Juggling the need to provide a quality service while staying within budget and keeping people safe, happy and motivated in their work is a skill that we all need to master.
Yet, it has become especially challenging in today’s volatile marketplace, with conditions changing so rapidly, often through the evolution of technology, that organisations can struggle to keep up.
Awareness of this changing face of business goes as far back as the 1970s and before the 1990s were over, a new set of tools and techniques had emerged which together brought a refreshing new approach to dealing with change.
These were initially focused on the IT development sector, where the pace of change was accelerating fastest, and the new paradigm became enshrined in 2001 with the creation of the Agile Manifesto for software development; the new tools – which included
Extreme Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) and Scrum became known as Agile methods and, while they all evolved in their own directions, to fit the contexts in which they were used, they were united in many ways.
Understanding the Agile Paradigm
Before Agile, software project management relied largely on following established processes and with specialist employees trained to carry out their task using the tools they were trained to use. The problem was that by the time the project was delivered, the customer’s needs had changed and the technology had moved on. What was needed was a more iterative approach and this is what Agile delivered.
Instead of focusing on processes and tools, Agile put the employees, customers and other stakeholders at the centre of the project and prioritised:
The implementation of Agile methods led to an emergence of entrepreneurial spirit among employees who found themselves with more autonomy and flexibility.
Making use of Agile in your People team
With its innate respect for the capability of people, Agile is particularly suited to HR. The early 21st Century has seen the concept of Agile expand from its software development roots and become a modern management ”style” for a dynamic new world.
Less project-driven businesses have managed to survive the Agile revolution while sticking to traditional instruct and control management frameworks, but the destabilising effects of new technologies and empowered customers (and not to forget your employee brand advocates) can no longer be ignored.
To thrive, a modern company needs to adapt swiftly to change and to involve the end user in every step of their development.
That is what Agile is all about.