As a business professional working in big corporations for many years, I was first introduced to the Agile methodology two years ago and was instantly attracted to it. Since then, the way I approach and think about problem-solving has changed significantly and more importantly, I have experienced the benefits of using Agile practices to solve problems faster and more effectively. Isn’t that what we all wish for when we face in with complex business issues?
The power of Agile is not in the methodology, the power is in the shift in mindset. An Agile mindset breaks down silos towards true collaboration, it also encourages continuous feedback which is the greatest gift one could ask for and it motivates you to be more human-centred. All these are very relatable when it comes to growing and retaining your customers.
I love the Agile ceremonies because they are so incredibly simple and practical and a great way to immerse yourself in Agile land. Instead of having long and unproductive meetings, we do short and sharp 15 minutes team daily stand-ups on what you “do, doing, done”. Instead of spending months trying to solve customer problems perfectly, we run 2-weeks sprint work, an accelerated way to solve problems for customers without having it all 100% solved – the 80:20 rule or sometimes the 60:40, includes testing with customers as we go along even though it may not be perfect, keep iterating as we receive customer feedback for continuous improvements. Instead of planning months ahead on what needs to be done, we do 2-weeks sprint planning, to give ourselves the flexibility to change course depending on the fast-changing business needs.
We often think we know what team or business collaboration mean, but do we really? In an Agile mindset, collaboration is about truly bringing diversity of knowledge and skills together to collectively meet common outcomes, to co-create new things or to co-solve problems.
Collaboration is an exchange of value for greater benefits as opposed to silo ways generating limited goodness. I have demonstrated true collaboration by solving problems collectively and impactfully by bringing together cross-functional expertise and even customers at times in the same room for a few days where we focus intently on defining the problem statement, ideation of solutions, funnelling possibilities and landing on forward actions. You get to hear and see refreshing and insightful perspectives to an issue when you bring a diverse group of people who have vested interest in the common thing. This way, your sensitivity to a problem is heightened which naturally boosts your creativity and openness to the way you see and solve the problem. Doing it alone limits the outcomes.
The Physical Environment
The physical environment is equally important when it comes to Agile practices. An open, expansive, casual and flexible workspace with lots of whiteboards for visualisation is an important physical setup. We are often standing against whiteboards, drawing up our ideas, or discussions, getting clear on what we mean and making conversations less hierarchical as managers often co-locate in the same space as team members. Agile is about team work, collaborative workshops and open interaction, a physical set up conducive for that encourages more effective communications and thinking process which is proven to help us focus and be productive in the moment.
The beauty of Agile is that any business, of any size will benefit from work culture and business growth. It has certainly uplift the dynamics of my team as well as virtual teams working cross-functionally on a daily basis to the point that we have reduced confusion, duplications and fostered greater alignment and synergies in the work we do to serve our customers better.
We believe in the future of Agile for sustainable business growth and are great advocates of Agile methodologies. Space design principles at Higher Spaces are underpinned by Agile and human-centred mindset, where our meeting rooms are open, light-filled and can be flexibly configured with all furniture easily roll away including portable TV stand and plenty of whiteboard space for visualisation. It is our passion to drive adoption of Agile for small and medium businesses and our hope is to leverage Higher Spaces as a platform to support businesses in going Agile.