Developing an agile culture could have the biggest impact on your companys long term success. The agility and flexibility that you need in todays environment cant be an afterthought anymore. It requires a dedicated and disciplined approach in how you run your company.
The term “agile” has been so overused that it might have lost some of its original meaning. What I’m referring to, is the agile methodology in project management, specifically, software development. The principles used in software development can (and should) be applied to every other part of the business, including HR.
Having an agile organization can help you complete projects faster, and can even help employee engagement.
Traditionally, software projects were done using what was referred to as the Waterfall methodology.
The waterfall methodology is sequential, meaning that each stage needs to be completed before moving on to the next step. Since it’s sequential, once a step has been completed, you can’t go back to a previous step, unless you decide to scratch the entire project and start over. Because there’s no going back, this methodology requires extensive planning at the beginning of the project.
While this may seem like a silly way to work, the two main advantages to waterfall are that clients (internal or external) know exactly what to expect, and because of its emphasis on planning and documentation, it has little impact if someone leaves the team.
The major disadvantage of the waterfall methodology is that it doesn’t take into account how real life works. It’s impossible to foresee everything you (or your client) will want in a project, requirements will constantly be changing, and you learn as you go.
The agile methodology came about as the answer to these problems. Instead of being a sequential process, it’s an iterative, incremental process. In software development, the work is done in bi-weekly or monthly sprints, and at the end of each sprint, project priorities are evaluated. These sprints allow for bugs to be discovered, and customer feedback to be incorporated before the next sprint starts.
The agile manifesto was created as a guide to outline the principles of agile software development. Again, while it’s originally used for software development, it can apply to almost any part of the business. It’s not so much a methodology as it is a mindset.