Stop Being Agile and Focus on Communicating Benefits

September 7, 2021

The rate of growth and adoption of Agile frameworks both outside and within the software industry has increased exponentially. Corporate bodies and enterprise organizations have been steadily gaining ground in the market while switching from plan-driven techniques into incremental and iterative methodologies. This speed is undoubtedly impressive, but the integration of Agile frameworks has not always been smooth. 

As a result, I’ve witnessed a lot of people having bad experiences integrating Agile frameworks such as Nexus, Kanban, SAFe, LeSS, Scrum, etc. But with the increasing adoption of Agile amongst CEOs, employees, and managers, this outcome should be expected—the more people that adopt Agile the more failure there is to record.

Stop Using Agile and Focus on Communicating Benefits

Recently, I had a client state that their organization won’t be integrating any Agile framework in near future, explaining that his company had built an empowered Agile team, but it ended in disaster as deliveries were unable to meet customer expectations.

This is bad. I mean, really bad. But upon further discussion, I discovered that the problem had nothing to do with the Agile frameworks. Rather, the problem was with the stakeholders not actively being involved and trusting the process. At the end of it all, fixing the issue didn’t come easy but it was very easy to identify and visualize the problem.

“Agile” is a loaded word within the lexicon of software development, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the overall cultural ethos. But “being Agile” has certainly had its negative effects on clients focusing on the process. Since then, I’ve decided to reduce my use of the word “Agile,” concentrating on communicating the benefits of integrating Agile frameworks. These benefits include close collaboration with clients, establishing teams that benefit individuals and favour interactions, fast response to changing needs and priorities, and reduced lead time from idea to market.

Since implementing my simple decision to remove the word “Agile” and focus on communicating the benefits of what we want to achieve, we were able to accomplish our objectives. In making use of these proven frameworks, my team was inspired, and we were able to carefully tailor them to meet various goals. 

    Communicating the Benefits of Agile Frameworks

    The benefits of Agile frameworks cannot be overemphasized and ought to be reiterated to clients every step of the way. While every one of these frameworks has its unique benefits and qualities, they all still integrate components of iterative development when developing an app. To fully enjoy the benefits of Agile, there’s a need for continuous planning, testing, integration, and various forms of continuous development, making it particularly important to focus on communicating the benefits of Agile.

    Benefits for Customers

    The success of every business lies in building a successful relationship with your customers. The happier your clients are, the more sales opportunities you have. Therefore, the benefits of Agile frameworks for the customers are arguably the ones with the highest impact.

    Higher Customer Satisfaction

    Agile frameworks are known to provide incremental deliveries. Hence, customers can monitor their progress in various projects. A good technique would be demonstrating working functionality with every Sprint to customers which allows them to see the continuous progression.

    Given that working functionalities are distributed rapidly, customers get to have their products to the market faster. With this process, customers are more engaged and involved in the development, offering feedback and advice all the way. All these factors ultimately lead to an increase in customer satisfaction and happiness.

    Reduced Risks

    Every client looking to invest in a partnership with a vendor will always want to reduce the risks involved. In a conventional project management procedure, requirements are usually collected before the project launch. In such cases, the clients could find the entire project only to find out it isn’t what they thought. As a result, both time and money are lost.

    However, with Agile methodologies, customers get to know what they are going into at the onset. Vendors can monitor feature development while ensuring a brief time between each process. This implies that the project can be rapidly changed and modified to the customer’s preference thereby ensuring that the final product aligns with their vision.

    Faster ROI

    In past times, software development programs are known to see no returns until months or even years after the project was launched. But not anymore! One of the greatest benefits to customers Agile frameworks offer is rapid yield in ROI.

    Through incremental development, several features and the overall software program can be launched within a short time. And customers can complete projects rapidly only after a few iterations.

    Not just that, but customers can also identify the most important part of a project that has the highest business value and ensure that such aspects are finished first. Once completed, the product is launched to evaluate market performance and changes are made based on the result of such evaluation.

    Benefits for Vendors

    The use of conventional approaches such as a Waterfall to complete a project is often faced with challenges like an overextended team and slow progress. However, the use of the Agile framework has successfully tackled these challenges allowing vendors to efficiently make use of a small team to maximize profit.

    Let’s have a look at some of the benefits Agile frameworks offer to business vendors.

    High Product Quality

    It can sometimes be difficult to detect various product errors and issues until the whole project is completed using the traditional Waterfall approach. A vital benefit of the Agile framework is that each iteration of a project is properly evaluated to ensure it works perfectly during development and after its released.

    As mentioned earlier, continuous planning, testing, and integration are essential aspects of the Agile process. As each process is planned and tested, customers can elaborate and define requirements. This results in vendors being able to continuously work with the latest information and direction, hence, facilitating high-quality products.

    Sprint retrospectives also play an important part in product quality. It allows team members to reflect on work completed at the end of each Sprint. That’s not all, Sprint retrospectives also help team members to evaluate how products can be improved, ensuring that the next Sprint operates more effectively than the previous ones.

    Increased Project Control

    One of the attributes that are difficult to maintain when running a project is transparency, especially when assessing from the C-suite. However, with the agile frameworks, transparency is assured which facilitates more control over a project.

    Events such as daily Sprint meetings provides consecutive insights into the operations of the team. This highlights the rate at which the team is moving and the tasks each member of the team has finalized. By doing this, agile frameworks helps to maximize the number of information radiators, enhancing both in-depth and high-level project transparency.

    Conclusion

    As a software and product development team, the best way to go is by integrating the Agile framework within your organization as it offers great competitive advantages and benefits. However, Agile is most effective when it is tailored and modified to specifically meet the needs of your software and product development team. 

    Even though the overall values and principles of Agile frameworks apply to every team, the Agile frameworks are quite specific. Therefore, a little experimentation or a test run is required to know which one best suits your team, making it even more important that you focus on communicating the benefits of Agile with your clients and teams.

    Søren Pedersen

    Co-founder of Buildingbettersoftware and Agile Leadership Coach

    Søren Pedersen is a strategic leadership consultant and international speaker. With more than fifteen years of software development experience at LEGO, Bang & Olufsen, and Systematic, Pedersen knows how to help clients meet their digital transformation goals by obtaining organizational efficiency, alignment, and quality assurance across organizational hierarchies and value chains. Using Agile methodologies, he specializes in value stream conversion, leadership coaching, and transformation project analysis and execution. He’s spoken at DevOps London, is a contributor for The DevOps Institute, and is a Certified Scrum Master and Product Owner.

    You can find more of his writing at https://agilerasmus.com/wordpress/

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