Businesses Embrace Agile to Thrive in any Environment

Henry Bennett

Even as multiple areas around the world begin to re-open and economies work toward recovery, businesses are already discovering that the new normal is different from the old. However, that new normal is looking pretty great when it comes to making a business more adaptable, efficient, effective and profitable. What’s at the core of a successful transition to the new way of doing business? Agile methodologies, of course!

In a recent video titled Adopting Agile Principles During COVID-19 from our Ask the Experts YouTube series, KeyedIn Director of Solutions Consulting Tom Raper, who specializes in architecting solutions that are purpose-built for customers, noted that businesses are trying to make decisions in a shorter timeframe and constantly finding new ways to adapt using Agile principles. “The main approach is to try to keep things simple,” Raper explained.

Agile principles work well even when business is up-and-running at speed and the economy is flying high. Even before the pandemic changed business environments forever, businesses around the globe were already adopting Agile principles and embracing the benefits.

For example, consider the benefits of an Agile, flexible operation for normal, everyday work challenges by asking the following questions about your business’ resource and capacity planning:

  • When an employee becomes ill and calls in sick, can your team easily flex to accommodate their absence?
  • Are all of their files and tasks and progress accessible in a central database?
  • Can your PMO peruse a roster of resources to find someone to fill in for the day, the week or even longer?
  • What about those longer absences — prolonged illness, maternity/paternity leave, vacations, bereavement leave and so on? How easy is it for you, your PMO and your teams to transition when they happen?
  • Is it easy for your resources to work remotely and perform their tasks from home? How disruptive is it and how capable is your organization when it comes to minimizing those disruptions?
These are common occurrences in every business and Agile practices are great for helping to streamline them. In addition, that’s just the beginning. Agile principles can go far beyond resource and capacity planning to help organizations with project selection, budget building, forecasting, collaboration and communication, all faster than ever before.

In another one of our Ask the Expert videos titled Remote Working and Being Agile, our panel delved a little deeper into the increased enthusiasm for Agile strategies in relation to activities such as virtual work, collaboration and communication. Even before the world was impacted by the pandemic, many organizations had already begun to phase in more remote working roles, virtual meetings and digital collaboration facilitated by digital PPM tools and Agile project and portfolio management practices.

When the time came to pivot, these organizations had a leg up on their competitors when the need to adapt was sprung upon them. And, as adaptation continues to be a necessity in the new business world, many experts, such as Tim Short, SVP, Global CX, believe that even as business picks back up, remote working is going to endure and expand. “I believe that based on everything that we have seen in the marketplace, that this is going to become the new norm,” said Short. “Many offices won’t go back to the capacity that they have had.”

Principal and product expert Colin Gibbins notes that in his area of the UK, many organizations wonder why they haven’t embraced Agile practices like this sooner. “They are seeing the benefits. Things like getting people together quickly would be hampered by gathering and waiting for an open room. That was always a limit to some of the big companies. Now you can just get onto Zoom or whatever platform you are using,” Gibbins explained. Gibbins says that most organizations and their stakeholders have developed the mindset that they simply want to keep moving and get things done quickly and efficiently.

The principles outlined here are not just best practices or idealistic goals. They are realistic and put in practice everyday by PMO leaders we work with. We have seen the benefits of implementing these strategies and hopeful at the outcomes they yield. We also understand it is not easy to implement and growing into an Agile mindset is a journey. But even as you start incorporating adaptive practices and growth opportunities – guess what, that’s an Agile mindset.