with fewer inefficient meetings and less wasted time. For this specific process are used, such as, Iterations, Lean, XP, Scrum and the practice of continuous integration, tactics for successful in agile operations.

According to Agilemethodology.org, “Agile approaches help teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known as sprints.”

Let me explain sprints: Sprints gather the team in a small, standing huddle, to ensure meetings will be brief and concise, in a comparable way to walking meetings that foster collaboration. A project may have many sprints and Velocity is measured by the amount of work accomplished in each sprint, with each department committed to specific objectives within the project. A sprint is usually inflexible otherwise the project will not achieve its goal.

How Will Agile Innovation Benefit Your Customer?

Customers that have a better experience move more efficiently through their journey, customer experience is created by aligned people and processes, agile enables proactive feedback and efficient speed of change. Bottlenecks that are impeding progress are fixed and customers are managed efficiently because agile operations are aware of what’s working for their valued customers.

Agile allows companies to build a success journey for their customers that ensures the adoption in the most seamless effective and efficient way. Aligning operations to deliver the best experience for your customers.

The ability to observe and fix bottlenecks that blocks the customer journey is critical to maintaining and building happy customers. To improve operations in accordance with customers is an asset to any growth business.

Where Do You Start?

Here are two examples from Tori Funkhouser article in TechRepublic.com

  1. Maybe the members of your team don’t feel trusted or empowered to do what needs to be done to meet goals. Try creating a backlog of work to be completed during a sprint (try 2-4 weeks), and allowing the team to come up with the plan for accomplishing the work.
  2. Maybe your business can’t seem to understand how to give the customer the product he wants. Try delivering the smallest, most valuable thing as soon as possible to a small group of customers. Get feedback on it, improve the product, then repeat.

Agile is fundamentally a change in mindset first then a change in culture which will impact your organisational behaviours and business processes. Can you include agility in your company and culture to create people over process, so you can iterate and anticipate, maintaining flexibility and a focus on agile operations in your customer centric culture?

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