Agility is not only important for us as individuals. It also plays an important role in social and economic terms. Being able to react quickly and flexibly to various external circumstances is of enormous importance, especially in a technology-driven era such as today. Rapidly advancing changes in technology force companies to make internal structures and processes as agile as possible. In addition, global events can influence the way companies work – as the current situation has just shown once again. So the question arises: How can we optimise the agile transformation in 2020?
Agile work environment meets SMEs
Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular are in a state of upheaval. They have outgrown the size of a start-up, which means that the relatively flexible structure with short communication channels is no longer so easy to realise. Product development methods traditionally used so far often reach their limits due to their linear orientation. New forms of work must be identified and adapted to the individual company requirements. This process can be time-consuming. But the COVID 19 pandemic is currently forcing SMEs to rethink quickly. New methods had to be introduced ad hoc, such as remote meetings, online conferences and daily stand-ups. This was the only way to ensure quality and safety in the development of products and services and to maintain supply chains. In doing so, the most diverse technical and organisational hurdles had to be overcome.
The COVID 19 pandemic: wicked problem and opportunity at once
The key to mastering these challenges lies in understanding the crisis as an opportunity. It offers the possibility to create a new work culture that can react quickly to disruptive changes in the future through greater flexibility of new technologies. Often, the methods currently used originate from the agile working world and have been practiced in the software industry for a long time. Design Thinking approaches are one example from the software industry’s wealth of methods. They are particularly suitable for solving so-called “wicked problems”. Wicked problems are new and relatively complex problems for which there is no defined solution value – such as during the corona crisis. Therefore, we also understand the COVID 19 pandemic as such a wicked problem.
Your interim conclusion: agile or still uncertain?
For agile transformation to succeed, however, the advantages and limitations of newly deployed technologies must be carefully weighed up. Especially in the beginning, users are often uncertain and must first gain confidence in the new workflows or find out how they fit into already established development processes. However, removing these uncertainties is of central importance for the use of new forms of work. Therefore, after almost two months of crisis and contact restrictions, the time has come to take stock of the situation. Which forms of work have you used in your company and with what success? Is it worthwhile to implement newly used processes and tools in a sustainable way in your product development? What challenges do your team colleagues face in the agile world of work? All these questions should be discussed in order to generate a sustainable company value from the experience gained.
UseTree can support
We at UseTree support you in drawing an interim conclusion for your company or project team and in identifying potential for optimisation. Agile methods introduced ad hoc are often initially integrated into existing processes in a rather unstructured, random and isolated way. We help you to see the bigger picture and derive resulting innovation potentials. For this purpose, we combine approaches from Design Thinking and User Centered Design to develop individual solutions for the change processes in your company. This hybrid approach opens up greater scope for development, which is not always visible when only one method is used.
What do we want to achieve?
- Prepare your company for rapid changes and a targeted handling of wicked problems
- Sifting, organising and structuring your agile working environment – with special focus on ad hoc introduced processes during the COVID 19 pandemic
- Guiding your project team to develop new and innovative perspectives to respond to new challenges – for example by using empathy exercises, “what if”-scenarios and a user-oriented way of thinking
- Together with you, we develop a framework that facilitates agile working and enables the integration of already introduced methods into your process chain.
Do you have further questions or do you need support with the optimisation of your agile working environment?
We look forward to hearing from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
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