The world of business and technology is ever-changing. A recent infotech report indicates that businesses are aware of this ongoing change. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed anticipate many long-term changes to their business as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Digital solutions are at the forefront of these industry developments. The same report shows that companies are creating digital products at a 20% faster rate than before the pandemic.
Organisations need to adapt to these developments. They need to find effective digital solutions, whilst being prepared for the unexpected hurdles that may arise. In a word; they need to be agile.
The term, agile, has become something of a buzzword in industry circles. Often, companies will start implementing processes without considering what it means to operate with an agile methodology. The same issues are found when organisations implement new technology without first establishing a culture of change.
A successful digital transformation is achieved through company buy-in at all levels. Organisations who can accommodate this growth mindset from the start of their digital transformation are likely to see long-term benefits. Similarly, organisations that operate within an agile framework are able to react quickly when changes occur around them.
This article covers 4 of the fundamentals that are required for businesses to be agile and succeed in their digital transformation.
Before any transformation projects take place, an organisation should have a vision for what their ‘digital future’ may look like. As these plans take hold, leaders should then be able to communicate expectations to their development teams.
Knowing the destination is crucial in figuring out how to proceed. Set larger goals that will inform objectives for each project and sprint that takes place throughout the transformation. As sprints take place, teams will gain a clear understanding of what they must accomplish within a particular time frame.
Be sure employees understand the role they play, as well as have the knowledge and skills to meet goals.
This ability to focus on short-term and long-term goals is key for consistency in digital transformation projects. A recent survey by Deloitte shows that a lack of vision or direction can hinder digital transformation projects. Nearly half of respondents (49%) say that a lack of “defined vision” has challenged their digital transformation plans.
Businesses should recognise how smaller tasks feed into the larger objectives of your business plans. This will allow you to motivate teams by emphasising the importance of each task and sprint as it happens. However, an agile mindset should still recognise the inevitable alterations and adjustments that will take place during a digital transformation.
Collaboration is a core principle of the agile manifesto. This principle is about creating networks of trust and forming meaningful connections in your industry. This includes everyone from employees and c-suite executives to software providers and digital transformation partners. Collaboration should be a two-way process, with both sides listening to the concerns and motivations of one another.
Collaboration needs to take place throughout at all levels of an organisation. It is a principle that should be emphasised to all employees. For example, promoting regular communication within teams and between team members and clients will ensure that relationships are strengthened.
Organisations should also seek out the appropriate tools to facilitate collaboration. With the right tools, teams can work together seamlessly regardless of their work location. Employees using collaboration tools has increased by 44% since before the pandemic, according to Gartner. This finding highlights the importance of these tools to today’s hybrid workforce.
3. Continuous Feedback
A form of collaboration in itself, feedback is a crucial component of any successful digital transformation. Feedback comes in many forms, whether it be team meetings, surveys or product reviews. Employees will often have a more intimate understanding of the problems in-hand and can offer useful feedback when called upon.
Rapid development and continuous improvement are essential benefits within the feedback process. A truly agile organisation is one who actively seeks to improve the product during the development process.
A focus on continuous feedback and releases, in particular, furthers functionality while reducing issues before they become more severe. Think, as an organisation, where you can implement prototyping and feedback sessions for optimum agility during product development.
Not all projects can succeed the first time, but even ‘failures’ can provide an opportunity to learn. Agile organisations can encourage a continuous flow of creativity by helping people identify which ideas are useful.
There are a few practices that should be encouraged to create agile teams. These agile practices include test-driven development, product releases and sprints.
Using these practices ensures that any new technology that is implemented into your business processes has been thoroughly tested. Employees are also more likely to buy-in to the transformation itself with the knowledge that their thoughts are being considered.
Underpinning all of these qualities is perhaps the most common characteristic of agile leaders; flexibility.
Being agile, as its name suggests, allows you to respond to unexpected changes in your project and find solutions quickly. This is an essential skill that has real benefits against the changes that organisations face everyday.
Recent events have demonstrated how quickly unexpected changes can occur. Organisations that responded fast and with agility improved processes over time. Organisations that simply reacted to the crisis, on the other hand, faced significant challenges.
Requirements will naturally change as your transformation projects develop. However, being flexible enough to respond to these changes is where agility is proven.
That’s also why an iterative approach is so effective. Operating with this approach allows for greater experimentation.
Approach with Agility
An agile organisation that is equipped with these skills will breed a good working culture where employees feel valued. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of essential skills. Agile processes involve continuous improvement and development.
Treat this approach as you would your projects and strive for continuous improvement and open communications across teams, colleagues and clients.
Audacia is a leading software development company in the UK with extensive experience delivering agile digital transformation initiatives across all sectors.
Need help implementing an agile digital transformation strategy? Get in touch today on 0113 398 4199 or email email@example.com.