Agile is a term often used with fulfilment and logistics. However, its power resides when talking about innovation. The Agile method relies on using a systematic and repeatable approach. Its difficulty lies in having to change roles and responsibilities in the organization and learning to develop a matrix rather than a top down approach.
So why is the agile methodology relevant to you and how can you leverage it to your benefit?
The agile method relies on the company having enough bench depth to create small multi-disciplinary self-managing teams and target them at very specific project geared at taking advantage of a specific opportunity. The team then makes a shopping list of tasks needed to carry out the overall project. Each task is assessed in terms of its complexity and, more importantly, it eventual value to customers.
Once mapped (probably on a SCRUM board), the whole team direct its attention at the first task. Work is done openly and outcomes (problems, wins) are shared so that the whole team can reflect on progress and amend the overall task list. This is then repeated as a cycle of development, or a Scrum.
Agile is about leveraging the power of many brains working together quickly and efficiently. As communication is there for a purpose, meetings are reduced and impact is high. Individuals gain a sense of ownership and work better, harder and develop a sense of belonging to the company. As a result the company develops its leaders and grows its bench depth.
So traditional or agile?
The reality will probably focused on a blended approach where a traditional approach runs the company but agile teams are created on an as and when basis to ‘push the envelope’ and bring focus to R&D. Agile is a tool, learn to use it well so that you can deploy it well.
* Formalise the need to review opportunities as part of the normal life of your business. It could be a standing agenda item in one of your regular meetings
* If an opportunity is identified as having legs, ask whoever came up with the idea to form a team and a plan of action regarding un-plugging these people from their day to day business (When?)
* Start a scrum and learn from it
* Review the impact.