Two people discussing agile methods with a board in front of them with sticky notes

Every business that has seen the light of success day has at one point or another put a structure to their processes, no matter the kind of service they offer. Working with an established business model charts a course for the business, to begin with, and marks important decision making moments for both the stakeholders in the business and the customers they hope to serve.

One way to establish a proper process is through a methodology. Many methodologies exist in the business world, one of the most successful over time is the agile methodology. Any business that adopts the agile methodology is called an agile company.

What is the agile methodology?

The agile methodology provides plenty of room for changes and adaptability. This is because it works with principles that govern it around these values (agilemanifesto.org). When people mention agile, what instantly comes to mind is software development, however, some sources provide that the agile methodology was not meant for software development alone initially.

However, over time, it has become more popular in the field of software development. This does not suggest that it will not fit properly within any other organisation or field.

What does it mean to be an agile company?

The agile company is ‘incremental and iterative”. This is to say that an agile company begins with a goal in mind, but does not make a 5-year long plan to achieve this goal. Instead, the company sources for the immediate solution they can provide and builds on it over time. In the course of building, if users’ or customers’ needs change, the goal changes and adapts to what the customer wants.

This means that if company XYZ plans to provide a certain kind of service by 2025, as an agile company, it will not fully develop a 3-year plan from 2022. Instead, it will measure out what is achievable first of all in line with the goal and develop it. It breaks tasks down amongst the team and the time the first achievable result is produced is called a sprint.

This first result is sent into the market to be tested by users or customers, who in turn provide feedback. The feedback of the customers determines the next course of action for the company and what happens in the next sprint.

6 Features of an agile company

Have you wondered about the features of an agile company? Or why you should grow your business the agile way? Check out the features below.

people in a workspace

1. Incremental

An agile company produces products or provides services in stages. At each release, the company provides a working product or service that is usable. The product is usually referred to as a growing product because it continues to increase depending on the needs of the users.

2. Welcomes changing requirements

Because human beings are dynamic, there is no telling, for sure, what they need to solve their problems and satisfy them at a particular time and place. So, because needs change depending on various factors, product requirements, etc, what a product sets out to solve changes. In other words, an agile company responds to change by following a plan.

3. Priority is customer satisfaction

The measure of success and the guiding principle in agile methodology is the customer’s happiness and satisfaction. A product or service fails when customers can or will rather do without it, ouch!

4. Works at an indefinite, yet constant pace

Because of its incremental nature and its ability to adapt to changes, there is no definite end time for the development of the product or service. The growth is continual and timeless. What matters is that the growth is constant and consistent.

5. Team support

The agile team is to be supported with everything they need in order to provide a conducive environment for them to provide a working product for the business. They are trusted to deliver what they have been employed to do.

6. Team collaboration

This does not only mean the people actively building or providing their services. Everyone within the company, including the business higher-ups, is involved in the progress of the product development. Everyone must work together every day; no independence in agility.

4 steps to build an agile company and team

Have you wondered how to build an agile company? Or grow your business the agile way? Check out the steps below.

1. Breakdown projects and goals into sprints

Build a marketable product or service, stop, test, get feedback, continue. As an agile company, you will be taking a lot of halts on your way to developing your dream product.

2. Set SMART goals for each sprint

The team should not begin a sprint without a goal that marks the end of the sprint. Every goal should be realistic. For instance, gathering a thousand clients in 2 days for an outsourcing company is very close to impossible. It is simply not realistic. These goals should be SMART (smart, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).

3. Create a backlog of projects and tasks

In lieu of the goal, everyone should have defined tasks assigned to them. It works better if you have a tool like ClickUp, Asana, Monday.com to assign these tasks, so everyone sees what they have to do and how long they have to execute fully what they have to do.

4. Conduct daily stand-ups

Encourage an accountability culture where everyone in the team provides a report of what they did the previous day, what they could not achieve (impediments), what they need to move forward, what they hope to achieve that day, what they need to achieve the goal(s). This helps everyone know where they are and how fast they need to move.

A company that wants to put in a proper structure to their processes can adopt the agile means. This way, the teams are made to feel like a part of the business and are accountable to each other. Business growth is also quickened because the business gets to understand the market they serve and what their needs are per time, and they build the company and product in line with this need.

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