1. Agile helps you deal with rapidly changing priorities
Dealing with changing priorities is probably the most important reason for Agile working. Rapidly changing priorities and uncertainty block traditional organizations, while they are fuel for agile organizations. Agile organizations are designed to deal with uncertainty and change. Seeing change and responding to it, is part of their strategy. Whimsicality and uncertainty are the rule rather than the exception. Agile organizations are equipped to respond to different scenarios, to quickly translate strategy into work and to deliver value. That makes moving forward a lot less awkward and painful.
2. Agile working increases visibility and predictability
If everything is uncertain, where can I find support? People benefit from a certain degree of stability and predictability. The outside world cannot offer that comfort, which is why agile organizations take care of this task themselves by working in stable teams and with a joint rhythm.
Working day after day with the same people on a common goal ensures that employees know each other well, know how to use each other's qualities and feel safe to commit 100% and take risks. No guts no glory!
A shared rhythm (also called heartbeat or cadence) ensures that strategy, work and deadlines are reviewed and that adjustments can be made on time. Agile organizations and teams are like dolphins (as opposed to submarines), you always know where they are because they move just below the surface of the water and you occasionally catch a glimpse of them. This visibility builds trust and facilitates collaboration and timely adjustment by colleagues, customers and stakeholders.
3. Agile working ensures everyone is working together
A continuous challenge for large and small organizations is to make sure that everyone is aligned and strives towards the same goal. That employees know the latest state of affairs and can use the most up-to-date strategy in their work instead of going solo or waiting for the rest of the organization. There are 3 perspectives here: horizontal (knowing what everyone is doing), bottom-up (knowing what your employees are struggling with) and top-down (knowing where management wants to go). Agile working offers solutions for all these alignment issues:
Horizontal: working in teams ensures that you never work alone or only from your own perspective or discipline. By organizing reviews and overcoming dependencies, you ensure that teams are aligned with each other.
Bottom-up: by ensuring that blockages are resolved quickly, you ensure that teams overcome problems that threaten the project.
Top-down: by always translating your strategy into work, you ensure that teams can always do meaningful work.
4. Agile working brings back pleasure
Agile working brings humanity back into the workplace. People are social beings who want to do meaningful work. We've often lost connection with this aspect in the last decades, and with it our work pleasure has decreased. Agile working requires everyone to take 'his whole self' to work, with all the skills, quirks and motivations. Being able to take everything with you to work releases a lot of energy.
5. Agile working shortens lead times
If there is one thing that people cannot stand, it is doing meaningless work. Spending your days on things nobody is waiting for. Agile working forces you to do the most valuable work first and with focus. That means that the most important things are finished faster and lead times are therefore shorter. How is that possible? Agile working forces you to choose and it stops fragmentation.
Why doesn't everybody work agile?
If it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. Everything above is true, but not easy. Here too Bushnell's law applies: easy to understand, hard to master. In other words, agile work and organization is an art. When did you last make real choices and give yourself focus?
Author of this article: Geeke van Bruggen, Organize Agile
Translated and published with permission of Organize Agile
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