When it comes to software development, continuous integration, DevOps and Agile are the most common buzzwords. The hype around the agile framework is justified as it contributes to transforming business operations and helps stay toe-to-toe with market leaders. That being said, transforming with agile does not mean simply adopting the framework of software development, as it extends to the implementation of agile principles for collaborations.
Agile principles enable firms to keep up with updating market trends and also allow them to offer better customer experience. Since it takes more than just updating a software development life cycle, the successful implementation of agile frameworks at an enterprise level is not very simple. Agile principles require not only the operations but individual team members to have particular thinking patterns and work ethics.
The Emergence of the Agile Framework
Agile is a movement that began in software development but has now spread to other parts of the organization. The original agile manifesto developed by seventeen software developers in 2001, laid out four major key aspects
1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
4. Responding to change by following a plan
However, this outline has served as the basis of a wide range of agile implementations. Although businesses have interpreted these directives in several ways over time, the unifying thread between them is the focus on the human side of the business. Above all, the agile movement focuses on what goals businesses have and how they will achieve them. Furthermore, it also helps companies to become more flexible and resilient in the fast-paced economy.
In addition to this, software development techniques including scrum and kanban are among the most used terminologies, however, it’s important to note that they don’t work the same as agile. Rather, both of these are agile software development frameworks. They use agile as a general foundation to portray a broader picture of what good software development techniques should look like.
Digital Transformation with Agile
Agile digital transformation is simply where well-established businesses follow the agile approach to structure capacities to build and deliver innovations. However, while embracing digitization, businesses happen to face challenges including understanding sophisticated technologies and complex software, learning tools and processes, dealing with budget constraints, and keeping up with the pace of transformation while adapting technology to meet customer requirements.
Agile offers a perfect and effective solution with its iterative time-boxed approach which backs teams to practice new techniques and develop skills. However, it’s open to failure, encouraging businesses to improve their skills. Furthermore, its customer-centric approach involves the clients in the procedures in order to get their reviews aiming to please them. The team moves on only if all issues are resolved.
Most importantly, the agile technique offers state-of-the-art foolproof solutions in that it breaks down the transformation into small and easily manageable phases, where the team gets a chance to learn new things before moving on. In addition to this, businesses also require to invest less money since mistakes are fewer and projects end up delivering valuable products to customers.
In short, the agile approach to digital transformation is
1. Adaptive as compared to following a described plan.
2. The teams manage each stage at their levels instead of under top-down executive control.
3. Periodically evaluated and reviewed by the team in contrast to practicing metric evaluation.
4. Continuous evaluation of whether the client’s needs are met or not. That’s in contrast to firms that have inflexible digital infrastructures under standardized procedures.
Why Agile is Effective in Driving Digital Transformation
Apart from streamlining software development processes, agile comes with many other perks. This includes;
Software projects that involve deadlines and top-down approaches, the employees are more likely to follow instructions and accomplish their tasks with minimum fuss.
Such work environments seem to be fear-driven since the company’s reputation and the jobs of executives are at stake if the project fails. Additionally, in such circumstances, teams are also discouraged to change communication which also results in flawed projects. Whereas, with agile, the entire team including executives along with customers are encouraged to involve in the project development and share their feedback, resulting in successful projects meeting clients’ demands.
Trust and Accountability Between Employees
When businesses use a top-down development approach, the project success involves the reputation of the decision makers while executive entities fear failure if they fail to deliver the project. They could also integrate performance reports where leaders can bend reports to reflect apparent success. In contrast, Agile drives a transparent culture that encourages team collaboration where each stakeholder is made to feel responsible for project success. According to the Gartner reports, businesses are almost twice as fast in their digital transformation journey if the employees and management know the importance of the project.
The traditional structure using waterfall models invests expense, then doggedly insist on profitable results. Dissension is discouraged since there are forced deadlines, which the workforce graded on how they meet top to down requirements. Once executives or decision makers have set out plotted journeys, it may be too late to peddle back without putting more expense and time. On the other side in the case of agile, to overcome the risk the process is divided into time-box sprints, one for each goal, and moving forward only once all team members agree on and make a decision to proceed to the other tasks.
Transforming business operations to digital platforms is not a one-time process. For developers, it’s important to continuously assess their IT systems and make necessary upgrades according to market trends, and changing regulations. The adoption of agile for ongoing process improvement is especially important when considering a company’s security against cyber attacks and compliance with national and international regulations for consumer privacy.
Moreover, ongoing improvements to a business system really help firms in emerging industries like FinTech, healthcare, Government, or legal sectors. This is because even the smallest errors in operations can lead to huge losses for these businesses. The application of agile can make a significant difference, which is sometimes overwhelming for company owners.