People over processes

Not long ago, the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Agile Manifesto, a document that has changed the world in which we work in many ways, was marked. And like some prophets, 17 software enthusiasts have predicted how the business environment will change in the future and more importantly, how we should respond to those changes.

And now, after 20 years, Agile Manifesto is still relevant. Through agile values and principles, they described what companies should focus on. These values have been the subject of various debates, books, discussions, conferences with a similar topic for years: People or processes.

Anyone who has read the Agile Manifesto already knows the answer in advance: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Another mantra of agile philosophy confirms this: People first!

On the other hand, it is necessary to insert a little bit of precaution in this statement, or rather balance. We can have very cheerful and motivated people, well-versed in knowledge, but if the “stage” is not set well, we are doomed to failure in advance. Clear guidelines are needed at the outset, to avoid initial discomfort and confusion for company employees. By parallel education of employees and the establishment of basic accompanying processes, we create a clear picture of where our company is heading. There are many parameters along the way that are unknown to us. And that’s totally fine. One analogy perhaps best illustrates agile transformation.

Suppose we are driving a comfortable vehicle around town. We know exactly where our destination is, we already know all possible routes to get there and our vehicle is more than safe.

And then we decide to head to a new destination. The only thing we know about it is that it is very beautiful there and that it is in the north. If we go off with the same vehicle without additional preparation, we can end up covered in snow on a remote road. On the other hand, we may end up in the desert with an overheated engine and no mobile signal. We need vehicle preparation. We will buy snow chains, repair and clean the air conditioning in case of heat, we will buy winter-summer tires, a car charger for mobile phones and the like. We will bring a lot of food and water because you never know if there are works on the road somewhere and how long the trip will last. And surely something else may come to our minds. The more ready we are for the trip, the more likely it is for us to get there. Also, we cannot predict everything. And we should not. This is where our mindset comes into play. We do not want to be disappointed if, despite all these preparations, something unplanned happens. The point is to prepare for something unplanned to happen. And it will happen. The way we react then can speed us up or slow us down. Maybe even stop us.

Establishing the right processes and educating employees about changes is the right way to get to our destination, a successful business model.

Another thing that is very important when we want to change the way our business works. The adoption of agile processes, ceremonies and so-called frameworks does not necessarily mean that the business model will change. Conversely, we can change the business model we currently operate in without introducing an agile methodology. And here, it is a matter of balance.

Business agility has been discussed quite a lot lately. Understanding this concept and implementing its principles can change the way we look at the business environment and also change business fundamentally.

Business agility is not just a word that sounds modern and interesting, it really helps you reach a winning business model, with the right balance.

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