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How an Agile Mindset kept businesses afloat during the pandemic

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

It’s 2021 and Agile is everywhere. The agile workplace is becoming increasingly common and the Agile terms populate the corporate world like never before. Agile transformations are not just for IT, they are implemented at every level of organizations, taking over marketing and HR nowadays.


You may ask, what is behind this change, why is Agile more popular than ever? A year ago I would have answered simply that there is proof that small, multidisciplinary autonomous and self-governed teams in agile organizations can respond swiftly and promptly to rapidly changing market opportunities and customer demands. It provides the right amount of flexibility when expected outcomes face uncertain times. Agility is the glue between those predictive predictive outcomes expected at the C level suite and the unpredictability in the everyday environment we live in these days.


Today, I may add that the pandemic has actually forced a lot of traditional thinking companies to shift their mindset and pushed them to be more adaptive or face extension. We have seen this everywhere, high end restaurants digitizing menus to avoid contact; fast food restaurants creating apps to provide the needed flexibility to order for pick up or get your food delivered, and even Ubereats creating certain functionality within their app to buy local and support your small businesses.


In the marketing world it wasn’t any different. There was a need to react faster than ever to a daily changing environment, to respond faster to new customer needs because their own life was changed suddenly and then permanently evolved, needed to be adjusted daily.

Agile is a great success story during the pandemic. More than 80 percent of respondents of Agile transformation initiatives report that overall performance increased moderately or significantly since their transformations began.


Let’s go beyond the “why”, the obvious need for change … how is it that Agile help performance?


 

THE HOW BEHIND THE WHY


At the very core of agility, there is a mindset, that is supported by 4 values and 12 principles.


Those values and principles basically set the tone to establish small self-governed teams with a great deal of autonomy, with full accountability of the process and delivery, making their own decisions on how to achieve their goals and fulfill the executives and end customers expected outcomes.


Now don’t be fooled, It is not a super easy transition. It will take time for any traditional organization that has been working consistently since inception in reports, executive PowerPoints, metrics and all sorts of outputs to prioritize people, collaboration, and outcomes. Needless to say that traditional projects are usually rated “successful” if they have been able to stay within budget, scope and timeline, as opposed to real value provided to the client. Remember, this is how Agile was born, due to the limited value proposed to the end customer when projects where closed, at times, with an outdated solution for them provided at a higher cost that turns obsolete before there is any ROI.



That approach required to be nimble to change and enhance the collaboration as it was known back then, making the working environment much more interactive, enhancing transparency and accountability to meet our end customer needs.


As you can see, it is not different than what we have seen during the start of the pandemic, and the way business had to shit their approach to provide a customer centric approach that was adapted to the new market conditions.


The real return of investment now, is capitalizing on the momentum of this cultural change within these organizations and make continuous improvement a real thing. Thus far, many companies still have continuous improvement as a secondary process to fix something that is broken. That is a classic sign of a reactive mindset, where getting better is not a priority.


At the very core of Agility, we have continuous improvement. The idea of small bite size improvement may seem silly. But when it is done consistently, and it is compounded over time, it makes you, your team and your organization incrementally better over time.


CONSLUSION


The one thing this pandemic have thought every single business owner is that there is a need to adapt, quickly, faster than ever to an ever-changing environment to be resilient and become better at what you do.


If you haven’t started your business Agility journey, you may want to start now and rip the benefits before you are left behind. And if you started adapting to these new market conditions, you may want to come up with strategy to scale it up before you go back to the old ways of working and becoming stagnant while everyone else move faster.


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