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As digitization progresses, businesses need to respond quickly to changing market demands and develop new business models. The technology exists, yet product innovations and projects continue to fail because companies are structured with too much rigidity, suppressing creativity and innovation. Therefore, companies should focus on agile methods to drive innovation.
The roots of agile methods lie in software development. Since software is the basis for all digital business models, agile methods are gaining increased acceptance. In addition, rapid technological change is forcing CIOs to rethink their digital transformation strategies. Agile methodology is no longer used only in IT. In a survey by the certification organization Scrum Alliance, more than half of those surveyed stated that other areas of the company use agile methods such as Scrum.
Innovation speed and team productivity
An analysis of more than 10 000 projects revealed that the use of agile methods more than triples the probability of success. Many companies have recognized that the challenges of digitization require an agile environment to stay ahead of changing trends. However, employees tend to have difficulty transferring newly acquired knowledge into their organizations. Why is that? Companies often have a vertical, hierarchical culture that has existed for many years, which prevents rapid innovation. In many cases, agile contradicts the existing corporate culture.
Adapting with agile
The consulting firm Bain & Company has established six basic rules for the implementation of agile methods to help companies adapt to today’s digital landscape:
1. Businesses need to understand that agility does not mean anarchy, but provides a proven approach to solving complex problems.
2. Companies should explore which areas are suitable for agile methods: product development in coordination with the customer, for example, but not routine tasks.
3. In order to anchor agility in the corporate culture, it is not enough to introduce the creative teams to the new approach. The top management of the company should also use agile methods.
4. In strategy development, resource allocation, or corporate reconciliation, agile methods can deliver quick results and demonstrate that management can perform using agile methodology.
5. Employees in agile pilot projects, who are usually very satisfied with their independence and freedom of choice, also act as ambassadors of the new culture of innovation, and, by word of mouth, help inspire others with the ideas.
6. The initial imperatives and obstacles must remove sole leaders and clearly communicate priorities, roles, and responsibilities. Experienced employees should later be able to adapt the agile methods and develop them according to their own ideas.
Adapting to agile doesn’t mean completely restructuring an organization in one day. If you want to accelerate processes and make teams more innovative, you can first test agile methods in suitable projects. This helps to reduce prejudices and to slowly anchor 'agile' in the minds of your employees. The most important thing to remember? Involving your own employees, equipping them with the necessary knowledge for modern work and sharpening their understanding of agile work processes and team leadership. If you know more and understand more, you will be able to tackle projects in new ways.
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