Agile is a methodology that seeks to empower teams to be more flexible and dynamic, allowing them to collaborate better and react more quickly to changes and opportunities. Agile principles can be applied to any industry, but adoption can be undermined due to uncertainty or misunderstandings about what Agile actually is.
Let’s take a look at some of these misconceptions for ourselves and find out the truth about Agile.
Five Common Myths About Agile, Debunked
- Agile is only for software development.
Though it is most widely known for its origins in software development, Agile project management has since gained much wider popularity. The Agile methodology and its many frameworks and tools, such as Scrum and Kanban, have proven that iterative processes focused on flexibility, continuous improvement, visibility and collaboration help project teams work better together and create better deliverables in a wide range of industries, from IT to marketing and beyond.
- Business agile = Agile project management.
As a large organization, it’s natural to balk at the idea of making your business more “agile” if you’re under the impression that this would mean upending your entire project management strategy. Luckily, going business agile means nothing of the sort.
Instead, business agile describes the adoption of overarching principles aimed at making your entire organization more flexible, better able to adapt to change, and more successful in the long-run. Some of these principles include continuous improvement through reflection, employee empowerment, stronger collaboration, and more… no matter what your preferred project management methodology is. So while Agile project management does refer to a set of specific project management methodologies, business agile can mark more of a culture shift for an entire organization.
- It’s just for people who don’t like organization.
While the drive to cut down on hierarchies and extensive documentation might strike some as unbridled anarchy, the point is that making a business more agile means being able to make decisions faster. Often those best equipped to make a crucial decision about a project are those who are closest to the work, which means empowering decision-making at the team level. This actually takes a great amount of organization, but it might happen between team members and leads rather than in a more traditional top-down fashion.
- There’s a “right time” to start adoption.
Let’s face it – there’s always a reason not to do something. It’s natural to think, “If only we weren’t in the middle of X,” or “Maybe we’ll get to it in the New Year,” but these rationales assume that Agile needs some perfect, magical launch point to get started.
The truth is that Agile can actually fold very well into existing projects and processes. It doesn’t require one “big-bang” changeover. In fact, adoption often works best when an organization tackles low-hanging fruit first – i.e., the processes that will be easiest to change. Starting small – for example, implementing Agile project management with one team or project to start – can give you an idea of how amenable your business is to evolution on a larger scale.
Case in point: Most major enterprises that have adopted agile practices, such as IBM, have done so by moving a manageable number of teams to Agile, while taking the time to learn the lessons from each adaptation.
- Only startups can actually implement Agile.
Apart from the lack of capital, product awareness or brand loyalty, startups have it easy in a few ways. For one thing, their management structures are a bit of a blank canvas. Adopting an Agile approach from the start is a good way to empower employees to be innovative, creative and self-sufficient, which makes it a favored approach for startups.
But this doesn’t mean that being business agile isn’t a scalable enterprise, as many of the incremental benefits that it provides will only really make an impact when implemented on a large scale. Sure, an Agile approach can help startups to grow quickly, but it also has the power to transform larger businesses that need ways to adapt and keep up with today’s pace.
Adopting Agile methodologies for your team or making your business agile are both made easier with the use of software specifically designed with Agile in mind. Clarizen’s suite of project management and PPM software offers a versatile range of products, whether you need to support specific teams using Agile methodologies or facilitate broader agility across your organization. Schedule a Live Demo today to explore our products.