What is agility?
In 2001, the “Agile Alliance”, a group of representatives from software development, met to establish the four fundamental values and twelve principles of working agile. The four values in the “Agile Manifesto of Software Development” are:
The basis for agile working
Another key point is self-responsibility and autonomous teams. The teams and employees bear the responsibility themselves and make their own decisions, without the need to involve management. This shortens decision-making and saves time. In addition, feedback-loops are used at short intervals. This way, processes, working methods, and the team’s work can be continuously reviewed, adapted, and improved.
Customer orientation is also crucial. Their needs and wishes are constantly questioned and considered. In addition, agile organizations seek personal exchange and actively request feedback and suggestions for improvement from customers.
How can an agile working environment be introduced in organizations?
- What does an agile working environment mean for my organization and tasks?
- What could be obstacles and hurdles?
- Which projects or teams are suitable for trying out agile working first?
- Do we need an external agile coach or/and training?
- Which methods do we want to introduce?
- What main challenges do we see and what can we do to overcome them?
Scrum is one of the most popular methods worldwide for agile working. This is mainly due to the fact that this method is simple and easy to understand.
Self-organized Scrum teams work with predefined roles, such as the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The Product Owner is responsible for the technical requirements of the product and maintains a list of these requirements – the product backlog. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum process is working smoothly and supports the team and the product owner in overcoming challenges.
The development cycles, so-called “sprints”, are kept as short as possible (normally between two to four weeks), and feedback loops take place regularly. The product owner defines in advance which requirements are to be implemented in which sprint. At the beginning of each sprint there is a meeting of the Scrum Team called sprint planning, where the backlog for the sprint is being discussed.
During the execution of the sprint, the daily Scrum takes place every morning – a 15-minute meeting in which the status is briefly discussed. This creates transparency and reduces the number of meetings. At the end of each sprint, a sprint review and retrospective take place. The sprint review includes the entire Scrum Team and, if necessary, the stakeholders. Here, the results of the sprint are presented and discussed. The sprint retrospective only involves the Scrum Team and creates a save space for sharing feedback and discussing possible improvements in processes. Afterwards, the next sprint starts.
This method originated from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Production is aligned with customer demand. Therefore, it is a pull system.
One essential part of this system is the Kanban board. In its simplest form, it has three columns: “To do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. Such a visualization of the work process helps to work transparently and efficiently. Work-in-process-limits (WIP-limits) help to focus on the most important tasks and ensure a good flow of work. A daily Kanban meeting is also part of the method.
- Start with what you have and respect current processes and responsibilities
- Strive for instrumental, evolutionary improvement
- Promote leadership at all levels
On the troodi learning platform, we offer an insightful learning program on the method: “Kanban fundamentals” with certified Kanban trainers Rochelle Roos and Mike Freislich of We Do Change. By clicking here you can get a first impression of the content.
With Design Thinking, it is possible to approach complex problems systematically. The main focus is to understand the needs of (possible) customers. One works in multidisciplinary teams and inspiring spaces to promote the creative process. The iterative design thinking process includes six phases:
1. Understanding: First, you define the initial situation and the problem to be solved.
2. Observing: This is about engaging directly with customers. You want to analyze and understand their needs and priorities.
3. Define perspective: Based on the first two phases, you now combine the observations into an overall picture and define the target group by creating personas.
4. Develop ideas: In this phase, the team develops ideas on how to solve the problem for the target group. These ideas are then evaluated and prioritized based on impact, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness.
5. Build prototype: Now, the task is to develop prototypes. This can happen in the form of sketches, models, or mockups.
6. Testing: The last step is to collect feedback from customers. Based on this, improvements can be made. It might also be necessary to go through the process all over again.
Now you know more about what agile working is and how it can be used in organizations. You learned about agile values as the foundation of agile and you got an overview on different agile frameworks.
There is one thing to keep in mind: The implementation of agile working will only be successful if team members recognize that this can have a positive outcome on their daily working lives. Changes in values, principles and routines are necessary for agile working. This process requires discipline, but it pays off eventually.
Agile working has a motivating effect on employees because they are given more responsibility and feel trusted. Aspects such as collaboration, transparency, and communication support team spirit. In addition, this style of working can increase productivity and innovation, as there is constant adaptation to the needs of customers and the market. This also minimizes risks and increases customer satisfaction.
You want to learn how to work agile? At troodi, we offer a learning program to help you do just that. Our agile coach and certified Scrum Master Julian Wonner will guide you through the individual chapters. Here’s what you can take away from the learning program:
- History and definition of agile
- Identification of the differences between classic and agile ways of working
- Reflection on agile values and principles
- Overview of agile frameworks and methods
- Introduction of agile methods in a team
You can get to know our learning platform with a free trial account. If you have any further questions contact us by mail or phone.