Agile techniques have hit the world of business like a tidal wave over the past few years and for good reason. Although a lot of people only have a surface understanding of what an agile workplace could look like, there’s enough content out there to convince anyone that it is worth looking into.
The holy grail of modern companies, an agile working environment is one that can think, act, and react quickly and effectively. Quite opposed to rigid structures, an agile mindset can help teams adapt to an ever-changing business landscape, rather than falling victim to traditional, stale practices. You’ll easily be able to break down barriers and innovate with ideas all within a flexible sphere.
You can implement agility into all areas of your business, from scrum project management to stand-up meetings and collaborative documents, with a constant eye for improvement. Similarly, you can adopt tools that promote agile processes, such as Kanban boards, a range of communication tools, and a company intranet with real-time updates.
So now you know how to identify agility in the workplace, let’s take a look at how to get there.
Gone are the days where presenteeism reigned supreme. With the right tools in place, you can loosen the chain and treat your team like adults. Your agile working visualizations make it abundantly clear if someone isn’t pulling their weight, and you can usually solve issues with a quick video call. If things get a bit trickier, consider using time tracking technology so your team can keep a record of their time, getting in the hours whenever necessary.
So what benefits does flexibility offer?
When it comes to hiring your staff, flexible location and hours allow you to pick the best talent from any country or time zone. This gives you a diverse workforce so you can draw on a vast array of experience. Once they’re on board, the freedom will keep them sweet in comparison to relatively restrictive conditions at other companies, and hey, who wouldn’t want to save on office rental costs?
While there are agile workplace pros and cons, a lack of organization needn’t fall into the con category. Contrary to this common misconception, agile companies tend to give each worker a “home” in their traditional department, but will quickly assemble inter-departmental teams when necessary. Imagine this very realistic paradise — no room for micromanagement and possessive bosses.
Take the scrum method for example. Whether you see it as art or science, it has been curated to work in pretty much any team in any industry. You have your Scrum Master, your Product Owner, and the rest of the team working at a highly regimented rhythm.
The “agile” aspect comes into play when you’re looking for new directions to take or exploring ideas that might seem pretty out of the box. These creative adventures can only happen on top of a solid structure, where meticulous records are kept, full transparency is key, and — most importantly — the end goals are ever-present.
As previously mentioned, one of the key benefits of an agile workplace is being more dynamic rather than sticking to a rigid structure — and there is no better area for example than in project management.
Rather than filtering tasks down to individuals who complete them within their own little world, it’s far more beneficial for everybody to create workgroups. Take for example a marketing campaign. You may need a copywriter, a designer, a developer, a sales manager, and a project manager to cover all your bases, so you should bring them together for specific time slots during the week so they can all share their ideas, rather than reporting to their respective line managers.
Communication is a key part of agile workflows. Schedule stand-up meetings to share updates, create a Kanban board so everybody can follow the progress of the project and understand their role. By breaking out of your departmental silos, you’ll soon find your teams collaborating efficiently and producing work that is far more rounded — a great benefit of agility in the workplace.
Part of the agile mindset involves adapting to new information or new strategies, and focusing on what works best. There is no room for personal attachments to tasks — if it ain’t working, you have to move on.
Developers have a lot to teach us here. They work with iteration — repeating processes in different ways to achieve your desired outcomes. A very simple version of this is A/B testing. Is your B outperforming your A? Stick with B before testing it against C.
Of course, this doesn’t mean steaming into a project with no prior planning and attacking an objective until you reach it. You will of course have a list of tasks to achieve a goal, you’ll just need to be ready to change your approach when necessary.
Iteration is an efficient, logical way of working towards your objectives, but it doesn’t come naturally to everybody. Before the widespread acceptance of strategic agility in the workplace, the idea of working on a project only to abandon it 75% of the way through would have seemed ludicrous. And it’s not like the general population has instantly got used to the idea. Changing tack is a brave move, and it can unsettle teams who have worked hard to get to where they are.
Luckily, there are all kinds of ways of implementing this mindset, keeping everybody motivated even when you move in new directions. Try the Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge, for example, or use an analogy of a police officer who stops investigating a suspect when it becomes clear they are innocent.
By encouraging a company culture of agility in the workplace, you’ll avoid the frustration and possible burnout that comes with an unprepared team working on iterations.
Whether it’s your organizational structure, your work processes, or the physical premises of your office, there are myriad ways you can implement agility in the workplace.
Bitrix24 offers the tools you need to match your new mindset. With project management software, a full suite of communication channels, collaborative docs, and a whole host of other features, you can use it as a springboard for changes in your company.
With 10,000,000 happy customers already, you’ve got nothing to lose — get started for free today!