Agile and its Value to Business

By IBF Posted 2yr(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes

In the current dynamic business environment, it is essential for organizations to drive innovation to deliver the most valuable products or services to improve customers’ engagement and satisfaction faster and more predictably.

Innovation is what agile is about.

Let's go in-depth to discover how agile can increase value in business.

What is Agile?

Agile is a set of values, principles and practices that allows you to easily adjust to clients' needs, foster employee engagement and promote innovation. 

The Agile process encourages iterative and incremental developments where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration among cross-functional teams. 

It also enables faster and more frequent adaptations to changing priorities by focusing on the most important activities which are determined by customer value and stakeholder influence.

How to use Agile?

Agile is most effective to implement when the problem is complex; or, when product requirements are susceptible to change, and close collaboration with end-users is necessary.  

With increasing volatility, complexity and ambiguity in the business landscape, not only does agile help your teams make better and faster decisions, it also allows you to bring your products and services to your clients faster while constantly adapting to meet their needs.

There are many agile processes and methodologies. The 4 most common agile processes include: 

1. Extreme Programming (XP) - which embodies the principles of communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect; 

2. Lean Development - which focuses on the continual elimination of waste; 

3. Kanban - which concentrates on reducing lead times and the amount of work in process; 

4. Scrum - which emphasizes creative and adaptive teamwork in solving complex problems.

How did Agile help Microsoft?

Prior to 2007, Microsoft was releasing Windows every 3 years with little feedback from their users. 

Both the clients and their staff would only see the implementation of updates in the next version of Windows (that's 3 years later!). 

After the implementation of agile, Microsoft started to collate feedback from more than 7 million Windows users and provided periodic updates to their users according to their needs. 

It was by implementing agile that Microsoft was able to understand the needs of their users, and created better user experience. 

However, user experience is not the only thing that Microsoft has improved. Morale of their staff has also increased as they were able to see their ideas being implemented within days or weeks instead of years.

You can read the full story of how Microsoft adopted agile from the link here.

Why are some managers adverse to Agile?

Managers who adopt traditional management approaches tend to have a command-and-control mindset in managing and measuring success. 

Using a top-down approach, managers are expected to have a clear overview and control of their team's progress, and teams often work towards goals set out from the top.

However, in a world that required continuous innovation to respond to globalization, deregulation, and new technology, and the market shifted in ways that are difficult to predict, the strengths of such hierarchical bureaucracy are no longer tenable.

In the horizontal world of agile, the work is performed by self-organizing teams and focused on meeting customer's needs. This approach not only improves customers' satisfaction but also increases employees' motivation.