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How did agility come back into fashion?

The Agile work method is back, and big time. It helps organizations restructure their work processes to make sure they are dynamic and can better respond to the instability and unexpected shifts that characterize the interesting times we live in. But how can you implement it in your organization?

Let's start from the beginning – what is Agile?

Being Agile means having the mental and physical capacity to adapt to change with speed and flexibility. In recent years, this term has been used frequently in the business or organizational context, referring to an organization’s ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances and actions taken by competing companies. Due to the accelerating pace of business changes in recent decades, a company’s ability to respond quickly and appropriately to changes is in many cases critical to its success and sometimes even to its survival. (source: Wikipedia) The word appeared in the world of HR around the year 2000, when computer software developers were looking for an efficient work strategy for developing a product while responding quickly to changes in the market. They called this working method "Agile". At first, the pace of changes was not that fast, but the term agile was nevertheless coined as a high-tech concept and resurfaced about a decade later. Until recently, it remained in the background, but now it’s gaining a renewed hype. Its relevance re-emerged with the organizational changes brought about by COVID and reached a boiling point with the accelerated digital development and the unstable economy we have been experiencing since the start of the year. All these changes quite predictably led to uncertainty in organizations and required an immediate response to maintain efficiency in a climate of instability. The answer is of course: agility.

It is not necessarily an innate trait, but a skill that can be developed. It is a flexible work method designed to teach us how to respond to frequent changes in an ever-changing world.

What is the Agile working method?

For the sake of explanation, we will compare Agile to another well-known work method called ‘Waterfall’, according to which we wait for a process to end and only then start a new project. Contrastingly, when processes executed according to the Agile method are not necessarily consecutive but parallel, making things more flexible. For example, when working on a long process with the client, we present the product in parts, even if it is still incomplete but good enough to go live (MVP). We get feedback and rejections, regroup to improve and repeat that process until we reach the desired result. In other words, it is a method that constantly reacts to the situation and keeps us alert, and is therefore a better method for responding to unexpected changes in real time.

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What does agile mean on a daily basis?

The Agile work method is characterized by rituals, such as Daily Standup – a daily 15-minute team synchronizing meeting to make sure that everyone is aligned. Sprints – each work sprint lasts about two weeks, after which the employees synchronize and evaluate performance and results.

In conclusion, one of the most effective business methods for dealing with uncertainty is Agile, which helps organizations adapt to change. The trick is to implement the work method in your organization without raising too many objections. As with any work method, it is necessary to implement it correctly at the internal organizational level. Each organization must find the relevant tools and the right way to implement them so that they serve the company and don’t become a challenge in themselves.

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