The idea of agile development started with software, but the values it describes — valuing individuals and interactions, customers’ collaboration and responding to change — are all ideas that can improve every department in your business. “Agile is the ultimate bureaucracy buster — and it’s already been proven in the software space,” writes Joe McKendrick for zdnet.com. “Agile is a philosophy, a practice, that can benefit the entire business.”
Agile as a full-business strategy means deploying products, measuring, optimizing and reacting in far shorter amounts of time, Jeff Gothelf writes for the Harvard Business Review. “Decisions are made quickly. Directions shift overnight,” Gothelpf writes. “To support this rapid, iterative optimization of our business, the internal organizations that staff, fund, manage and reward our people need to exhibit that same level of agility. “The way we’ve always done it’ starts to put the management tier in direct conflict with the potential of the execution teams.”
For example, agile could transform human resources. “ (Now), recruiters will ’tick off all the boxes’ when selecting new job candidates,” McKendrick writes. “Instead, HR teams need to start hiring for creativity, collaboration and curiosity, requiring new hiring practices and rethinking the entire process.”
Using an agile philosophy can also help companies achieve transparency when it comes to developing and executing their strategic plans, Margo Visitacion and Gordon Barnett write for Computer Weekly. “By integrating strategic planning into execution with automation and feedback loops, companies can build greater agility into gauging the impact of their investments, such as how agile development teams perform,” they write.
Then, they can move toward using what Visitacion and Barnett call “continuous portfolio-based planning” rather than annual project budgeting. “Taking this approach brings greater value over time, enabling organizations to evaluate demand and align work with business value while remaining time-sensitive to allocate resources effectively,” they write.
Drew Hendricks writes for forbes.com that agile can be a challenge for larger businesses, but they can take the best of this mentality and balance it with existing practices and policies. “As the idea of a start-up and the ’test and learn’ approach to innovation will meet large company culture and process — it’ll all change,” Hendricks writes. “There isn’t any doubt that large companies might learn a lot — yet they’re refined and mature entities existing for a certain purpose. Creating the proper combination within the unique culture of the companies is challenging and not reflected within the majority of the commentary that is made from the outside.”