Are you looking to improve business management as well as decrease waste and spending at your company? If so, you’ll want to learn more about agile methodology and the various aspects surrounding this business idea. Agile methodology was first employed by the software industry and has now become more popular across the corporate world.
Agile methodologies are based on greater communication, completing repetitive tasks, and collaborating closely between team members, supervisors, and customers. Below we outline different types of agile methodologies and the essential meaning behind this concept.
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What is Agile Methodology?
Agile methodology involves gradual planning on an ongoing basis as well as greater flexibility instead of creating five-year plans for major projects. Essentially, the company is expected to constantly adapt to new changes and customer or stakeholder feedback on a regular basis.
This process is very similar to lean methodology, which also focuses on using consumer input and making incremental improvements over time instead of creating a long-term business plan. For example, lean methodology for software companies involves developing small-scale models that can be quickly changed based on stakeholder and client feedback. The best part of lean and agile methodologies is its ability to reduce waste in terms of manufacturing or product development.
Agile Factors: Collaboration and Communication
Some key factors for agile methodology include collaborating with clients and investors and communicating effectively between teams and developers. Fostering greater collaboration and communication will help your company keep everyday tasks aligned with business goals and help you achieve real-world necessities based on customer needs.
Take a look at the way your teams and supervisors communicate in order to develop training lessons to help your staff collaborate more effectively and boost their speaking skills. In addition, you can add project management systems and instant messaging tools to help your company more quickly and easily communicate about daily tasks and projects.
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Continual Planning is Vital
According to Smart Insights, repetitive and continual planning of business goals and requirements is imperative for agile methodologies. This means your company will constantly have to adapt to ongoing changes in your industry especially any new product requirements.
Based on user feedback and any changing market conditions, you’ll be able to change and evolve your company’s products and services on a regular basis. In fact, this type of repetitive and continual planning will help you end taking part in activities that are not producing as much profit and invest your time and money in more important areas of development.
Providing More Lightweight Deliverables
Agile methodologies also include developing and providing small-scale, lightweight deliverables. This can be done by adopting approaches in which projects are completed in short stages called ‘sprints.’ For instance, a small-scale model can be developed in two weeks in order to quickly get some feedback from users or stakeholders. This will reduce waste both in time and money as well as give your company greater control over spending.
Another way to deliver more small scale and lightweight projects is to utilize a task list with the most important tasks prioritized and delivered first while also quickly defining issues and resolving everything early on.
Prioritizing and Estimating Business Tasks
Another important role of agile methodology involves breaking down your requirements for work and business management into specific tasks and prioritizing which business projects need to be completed first. Planning and estimating the time necessary to complete certain tasks will be important. This process will help you keep your team members on task and assist in managing the completion of daily activities.
By considering your business objectives, you will need to prioritize your tasks based on the value you put on certain projects. You will also need to review your list of tasks on a regular basis to ensure your priorities are in order. This means you will be able to have an up-to-date list of tasks that will constantly align with user feedback.
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Incorporate Customer Stories or Feedback
You can boost the benefit or value your work provides by aligning customer stories or feedback with the tasks accomplished by your team. This entails looking at the typical end user and figuring out what they want to achieve and what their motivation is. By defining their needs or motivation, you will be able to ensure all project stakeholders know what is expected of their final project. This may include drafting blog posts or case studies while relying on a successful user story, according to Smart Insights.
Structuring a Team and Assigning Roles
Another important part of agile features involves structuring teams that can deliver as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means limiting the size of teams to three to six people, which can keep your staff better focused.
There are also specific roles that should be assigned to individual employees in order to have a more streamlined team. There are a variety of important roles to include. Essentially, you can focus on the strengths of each team member to assign them specific tasks. Those who need assistance can work with people taking on more of a leadership role. One example is the role of the master of the team.
The master role involves optimizing the performance of your team in the case of sprint-based projects. This role works with stakeholders to make sure the team is supported and all obstacles are overcome. Below we outline more information regarding the values that agile organizations encompass.
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What are Agile Organizations?
Agile organizations include a system of teams in which rapid learning and quick decisions are made in a people-centered environment with a focus on utilizing technology to assist project management, according to McKinsey & Company. There are five specific trademarks of agile organizations outlined by McKinsey & Company.
The first trademark includes creating value for customers and investors. As such, this means agile organizations are very customer-focused and attempt to meet the needs of various individuals instead of solely the average end user. Essentially, by focusing on creating value, companies are working to meet the needs of employees, stakeholders, partners, and local communities.
The second trademark involves creating a flexible network of teams with a leader running things from the top. This enables employees to have greater freedom while the leader can continue to coordinate work efforts. This also requires fostering collaboration and communication as well as developing accountability and transparency.
Within the third trademark, agile organizations implement learning cycles and rapid decision-making. This means that the model or scale of a product is rethought every step of the way at every level of development.
For example, a company can begin to review various work processes among a team every quarter instead of an annual basis. This means companies can experiment more as well. Businesses are more likely to complete small-scale projects in two-week time frames or ‘sprints.’ Many teams have daily check-ins to see what progress is being made and to solve any potential problems. Afterward, project development is reviewed, planned, and goals are set for the next two-week sprint.
The fourth trademark included among agile organizations incorporates a people-centric model that empowers employees and fosters passion. Essentially, everyone in the organization becomes more engaged and works more collaboratively when this sort of people-centric model is employed. Additionally, greater value is created for the clients within this type of work culture.
In order to create a people-centric model that empowers employees, it is vital to invest in strong and effective leadership that creates a more passionate community and leads to vital skill building among teams. Essentially, the leaders in an agile organization will need to be visionaries and coaches that can help developers boost efficiency and surpass user expectations.
The last trademark of agile organizations considers employing the right technologies such as next generation enabling technology. This means rethinking the type of technologies used for specific work processes and potentially implementing new project management systems that improve the speed at which tasks are completed.
Operating processes and technologies will need to meet changing customer demands and may need to be digitally-enabled for your product development teams. New innovations will need to be incorporated such as cloud-based storage and micro-service architecture.
Essentially, an agile organization will need to employ next-generation technology development and delivery practices among their business goals. For example, automated testing and deployment could greatly benefit software development.
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How Project Management Technology Could Help You Adopt Agile Frameworks
When looking for ways to incorporate agile methodologies in your day-to-day business strategies, you will greatly benefit from implementing effective project management technology platforms such as Runrun.it.
This platform includes the right tools and dashboards to help you better communicate and collaborate with your team as you continually plan and complete projects in a two-week time frame. The task and workflow management system available through Runrun.it allows you to use dashboards to make work processes run more quickly and effectively. This is a necessary part of creating a successful agile organization.
Additionally, this project management system includes time tracking tools that enable automated time sheet production and allows team members to more effectively manage their time in order to meet deadlines and finish all relevant projects. This will also allow supervisors to better manage their team and make any necessary changes, which are common occurrences within both lean methodology and agile methodology.
This tool will become a necessity that any team in an agile organization will want to employ. To see whether this project management system is right for you, click here for a free trial.