The Challenges & Benefits of Implementing Agile Business Practices

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What is the Agile Method of Development?

Agile is a method of development (historically software development) that employs an incremental process to creating a product rather than delivering a final product at the very end of a project. This idea has been adapted more broadly across business practices where it’s defined as “the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities.”

While the ability to react quickly in business may not seem like a foreign concept in the continually-evolving world, executives may still be used to a model of business that centers around presenting a pristine final product. Yet, in recent years we have seen the Agile method move from primarily used in IT to also used in other parts of organizations, including the C-suite. In fact, a recent survey by Deloitte showed that more than 90% of senior executives give high priority to becoming agile.

It’s clear that throughout organizations, leaders are seeing the extraordinary value of Agile in management practices to respond to the way the corporate world is changing.

So what benefits and challenges could a business encounter while implementing Agile practices?


The Benefits of Agile 

Adaptability. It may seem obvious, but historically, companies don’t necessarily grow and change that easily.

When a product was finally produced, it was usually the result of a focused pursuit of one particular goal. Adjusting that one goal – if a hiccup or new idea came up – could derail a project and cost a company tons of money. Becoming Agile means business are able to shift gears and go in a different direction before all the eggs are in one basket gives companies the opportunity to save money and ensure that they can deliver something on a project that is addressing a current need, not only the need that was voiced at the beginning.


The Challenges of Agile

Unifying. Trying to adjust an entire company to a new method of doing business can prove to be extremely difficult—particularly with a larger company.

However, research suggests that the more leadership engages with Agile practices, the more the company will follow. And as Forbes notes, “when large firms have mastered Agile management practices, they have become the most valuable and fastest growing firms on the planet: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.”


Adaptive Leadership Can Help

Adaptive leadership actively moves businesses toward Agile practices. Basic principles like influencing, aligning work with strategy, communicating up and down, and informing your team about the changes can be pivotal when implementing Agile methods in order to get everyone on the same page.

As an organization shifts gears to engage in a new method of doing business, adaptive leadership helps effectively guide both the people and the process.

To learn more about the common obstacles organizations face and how blending Agile into your culture is key to sustaining and improving your results year after year, watch our on-demand webinar, Conquering the Challenge of Adopting Lean and Agile Into Your Business.


Engaging in Agile Business Practices


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