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The cornerstone of business success in the digital world is the ability to adapt. For an organization to thrive in a fast-paced world, they must be able to respond to new opportunities and threats quickly and come out stronger on the other side. For digital businesses, Agile methodology is a compelling approach for a business that wants to succeed in the face of fierce competition and escalating customer expectations. Modern businesses use digital transformation as a tool for adaptation. Ongoing digital transformation enables an organization to stay at the forefront of technology trends and the cutting edge of user experience. Digital transformation is a relatively easy strategy to design, but the execution of the strategy is where many businesses run into barriers. This is where Agile comes into play.
Agile for Digital Transformation
Agile methodology is an iterative design process wherein requirements and solutions for a project constantly evolve. Cross-functional teams collaborate in “sprints” where a working concept is developed and shared with end users. Feedback is then taken into consideration for the next sprint, and the cycle is repeated until the solution is finalized. The most important trait of Agile development is that it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. This way, executives can first envision a strategy for digital transformation, then ensure it aligns with the realities of the business environment. Agile methodology enables organizations to derive relevant data and formulate adaptive plans for digital transformation. Agile methodology, when adopted, has the potential to promote flexibility, speed, and continuous improvement. An agile organization ultimately empowers its units to be more responsive to change and adapt to local customer needs, ensuring executive goals are met while retaining the ability to innovate and adapt.
Creating an Agile Environment
Agile is a way of thinking as much as it is a project management methodology. This means that businesses have to train themselves to think in the new mindset and employees must open themselves up to new ways of working. The methodology promotes adaptation and provides the business with the tools needed to achieve digital transformation. An organization that is Agile needs to break down the business into units, capitalize on the skills of cross-functional teams and encourage collaboration. The responsibility of an Agile team is to be flexible, focused and work around shorter planning cycles. A good IT leader should be a pillar of motivation to the team and encourage transparency especially when the team is working to achieve an objective.
Benefitting from an Agile Culture
An organization that is Agile orients itself to customer needs and is able to optimize customer experience on an ongoing basis. The backbone of an Agile organization is the right technology ecosystem with access to the right data. This allows you to create a testing and learning environment where prototypes can be optimized. Using sprints, the organization can take advantage of this environment to continually adapt their products and customer experience to the changing environment.
Barriers to Going Agile
Despite the growing popularity of Agile methodology, few organizations are implementing the process. About 36% of organizations report implementing a singular framework across teams with minimum management support and experience in Agile methodology. The largest barrier to digital transformation in organizations is a culture where change is not encouraged.
Digital transformation is a continuous process and business leaders are tasked with the challenge of embracing it in order to drive change from the top down. Implementing Agile methodology is necessary, not only as a project framework but as a culture shift within the organization.
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