Agile principles in times of rapid change

Agile principles in times of rapid change
May 2 2020

Nowadays, humanity is facing the first planetary health crisis in the digital era. The impact of this disaster is unquantifiable on the worldwide economy, all activities are deeply impacted by this scourge.  

The question here is how Agile methodology used in our industry is the best fit during times of disruption such as the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The key is being able to adapt and better respond to this challenging time by following the agile principles.  

The foundations of Agile Methodology are:

  • 1- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • 2- Working software over heavy documentation 
  • 3- Customer collaboration over negotiation 
  • 4- Responding to change over following a plan

Needless to say, the agile methodology focusses on quick wins and improvements in small increments while having a precise long-term plan with achievable objectives. Similarly, for the COVID-19 situation, the health and lives of citizens are prominent - however, business managers need to keep a long-term plan to anticipate the post-crisis period, how their businesses will emerge, and prepare for recovery.  

Another point, which is crucial in order to make quick and right decisions, is disposing of cross-functional teams within the company. With cross-functional teams, the firm will avoid lengthy analysis processes involving too many Stakeholders. Agile programs enable companies to generate fast and smart decisions based on information obtained from customers or stakeholders. The current COVID-19 crisis similarly asks business leaders to have cross-functional teams in the field for a seamless decision-making process on the field. 

At Netopia, we have adopted this approach to make this challenging time simpler and to continue producing a minimum workable product at the end of each delivery cycle, or “sprint”.  This results in a reduction of uncertainty and an increase in fast iterative feedback between teams and customers, which is absolutely crucial in times of such rapid change.