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Publised On:Mar 09, 2023
Agile ways of working (WoW) are consistently associated with Software Development industry in particular and IT in general. While it is true that credit for invention of Agile goes to software industry, it is a misconception that only IT can benefit from Agile ways of working (or project management).
Before we get down into the debate of Agile for everyone or not for everyone, let's first define Agile. As per Oxford Languages (world's leading dictionary publisher), Agile means “to be able to (physically) move quickly and easily”.
We all know that being able to climb trees with agility, monkeys are able to avoid any threats on the ground. However, do only monkeys climb trees with agility? It is no hidden fact that Cheetahs can also climb trees with good speed and reach their prey or save themselves from predators.
Moreover, Cheetahs are the fastest running animals on the ground. The way they are able to move their bodies to reach the top speed in shortest possible time and manoeuvre swiftly by adjust their speed and direction according to the situation is indeed being very agile.
Elephants are slow moving animals and need much longer to cover the distance that Cheetah's can cover in a few seconds. Do they not move their trunks and their ears in sudden and swift ways? Should we not consider such moves as Agile moves? This means an elephant can't be agile entirely but it demonstrates agility in some movements !
There will be no disagreement on the fact that every business needs to be flexible and should be able to respond to ever changing threats and opportunities in its environment (generally called Enterprise Agility). While every business needs to remain relevant to their domain, by no means it stops them from being agile (at least in areas which allow and need agility).
Civil engineering is considered to be the mother of all engineering and the creator of structured project management and of course the sequential or waterfall project management as we know it today was first used in civil industry. If you believe that construction projects can't be agile, think again !
Imagine a 60 story sky scrapper is being constructed while build of each floor is time boxed where a team (developers) strives to achieve the objectives of timebox, attending the daily standup meeting every morning, completing the daily plan and working very closely with the architect (product owner). It is somewhat agile, isn't it?
Sometimes we become so attached to a way of working that we can't imagine anything else being worked at from a different perspective. A neutral pair of eyes (a coach/ facilitator) can definitely help us break out of our encapsulated thought process and explore better ways of working brining efficiency and effectiveness to our work.
Similarly, we will be able to find one or more agile characteristics in our “normal” ways of working, making us much more agile than we think we are:
Let's take the example of project management. It won't be wrong to state that until the introduction of Agile frameworks and approaches, the world of project management was very much dominated by traditional (Waterfall) methods for project management. However, Agile's influence on the project management world today continues to rise at pace.
Agile Project Management (AgilePM®) framework provides excellent guidance on how to achieve an ideal balance between the standards, rigour and visibility required for good project management, and the fast-pace, change and empowerment provided by agile. The Agile Business Consortium created the AgilePM Handbook and partners with APMG to develop the associated accredited Agile Project Management training and certification program.
Even if a single one of above points helps us deliver more value in our daily (professional) life, we are on the right track to be agile. While there are benefits in usual ways of working, agile is here to add more value and Agile is for everyone !
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