Creating Agile Awareness

Especially in complex development projects, companies use agile ways of working to respond quickly and effectively to the ever-changing market and customer requirements. In order for them to benefit from the advantages of agile methods, it is important that managers from research and development, as well as top management, internalize the values and principles behind the agile methods. In practice, it has been shown that the basis for the successful use of agile methods lies in the creation of an agile consciousness, especially among the executives!

Basics of agile working methods: Empirical process control, value orientation, self-organized teams and continuous improvement

Agile working methods, such as scrum, are better suited than waterfall processes and classic project management methods because they are based on regular adaptive planning and empirical process control. The core element is that the results are analyzed at regular intervals and the consequences of the analysis are immediately re-integrated into the solution. This creates a high degree of transparency at short intervals. This approach does not only help in complex projects, as they:

  • customer feedback during development.
  • Regularly test the technical implementation of your product.
  • Achieve a market-oriented development result.

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In addition, value orientation is a central element of agile working methods. This means doing the right things, i.e. increasing effectiveness by focusing on value-adding activities and results for the customer. This clear customer focus puts the customer even more at the center of the development process, as feedback is requested early and short-cycle by customers or representatives of the customer (e..B. sales). This not only prevents the customer from developing, but also ensures that you produce results that can be used at an early stage. In addition, value orientation involves increasing the efficiency of doing things properly, i.e. making good use of resources. For example, to put planning and development time in the right proportion.

Agile concepts are built on self-organized teams. These are small groups that together have the knowledge and skills to develop complete solutions and to be able to make relevant decisions on their own responsibility. Self-organized teams have the following benefits:

  • They have a faster and more comprehensive exchange of knowledge and experience.
  • They make decisions themselves and thus keep decision-making paths short.
  • The intrinsic motivation is increased by their autonomy.
  • The identification with the product is higher.

Another basis of agile working methods lies in the continuous improvement of the product and the working methods. If a team is stable in its composition and is responsible for a product in the long term, it can exchange and build up specific (experience) knowledge sustainably, both with regard to the product and within the framework of improving cooperation, through short-term, regular learning within empirical process control. In addition, agile organizations ensure regular exchanges between teams and targeted knowledge preservation through a centrally accessible, transparent collection of knowledge.

Understand Agile Practices, Values and Principles

The different agile ways of working include special practices, as well as values and principles. One of the most well-known and widely used agile ways of working is the Scrum Framework.

Scrum defines the following roles and practices:

  • Roles (Product Owner, Scrum Master, Development Team, Stakeholder)
  • Events (Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Retrospective, Backlog Refinement)
  • Artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment)
  • Rules (Definition of Done)

The four values and 12 principles from the agile manifesto form the core of the agile way of working. They can be applied equally to hardware and software development. They form the agile mindset that all scrum participants, their managers and top management must own in order to be able to take advantage of agile working methods in the long term.

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Agility starts at the top

RIm and development leaders who deal with agility should be aware of one thing: the implementation of agile working methods leads to a cultural change that influences hierarchies, structures and processes. This change can only lead to a successful result if management deals in detail with the agile principles and methods before the pilot project and understands the associated changes. It must consciously decide for change and present the agile mindset in its own company. Only then can the benefits of agile methods actually be achieved.

Agile working methods require a special leadership style. Managers no longer have professional leadership, they do not provide technical solutions or determine the work organization in their team or department. Employees in agile teams should organize themselves independently and make decisions on their own responsibility. To do this, they must be transparent and clear in their communication. This requires trust and appreciation in the collaboration between employees and superiors.

Managers need to prepare sufficiently for this changed role. It is not enough just to understand the rules and workings of agile methods. The principles and values that underlie them must be internalized and a change in leadership must be made. This is the basic condition for the successful use of agility consistently and in the long term.

We help you understand agility

In customer projects, our consultants experience again and again how important it is to create the necessary foundations for agile work. For this reason, we have developed special workshop formats for this initial phase of agile transformation. They enable research and development professionals and all involved managers, employees and stakeholders to engage in detail with agility in.B puncto leadership, teamwork and mindset:

  • In our two-day agile basic trainings, the participants focus on the fields of application, success factors and potentials of agile methods. You will learn to use the methods and develop the necessary mindset.
  • In the Agile Quick Check, executives deal with the "maturity" of their organizational area and the expected effort for the introduction of agile methods.
  • In our Agile Awareness Workshop, participants will familiarize themselves with the principles of agile leadership, methods and working methods within a day. Consequences, challenges and solutions can be experienced in a risk-free area.

The Agile Awareness Workshop serves as a basis for decision-making. The participants compare their expectations and goals. Afterwards, executives should consciously opt for the introduction of agile methods. This commitment is followed by the installation of a transformation team and the selection of the pilot.

If you are more interested in the challenges of agile leadership, we recommend our newsletter Agile Leadership – a response to complexity, uncertainty and pressure to change.

Your benefits
  • You will learn how the agile methods work.
  • They understand the consequences of introducing agile methods.
  • You can see why agility is also a matter of mindset.
  • They consciously choose to take advantage of agility in their company.
  • You will acquire all the basics necessary for a successful pilot project.