strategy

CIOs are Turning Agile to Meet Demands for Innovation

CIOs are Turning Agile to Meet Demands for Innovation

Never before has the pace of change been so critical to a businesss success. With confidence in the economy continuing to grow, organisations and their CIOs have realised the need to shift their focus away from efficiencies and savings towards innovation. Put simply, a new approach is needed to manage and develop software, bringing the product to market faster is essential to avoid being beaten to the line by smaller more nimble competitors.

To address these challenges, CIOs are turning agile.

For many, agile is a commonly used methodology that progresses the development of products incrementally in short iterations. This approach allows for faster feedback to ensure CIOs can identify and make changes in order to respond to customer needs. In the competitive, ever-growing international business marketplace, adopting agile is key to staying one step ahead and ultimately succeeding.

Whilst it is clear that many businesses have come to see its value, with agile no longer hidden under the radar, some businesses are hitting a brick wall when it comes to implementation at scale due to being risk adverse, suffering lengthy planning and top down management.

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Ultimately for agile to work, it needs to be embraced across the business and by all levels.

So how can a CIO implement Agile working to best embrace this new pace of change?

Don’t underestimate the power of bringing people together. Empower the team to be self-steering and lead the change. A team of passionate players can be the face of change but may need external knowledge in order to help them succeed.

Pick a reason to change. At the core should be a reason to change that pulls on the hearts and minds of employees. Instead of increasing sales by x percent, a tangible reason, such as beating the competition, will align the team and encourage performance.

Coordinate. There is a tendency for IT departments to focus on the process, such as software innovation or infrastructure, as opposed to knowledge dissemination, change management and market responsiveness. For each element to work, Agile practices need to be adopted across the business.

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Evolve – remember it is all about the journey and not a destination. Those that have practised agile will be aware that the term finished is not one typically used in an agile team.

Instead projects tend to be ready and then will be continuously tweaked and tailored to meet new business requirements. Accept that many projects many never finish according to the initial plan.

With markets changing, what was a priority yesterday won’t be tomorrow and therefore if value is already achieved, yet the project not ‘finished’, the smarter solution maybe to stop or evolve in a different direction.

Succeed. Celebrate achievements and create value, not just a process. Remember that setbacks are seen not as failures or cause for blame, but as opportunities for learning and growth.

Look to the future. In order to develop more agile processes in future, CIOs also need to identify senior IT leaders that excel in strategic thinking and embrace the cultural shift in agile.

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