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Building Business Agility in 2021

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In stable economies, the beginning of the year for SMEs is usually characterized by challenges such as servicing excessive debt, creating diversified strategies for funding, securing and increasing customer base, as well as evading solvency. 2021 has however brought with it additional challenges. These include operating in volatile economic environments where governments are threatening to shut down economies, due to the prevalence of COVID 19 and changes in customer priorities and preferences.

As SMEs, we need to create structures that encourage hyperresponsiveness to these changes and act as “economic shock absorbers” that can withstand the times.

Agile methodologies have been used by business enterprises to manage proactive responses to change. Nathalie Udo, President, Projectway, LLC  and Sonja Koppensteiner, Founder, InterGlobe, attest that “agile planning acknowledges that change is inevitable which explains why 71% of organizations have gone agile”. 

Benefits of Agile Methodologies

Agile planning moves projects from inception to meeting project objectives by eliminating time wasters, mobilizing team activities that are centered around organizational strategy, and encouraging day to day conversations on task progress that highlight “what I did yesterday, what I will do today and what is in my way”. Agile methodologies allow for efficient planning that divides a project into manageable tasks that can be completed within a specified period of time. Appelbaum adds that agile methodologies “create repeatable processes to help teams learn how much they can achieve”.

Agile methodologies increase the organization’s capability to react to volatile markets by creating “shorter planning cycles, more adaptive governance, and funding practices”. They enhance an organization’s ability to forecast and respond to market disturbances through sustained customer feedback processes. 

Types of Agile Methodologies

Finding an agile methodology that is best suited for your organization is essential in order to leverage market performances and encourage product development that is based on customer feedback. Here are some agile methodologies;

Scrum –   Scrum is a framework that excels in controlling iterative and incremental projects through a set of principles. Scrum relies on the close collaboration between product owners, the IT and business team, in order to isolate and exploit particular features and functions of a product such that problems are identified quickly. 

Extreme Programming (XP) – XP is a popular methodology that encourages cooperation between software developers and customers. XP is especially suited for smaller teams that divide tasks into 1-3-week sprints. It is classified as an “efficient and persistent delivery model” that requires “a great level of discipline, as well as plenty of involvement from people beyond the world of information technology”. 

Lean methodology – Lean is more elastic than Scrum and XP and is an efficient method of warranting value and efficacy in production through its core principles that include:

  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Generating Continuous Workflow
  • Creating a Pull System
  • Continuous Improvement

The Lean methodology is especially beneficial because it eliminates waste in the form of time wasters and unproductive tasks, allowing teams to effectively use resources toward value development. 

Feature Driven Development (FDD) –FDD provides a structure for product development which builds from a micro-level of establishing features, functions, design plan, to a macro level of software development.  One of the advantages of FDD is it creates repeatable systems in software development that save time and resources.

Kanban – Kanban is a highly visual methodology that makes use of visual boards that highlight key tasks in a “To Do, Doing and Done” format. It encourages collaborations among team members and helps define the best possible workflow. Kanban is utilized in most organizations as a “complete workflow management solution” designed to help in work visualization, maximization of efficiency, and agility

If you’re interested in finding out what agile methodology is best suited for your Business and teams and where to begin in implementing the same, book an appointment here and one of our partners will be happy to get in touch with you.

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