Why Agile Management Leads to Success
We are living in a fast moving, tech driven era – where new products can emerge overnight and displace those that have been under development for years. In this highly competitive global market, it’s becoming vital to employ a value driven approach to the development of a product or service of any kind.
“Agile” is a project management methodology that uses an iterative approach to fine tune a product or service over the course of its development. Iterative software development methods have been discussed and utilised since the 70’s but have recently become increasingly adopted throughout the tech industry due to developments in agile management software partly led by Australian tech giant Atlassian.
So why is Agile so different and why does it lead to success?
1. Agile is empathetic
Agile is about understanding your customer. You listen to what they have to say, and then, and only then, build something to fit their needs. First focusing on shaping the customer profile, “who is the person using this product or service?”,naturally leads to better understanding of the value that the intended product or service has to the customer.
‘The old’ management mindset focuses heavily on the technology and system requirements, and advancing the capacity of the product or service in a predetermined direction. It does not particularly consider who is using the system, or why they are doing so.
The Agile methodology prioritises incremental development and continual validation of the value of the product or service to the customer, over fast paced advancement of the product or service in the direction that was first perceived to be of most value. This value driven approach to management makes Agile very powerful.
2. Iteration, Iteration, Iteration
Traditionally, development of a product or service occurs very linearly. Something is designed based on a validated value offering, developed to specification, then packaged and released to market – Design, Develop, Package & Release. This methodology of course has the potential to create valuable products and services, however often a product or service is not adopted as expected, sometimes despite a great deal of prior validation.
Agile management suggests that it is more effective to become deeply involved in an incremental development process, analysing the project direction at each step with a higher degree of granularity based on customer feedback – Build, Release, Tweak, Repeat. This highly iterative process ensures that the product or service is always developing in the direction that has been identified as valuable to the end user.
3. Agile drives customer engagement
The importance Agile places on customer involvement does more than just drive valuable discoveries for the team about the value of their product or service; it builds an even more valuable relationship between the product or service and the customer. It takes time for customers to feel comfortable with a product or service and Agile’s focus on continually engaging users provides them with important opportunities to interact, understand and give feedback on the project.
As competition density increases across industries worldwide, the importance of businesses staying in touch with their customer’s expectations is becoming more and more apparent. We’re seeing the number of success stories about companies that prioritise engagement continue to grow alongside the adoption of Agile methodology, as well as simultaneously witnessing the collapse of many companies that seemingly struggle to adapt to changing market conditions.
With these outcomes repeatedly occurring globally, and large corporations like SONY successfully utilising the methodology, it is clear that Agile management offers many benefits with very few drawbacks. The focus on delivering value to customers that is continually evaluated seems vital in such a rapidly changing market, and the way that Agile makes this process beneficial to both the stakeholders and the end customer is what makes it so powerful.
Author: Hailey Romeo – Liberty IT Head of Marketing