Why you need to upskill in Agile

Upskilling people in Agile

Once Christmas ends and the new year arrives, it’s become tradition to set yourself resolutions for the months ahead.

If you’re thinking of ideas to achieve new goals for your career or organisation in 2019, look no further than Agile. This is a way of working that promotes a culture of shared responsibility, experimentation, versatility, and continuous learning within organisations.

Whether it’s increasing productivity, streamlining your workload, or helping you deliver more value to customers, there are a plethora of reasons you should adopt and upskill in Agile. Here are a few.

 1. Improving quality

Iterative working is at the heart of Agile. If you’re developing a new product, or simply working on an important task, you’re encouraged to collect feedback and test the proof-of-concept as you go along. This means you can assess for viability, identify if something has or is likely to go wrong, and seek support from your peers. As a result, you’ll achieve great results for your organisation and stakeholders while producing less waste.

2. Promoting culture

Workplace culture has a massive impact on the morale of employees. If you feel unvalued and unhappy within your organisation, this will have detrimental impact on the work you produce. Agile seeks to change this by creating empowered, cross-functional teams that work together towards shared goals. You’ll learn along the way and feel appreciated more.

3. Effective communication

Regardless of industry, business has been used to a siloed way-of-working for decades. However, this is something Agile eradicates by implementing cross-functional and self-organising teams. Instead of feeling like you need to do everything on your own, you collaborate with colleagues of all backgrounds to meet deadlines and achieve results for the organisation. As well as improving communication, this reduces timely hand-off processes.

4. Visibility

Agile working improves visibility of your workload, starting with the daily stand-up meeting. Taking place for around 15 minutes, it’s an opportunity for you to update your colleagues on the things you are working on, raise any concerns, and ask for support if it’s needed. Kanban boards are often used to show the different stages of work, allowing you to get a better picture of what your team is doing and how smooth work is flowing.

5. Experimentation

What’s great about Agile is that you’re encouraged to experiment. Whether that’s creating a new product or changing your work setup, you’ll learn skills to respond to change quickly and innovate constantly. And when you don’t get the results you intended, this isn’t a bad thing but an opportunity to learn. At the end of each iteration, you and your colleagues will take part in a retrospective to explore how things went and how you can improve next time.

6. Better focus

There’s nothing worse than having a million things to do at once and little time to do them in. You end up missing deadlines and feeling demotivated. In Agile, teams work iteratively and commit to an agreed workload that’ll be completed collaboratively. This keeps you focused, limits work in progress (WIP), and makes it easier to identify and eradicate bottlenecks.

7. Project success

When starting a project, it’s easy to find the prospect of meeting deadlines and objectives daunting. But with Agile, you’re more likely to succeed. According to a study from PwC, Agile projects are 28 per cent more successful than those that use traditional waterfall methods.

Using Agile practices not only gives you the best opportunity to deliver a successful product, but to build the right thing for your customers. In a waterfall world, the determining factors for project success are typically delivering it on time, on budget, and on scope for different stake holders. However, organisations fail to ask themselves whether projects deliver value for the business and customer. While Agile working allows you to regularly reflect on how the project is progressing, it also lets you continually learn and refine.

8. Greater empowerment

Regardless of your role in a project, your opinion is valued. For waterfall working, it’s very much the business saying: “this what we want” and “this is how we want you to build it”. Agile promotes the idea of setting aligned goals and empowering teams to achieve them on their own terms. And using the continuous feedback gained throughout the iteration, you can quickly improve the way you work.

9. A proven method

Research shows that Agile is having a transformative effect on organisations. After Forbes surveyed 500 business executives, 92 per cent of them said Agile working underpins business success. Meanwhile, 84 per cent of respondents called Agile an essential part of digital transformation. Harvard Business Review says agile has revolutionised the information technology market. It’s not only increasing the success and quality of projects, but also motivating teams.

To learn more about Agile, check out our courses.

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