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Linking to Trends – Trend 3: Continued use of agile and lean

Linking to trends – Trend 3: Continued use of agile and lean

If you missed parts 1 & 2 of our “Linking to trends” series, you can read all about the key technology shifts for 2017 here and the focus of product over projects here.  This week we’re looking at trend number 3:  The continued use of agile and lean.

With customers becoming more and more demanding, there’s a lot of pressure on companies to not only deliver faster, but also to up their value proposition.  The allure of lean’s zero waste philosophy and agile’s rapid and flexible delivery nature has got many businesses asking:  What can we do to reap some of the rewards of these mindset shifts?

A full business overhaul to achieve a textbook view of being agile or lean is not always possible, therefore the trend focuses more on adopting certain practices that bring you closer to the goal, while still operating in a bit of a hybrid state.

We predict changes in 4 key areas:

Now more than ever, companies will be taking a critical look at their people costs. This goes beyond ensuring that you have the right people doing the right jobs, it also includes finding more creative ways of getting the job done.  Costs related to office space, supplies and supporting facilities can rack up quite a bill, leading many to question whether colocation really is that necessary.  The emergence and growing popularity of virtual collaboration tools has made it much easier for people to work remotely and for teams from various geographic locations to come together to create great things.

Analysis & documentation
Gone are the days where you had to have it all figured out upfront.  It’s OK (and even encouraged) to hit the ground running as quickly as possible and then adapt and evolve as you’re able to learn from real customer feedback.  This has meant a need to become more light-weight when it comes to documentation.  User stories and visual modelling techniques are two great examples of how business and system requirements can be described in a more simplified manner.

Business processes
To improve your company’s reactiveness to market changes, you must ensure that your business processes are streamlined as much as possible. This is achieved by cutting out steps that either don’t add value, take too long, cause wastage, or create bottlenecks of some kind.  To support this movement, there will also be a move to flatter structures and increased employee empowerment with regards to decision-making and the implementation of new processing ideas.

Change management
Even the smallest change in process, strategy or direction can take quite some time (and quite a bit of effort) to implement.  But change within a lean, agile world is unavoidable. Companies that will do well are those who can embrace and promote change as a positive challenge rather than a daunting task.  Change management will become key to supporting this ever-changing landscape and to ensure that comfort zones are replaced with constant out of the box thinking.

Making these kinds of shifts can be a challenging task, particularly if you don’t have the right people driving them.  In some instances, guidance from someone who isn’t too personally attached to the way things work at present is what’s needed to move things forward.  Contact us today to find out how we can help get your business into the agile and/or lean space.

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