Agile methods : the best practices

How can we define the agile methods? On which bases are they relying ? What are the best practices to consider ? Which advantages and limits do they have ?

Agile methods, how to implement them and which advantages for your company ?

Introduction

Agility is a key element for efficiency, and companies are looking into it.

The digital transition is changing the image of the company, its management process, its growth, and all other processes which can impact their collaborators skills.

These companies have to start their digital transition in order to remain competitive while developing new products, highly expected by their customers.

The importance of the digital aspect of this transition strengthens the role of IT teams in these projects.

This transition also impacts the company’s agility. If the IT structure is considered, the whole company organisation is modified. To do so, we have to work on these processes, improve them and make them more efficient.

To accelerate companies digital transition, we have to consider rapidity, innovation and co-creation all together, but also think about efficiency and organization.

1- The bases on which these methods are relying

In order to be fully agile, companies have to enroll both of their teams : IT and business teams (users needs). It is important to make sure of the collaboration between the two, at the same time, so that they can work together.

The agile methods have 4 main elements :

Team : people and interactions, instead of processes and tools. It is much better to have a team collaborating and working in a co-creating way than people spreading around different ideas without any communication between them.

Collaboration : collaboration with the final users. The user has to be involved in the whole developing process.

Change acceptance : adaptation, rather than following a fixed schedule. Planning the project has to be flexible to allow modifications and for the app to evolve according to needs and demands along the way.

The application : operational softwares, rather than a dense documentation. It is important that the application works and answers the users needs.

2 – Improvement commitment

The improvement commitment can be broad : anticipating the needs, reducing to Time to Market, improving the quality of the product, increasing the satisfaction and enrollment of the users, flexibility and adaptability of the projects, production efficiency, while answering the need.

The organization has to be oriented towards value co-creation, innovation and efficiency improvement. Several elements have to be considered : collaboration, transparency and information sharing. Users are ate the core of the process. It is also necessary to insist on close relationship in the team, co-decision and co-creation.

3 – The best practices to consider

Several tools and means can be used by the companies to develop agile methods among their teams. There is the process transformation, production automation, continuous integration, flexible corporate architecture, collaborative tools and users feedbacks from the first tests.  

One of the main elements of agility is the responsibility it includes from start to finish. From the capacity to produce an idea up to the ability to develop a WebApp.

4- The advantages and conditions to follow

The value created when implementing agile methods is possible through challenging the existing processes among companies. This vision helps the company to be different from the others, but also bring it a modern image among the rest. The main goal still is to reduce production time and deadline. The company uses several methods to capital on human beings the best possible way et improve collective intelligence : two key elements of co-creation processes.

The company’s agility depends on its CIO architecture. It has to support rapid and structuring changes on a daily basis. Gathering CIO, organization and business teams together, is a way to integrate innovation on a continuous way.

An important consequence of agile methods is the necessity to break the wall between development and production.

The main limits to implement these agile methods in a company are the lack of disponibility of the team to work on these projects.

There can also be a lack of upstream planning. Losing time and longer deadlines for production will then be predictable.

These methods have to include a real concertation with other projects and teams to harmonize teams and make them receptive for these new methods. Then, we have to find the best way to help them integrate these methods. An adaptation period of time is necessary.

Other important element, the communication with the final user of the application has to be maintained throughout the project.

It is important to have a real collaboration and motivation in the team, to overcome challenges they will meet along the development process of the project. Indeed, delivery deadlines are more and more frequent along the project.

Finally, support from IT and business teams, but also Managers is essential.

Conclusion

Agility in a company is based on methods, an organization and a human capital.

To succeed implementing these agile methods in the company, it is necessary to take into account the creation and internal organization speed.