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Why Should The Digital World Adopt A New Agile Perspective?

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By Author: Diya Jones
Total Articles: 101
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The paradigm of Agile has come about as businesses aimed at increasing revenue, lowering the cost of operations, and enhancing the customer experience. The three objectives are attainable provided the glitches in the software are removed or minimized, product lifecycle shortened, and the time to market accelerated. Agile has brought in its wake some clear and well defined business outcomes such as:
• Improving quality and transparency
• Building brand equity
• Building and delivering value for the customer
• Ability to leverage new technologies
• Lowering costs

However, notwithstanding the initiatives of companies in going the Agile way, they often end up falling short of achieving the business objectives.
The reasons can be many such as various units working in silos and not looking at the macro picture, department-wise initiatives not aligned with the overall enterprise goals, and development of misdirected software solutions. This is where businesses should implement the next-gen Agile operating model to provide a rich user experience at lower costs. In doing so, they need to adopt a set of Agile principles to stay in course of today’s high speed and competitive digital economy.

Change people’s perspective to change: No matter how many processes you implement and systems you install, if they are not backed by people in right earnest, they will not function to their optimum capacity. IT professionals should be aligned to the Agile testing model where development and testing of codes are carried out in sprints. The people (read IT professionals) should be encouraged to finetune the processes and tools to achieve better compliance and outcomes. The incorporation of Agile testing would need the changing of mindsets, organizational models, and management tools.

Run coordinated Agile software testing initiatives: Businesses often conduct intra departmental initiatives to garner incremental gains (performance, production, quality etc.) for their respective processes. Although such initiatives do speed up things at the departmental level, they seldom have any impact on the overall business objectives. In fact, should there be an impact at all, it is mostly intangible and unsustainable. If there is less or no coordination among departments, then outcomes such as delivering better customer service within the turnaround time can be lost.

Such an uncoordinated Agile testing strategycan lead to curious situations – improvement in departmental efficiencies but no impact on the overall cost and customer experience. Hence, the initiatives should be well coordinated to not only achieve departmental objectives but the organizational goal as well. The business in order to deliver a distinctive customer experience should focus on customer journeys and supporting internal processes. For example, the buying of groceries by customers from an eCommerce store would involve departments such as marketing, payments, IT, and logistics working in unison.
This way a customer journey should be taken into consideration while devising the initiatives. So, instead of improving existing processes, organizations should focus on delivering the right customer experience. This can be achieved by simplifying processes and journeys to ensure customers are not overwhelmed and the final touchpoint remains an experience to remember.

No command and control approach: The traditional approach of running businesses is linear. In other words, business leaders assume that any change can be managed by staff since the latter is hired to do so. This top down linear model is mostly guided by the command and control approach, which is not the right way to achieve optimization goals. However, in the Agile model, individuals cutting across departments and processes create a culture based on feedbacks and learning. They can easily adapt to changes that are dictated by environments. Here, the speed of learning becomes the key differentiator in gaining the competitive advantage. Thus, the overall Agile process is more organic in nature and delivers better outcomes with collaboration and sharing.

Management as leaders and not bosses: Instead of the top down prescriptive approach, the role of management in the Agile setup should be that of an enabler. Consequently, leaders should identify the problem and allow teams to find out the way to solve it. This approach calls for flexibility, inclusivity, and adaptability to deliver the business objectives.

Conclusion
To beat the competition and stay on course to achieve success, businesses should adopt the Agile way of operating. The new perspective on Agile would achieve a greater cohesion among departments, better identification and elimination of process flaws, and faster delivery of products and services.

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