By María del Carmen Jiménez Lázaro
Every few generations there are a series of disruptive changes that bring about an evolution in both society and business. For example, in the last few centuries, the Industrial Revolution, the Iron Age or the age of heavy engineering, and so on. And right now, we are immersed in the digital and software age; a technological revolution that, in general, increases productivity and efficiency. This is why agility in business is so important.
This movement is characterized by fast-moving, highly motivated people and fluid relationships, aligned around a common vision and focused on customer needs. Hence, appears the term customer-centric and maximum importance is given to exploring potential solutions and delivering value.
At Scalian Spain & Indizen by Scalian we are committed to agile methodologies because we know that frequent inspection of results limits risk and improves the ability to deliver value. Our leaders can focus on ROI (Return Of Investment) and value delivery taking advantage over their competitors.
Another commitment to agility in Scalian Spain & Indizen by Scalian arises from the concept of the horizon of predictability. This is a concept borrowed from the chaos theory of physics, which marks the point at which we can predict some results given some initial conditions. When we are forced to make predictions far in the future, reality becomes distorted, and we make people spend time and energy creating a façade in order to meet business expectations. Uncertainty grows… Hence, limits are set in agile methodologies.
Thanks to these concepts, we have established 6 pillars, along with a series of practices, that bring true agility to life when they are working together:
- Strategy: our “North star” embodied across the organization.
- Structure: network of small, empowered teams.
- Process: rapid decision making and learning cycles.
- Technology: state-of-the-art technology.
- Training: knowledge transfer among our employees.
As we said, each of these pillars consists of a series of practices that define it according to our values and the values of agile. These practices can be observed in more detail in the following illustration.
To conclude, we would like to point out that we are not just defining these pillars and practices but we are committed to continue improving. As Lean Startup says, to Build – Measure – Learn.
The actions we are currently carrying out to maintain this continuous improvement are:
- internal trainings and “meet-ups” where knowledge is transferred among our employees,
- possibility of external trainings for our customers,
- Agile Coaching and Facilitation,
- creation of centers of excellence (CoE) and communities,
- agile transformation including cultural transformation,
- empowerment of our teams,
- fostering engagement, etc.
Now it’s time to speak about the agile methodologies. By definition, agile methodologies allow us to adapt the work to the specific conditions of the project or service, achieving flexibility and immediacy in the response. In essence, companies that bet for this methodology manage their projects in a flexible, autonomous and more efficient way, reducing costs and increasing productivity.
Below is a list of some of the advantages of agile project management:
- Higher product quality: These methodologies encourage a proactive approach by team members in the pursuit of product excellence.
- Higher customer satisfaction: The customer is more satisfied because they are involved and committed throughout the development process.
- Higher employee motivation: Self-managed work teams facilitate the development of creative and innovative capacity among its members.
- Collaborative work: The division of work into different teams and roles, together with the development of frequent meetings, allows a better organization of work.
- Use of more relevant metrics: The metrics used to estimate parameters such as time, cost, performance, etc. are usually more realistic in agile projects than in traditional ones. Thanks to the division into small teams and phases we can be more aware of what is happening.
- Greater control and predictability: The opportunity to review and adapt the product throughout the agile process allows the teams to exercise greater control over their work, which improves predictability in time and cost.
- Cost reduction: Agile project management practically eliminates the possibility of absolute failure in the project, because errors are identified throughout the development process instead of waiting until the product is finished and all the investment has been made.
To conclude, we will comment on the most widely used agile methodologies. There are different options but the preferred ones are: Scrum, Kanban and extreme programming (XP). All of them are guided by the Agile Manifesto made by several authors who established four core values supplemented by the 12 principles of agile software. Its main objective is challenging the status quo and changing the approach to problem-solving of the existing project management methodologies.s.
The four core values are described in the following illustration:
But the above methodologies are oriented towards a single team. What happens when the organization consists of a large number of people or teams? Scaling methodologies were created to efficiently coordinate this new ecosystem of teams. They achieve this goal by establishing minimal bureaucracy through a scaling architecture. The most commonly used methodologies at scale are SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework), LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) and the tribes of Spotify.
Do you want to know more about these methodologies? Well, don’t worry because in the next blog posts we will describe Scrum y Kanban in more detail.
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!