We asked our Agile Coaches:
What are the benefits of Agile?
And they answered:
Looking at complex challenges and environments, agile working teams benefit from fast and regular customer feedback, short working iterations (with plan, do, check, act) to be highly flexible in reacting to unknown risks and creating valuable, useful product increments on a regular period.
Moving creating a valuable product for the customer back into the focus of the organization.
By doing so it makes issues in the organization visible, so they can be addressed.No organization exists in and out of itself.
Any organization is created and maintained to create value for its customer.
As organizations grows and ages this tends to become less of a focus.
In fact there is a certain tendency for organizations to be primarily preoccupied with themselves.
In contrast, an organization that successfully adapts agile will always strife to create more value for its customer and try to identify and remove any activity that is not serving this goal.
This will lead to better results and reduced overhead.
We can deliver more value with the same or even lower costs compared to alternative approaches - if, and only if, we are in a complex environment! If we can simply hire an expert who is able to make a feasible plan that will lead to an excellent result, this is probably what we should do. This might even be possible for very complicated problems. But not for complex ones - for these, we need true agility to succeed!
Framing it in an ideal agile (software development) process, the major advantage is continuous user feedback. Developers can test and learn through regular experiments if the implementation of their latest MVP is serving the users needs and whether it delivers value to them. Based on the user feedback it can be inspected what needs to be changed so that it can be adapted. Working in an agile mode makes totally sense, if it is a complex environment with ever changing aspects e.g. unforeseeable complications, unexpected pre-conditions or pre-requisites or wherever adjustments are necessary and welcome. It allows to change the “course” quickly and respond to change.
Let’s think of “Agile” in a broader way. Not just limited to scrum. We live in a world of uncertainty and constant change. Our business is evolving, technologies change quickly and Covid 19 turn way of living upside down.
Agile provides us tools to cope with these uncertainties. What is the next step for my business? How should I evolve my product? Maybe lean startup or design thinking might help you. How should I develop my next product? I want to make this process more effective. Scrum provides answers.The delivery needs to be more efficient. I need to ship a change within hours. Look at Kanban and Devops.
So there is family of frameworks and methods to help you with different questions. But they all share a set of principles. Iterate in small cycles, experiment, reflect and adopt. They all incorporate continuous learning and improvement. And they focus on trust and the collaboration of people.
Working in an Agile way is like playing Tetris or playing with Legos. You are given the general idea of a block you need to make, you make them and put them together as they're coming in. The benefit here is that you get to build small pieces and Agile itself forces you to think - will the next piece fit into what I'm building? How will what I'm building now fit with what I've already built? And what if the market changes overnight? Agile lends itself to a more broader way of thinking and enforces it. You have to be quick on your feet and smart with your choices - which benefits both you for the next block you're building, it benefits the customer and benefits whoever is going to continue work on the product after you. In a world of flexible programming languages, microservices that work independently of each other, cloud providers and in a world where the market/demand changes constantly, the benefits of such a way of thinking can be clearly seen. Everybody loves Legos.
Agility features the vision driven development as counter part to plan driven projects. It understands that a big upfront load via planning is waste of ressources. It implements, in a short time cycle feedback, as very important part of understanding and learning. Learning by releasing new product versions to market very often and listening to the users and customers to plan the next step. The vision of Agile is to satisfy customers. The customers creates with your product real value. Help them.
About #AgileSeven: We ask every month our Agile Coaches and will publish on the 7th each month their answers. Why 7? It is a magic number.