Today’s business climate is rife with challenges, among them a rising competition for talent, upended supply chains—and as exemplified during the global pandemic—the need to rapidly shift product design to meet the ever-evolving demands and expectations of customers.
Organizations need transformative abilities grounded in faster, more agile ways of working in order to roll with, and not behind, the changing tides. Ultimately, this leads to becoming a more customer-focused organization instead of one mired in increasingly outdated processes. In other words, one that focuses on outcomes rather than output.
Understanding Business Agility
Agile transformation has become an industry buzz-term signaling market responsiveness and productivity. But what does such agility entail, really?
Broadly, it’s implementing a more iterative, collaborative, and transparent manner of getting things done, faster—from top-level decision-making and capital-expenditure alignments to product development and design. It removes traditional hierarchical roadblocks and drawn-out processes in favor of more innovative, data-driven decisions and actions.
This is especially imperative at the product level, where agile teams rely on shorter development sprints as opposed to longer cycles, and benefit from customer-feedback loops so they can frequently experiment, test, review, and revise without sacrificing quality.
Foremostly, and at all levels of the organization, the agile mindset takes customer needs into account all along the way. It continually asks these questions:
• What are customers’ top pain points and how can we most quickly resolve them?
• How can we make ourselves easier to do business with?
• How can we empower our teams to best fulfill these essential objectives?
At the pandemic’s onset, many organizations realized the failures of monolithic systems and inflexible processes that thwarted their ability to shift gears speedily. Consider a financial institution unable to easily transition from largely in-person banking to 100-percent online banking, or the retailer that struggles to understand their customers and their purchasing habits/trends.
True agility means giving the customer what they need most, right now and in the most seamless manner.
Beyond CX and UX
In addition to intrinsically embracing a more customer-centric way of doing business, agile transformation requires:
• Greater transparency of communications and decisions, ensuring both leaders and teams understand the “why,” and that management is privy to teams’ in-the-trenches insights
• Development of robust strategies and backlogs that ensure common understanding
• Provide people with greater latitude to experiment, fail, and learn from those mistakes
• Creation of stronger leaders and teams through HR practices that prioritize employee satisfaction, skills development, and upward career paths
The latter point, in fact, is key for attaining and retaining a top-level workforce in today’s competitive business arena. In-demand IT talent are easily recruited away to greener pastures when not being provided with such support in their current capacities.
The bottom line is that, from top-level decisions to product design and customer journey maps to employee enrichment, agile thinking must inform the way all aspects of business are executed.
Redefining Your Organization In a Digital World
Consulting Solutions’ Agile + Product + Design Practice is created to help organizations move to a more agile way of working, whether the desire is to transform the entire organization or to begin by implementing agile strategies at the team level. For those already implementing agile, we can also help break anti-patterns to optimize results.
Organizations that adapt agile product and design principles are empowering themselves to deliver high-quality, impactful work to customers in a way that meets their most immediate needs. In our hyper-competitive, always-on world, customer-first will increasingly be core to the mission statements of tomorrow’s successful companies.