The conditions in which we operate today have never been more uncertain. There are many factors that affect business. There is great uncertainty about the final outcome and success of products and services. Companies themselves may have little or no impact on the business environment and the degree of uncertainty. What they can certainly do is adapt to business conditions, have a clear goal and constantly adjust their strategy. An agile way of work is one of the best ways which will lead to a set goal.
What is an agile way of work?
One of the most common misconceptions is that the agile way of work is intended only for software companies. It is fully applicable to any industry and is “immune” to cultural differences, as well as to differences in business practices and business models.
In an attempt to explain what agile is, people often fall into the trap and explain that agile is the framework that forms the basis of a team’s functioning. A somewhat closer definition is that agile is a methodology that consists of different frameworks. There are many definitions that agile is the process of organizing a business. It is easiest to remember that agile is none of the above.
Agile is a set of values and principles adopted back in 2001 and described in the Agile Manifesto. Even today, after 20 years, its values and principles have not changed much. A revision of the agile manifesto was recently conducted, which only confirmed that these principles and values are still valid and very current. What is new is that agile is now increasingly mentioned in businesses that are not directly related to writing software.
The first value in the agile manifesto says, “People and interactions versus processes and procedures.” One of the biggest challenges in implementing an agile way of work is the balance between changing and creating new processes and procedures, and the fact that people and interactions always come first.
There are many different frameworks that are applicable within an agile way of work. Depending on the needs of the organization, “ceremonies” (mandatory meetings) are chosen and adjusted to the specific organizational structure. The question is often asked when to choose a “waterfall” project approach, and when agile. In the end, the organization of team work is something that is crucial when setting the “stage” and introducing teams to the agile way of work.
On the other hand, without motivated people, it is difficult to imagine an agile way of work in an organization. We can set the best processes and procedures, insist on ceremonies, adjust the workspace and similar things. It all falls apart unless the mindset within the organization changes. We need a culture that will support all these processes and make them sustainable. That culture is built on agile leadership.
Agile leaders possess the necessary characteristics, but also the skills needed to adapt quickly to the conditions when we operate in an environment that is constantly changing. An agile leader does not change that environment, he only changes the way he accepts, understands and reacts to his challenges.
In the end, the implementation of the agile way of work is the essence, regardless of whether the company is engaged in the production of software or organic food.