The consumer demand for faster, better digital interactions has changed the way we live, work, travel, get paid, seek entertainment, and more. Companies who can move fast, deliver fast, and evolve quickly have dominated the past decade by supplying the public with what they crave: online and mobile interactions that are useful, fast, easy, and perfectly tailored to their wants and needs.
Many companies are able to meet these challenges because they use Agile methodology. Agility centers around the notion that it’s better to write and release code quickly and repeatedly through an iterative process of testing and improving rather than waiting until the entire product is fully developed to release it to the public. Instead of waiting months to release a new feature or respond to feedback on a product, Agile teams can pivot much faster and rewrite code in a matter of days or weeks.
So what’s this got to do with an organization that’s not in the business of developing software? Plenty, actually. Agile isn’t just a set of principles to get software out faster. It’s also a mindset that almost any business can adopt in order to move faster in a changing world in order to keep up with their competitors and satisfy their customers.
Here are 3 ways that incorporating Agile methodology and mindset into your own business can bring valuable, long-term benefits — the type that matter the most in the 21st century.
1. Agile Enables Your Business to Adapt to Changing Environments
Long gone are the days when the dominant, long-established businesses ruled the market with traditional business models. These models looked a little something like this:
- Design a product.
- Market the product.
- Convince consumers to buy the product.
- Wait for customers to buy it.
- If it doesn’t sell, scrap it and start again.
When markets shifted and their product was no longer in demand, they’d have to reinvent their company or risk fading away into oblivion. Think of Kodak, the photography giant that dominated the photography scene for over a century. When digital sharing of photos came along, they didn’t adapt and in 2012 went bankrupt. The huge company did purchase Ofoto, a digital photo company, but used that purchase to leverage a campaign that promoted printing photos at home.
What they failed to realize was that people wouldn’t just want to print out their own photos at home. They’d want to share them online, which is much easier and faster and doesn’t involve any extra equipment. They also didn’t develop any technologies for using smartphones to take pictures.
But the real problem that Kodak had and which so many giant enterprises still have today is that they’re too entrenched in their old business models. These outdated models focus on what they think people would like rather than on what consumers are actually demanding in the moment. Previously, companies like Kodak didn’t have to move fast to respond to changing environments because they dominated the marketplace in their industries.
These days, if businesses don’t refocus their mission on something more customer-centric, they’ll quickly find themselves becoming irrelevant in the 21st century.
2. Agile Creates a Shorter Development Process
Another problem for companies like Kodak is that they’re too entrenched in cumbersome processes which stress developing products to their fullest extent before releasing them to the public. It’s an “all-or-nothing” strategy that really has little to fall back on when a product flops. For them, when something doesn’t work or won’t sell, it’s back to Square One.
On the other hand, there’s Agile methodology which allows for changes to be acted upon quickly. The development process is faster because it’s meant to be iterative, not final. This is why Agile teams develop products with input from users throughout the entire development process. It starts from the beginning, with teams continually checking back with stakeholders and then tweaking the product based on how people react to it.
Bottom line: Markets change fast and consumer preferences change even faster. Agile helps businesses meet these changing needs on a timely basis because it’s an iterative process that stresses fast releases and relatively easy changes.
3. Agile Reduces Risks
Contrary to other methodologies, Agile promotes shorter realise cycles and more frequent deliveries, and as a consequence the possibility of ensuring quality in the products reducing risks when it will be finally launched to the market. In this way the chances a product reaches complete failure, are almost null.
Agile allows launch to market a product on an early stage, while we can keep improving it. This is crucial, especially for those who are looking for funding on initial stages and need to test how much viable their MVP is.
By focusing on cameras, we’ve missed a lot of industries that are equally ripe for Agile transformation. Hopefully, however, this has given a little insight on how organizations beyond software development companies like our own can benefit from Agile principles and the mindset that goes along with the methodology. And hopefully, more businesses will begin to see that Agile transformation is a worthwhile journey to take. If you’d like to learn more about how Agile works, check out the other posts we’ve published over on our blog.