How to adopt an agile culture for your IT project team?
Around the world, more and more companies are choosing an agile approach in order to improve delivery, increase speed and expand the customer and employee experience.
At its core, enterprise-level agility represents the transition of strategy, structure, processes, people and technology to a new operating model. This allows organizations to operate with hundreds of autonomous, high-performing teams supported by a stable backbone.
However, the human dimension, especially the cultural one, is ultimately the most difficult to implement. In this article, the offshore outsourcing company Bocasay provides an overview of key processes you can use in order to establish an agile culture within your company’s next IT project.
What is an agile culture in the IT development industry?
In general, corporate culture can be described as:
- Corporate Behaviors
All of the above essentially shape the social and psychological environment of an organization.
Agile culture provides companies with a set of values, behaviors, and practices that are used to succeed in an environment characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Its success also comes from promoting, encouraging, rewarding and leveraging the flexible and innovative behavior of people within the organization. This is fueled by three components of intrinsic motivation:
Building an agile culture makes IT teams more adaptable, flexible, innovative and resilient in the face of complexity, uncertainty and challenging market environments.
Elements of an agile organizational culture
An agile organizational culture consists of the following elements:
1 – Goal-oriented: All employees support the company’s vision and know how their work contributes to achieving the company’s goals.Employees embody the company’s values, both within the organization and in their interactions with colleagues and customers, which influence their behavior.
2 – Adaptability: Agile organizations react proactively and quickly to changes in the environment, while maintaining a solid and stable core. As a result, new ideas are quickly adopted, their feasibility verified and employees are able to take calculated risks.
3 – Trust and Transparency: Open and transparent communication contributes to a positive organizational culture characterized by the active sharing of knowledge and resources. This creates an environment in which others can express their opinions openly and honestly, creating a psychological sense of safety.
4 – An ability to innovate and learn: Employees are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas. This means, for example, that employees use new methods and tools to solve existing problems with new approaches. It is important for companies to see failure as an opportunity to learn from, and ultimately, to create an environment in which better results can be achieved.
𝔻𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕟𝕪’𝕤 𝕒𝕘𝕚𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕖𝕩𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕥𝕤 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕠𝕗𝕗𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕦𝕥𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕔𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕟𝕪 𝔹𝕠𝕔𝕒𝕤𝕒𝕪. 𝕆𝕦𝕣 𝕢𝕦𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕗𝕚𝕖𝕕 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕕𝕖𝕕𝕚𝕔𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕖𝕒𝕞𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕤 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕒𝕔𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕟𝕪 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕚𝕟 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕀𝕋 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕛𝕖𝕔𝕥𝕤. 𝔸𝕤𝕜 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕗𝕣𝕖𝕖 𝕢𝕦𝕠𝕥𝕖!
How do you get your teams to adopt an agile culture?
1. Promote an agile approach and include everyone 🤝
Employees at all levels of the organization need to continually review processes and procedures in order to ensure the company is meeting its goals. By challenging the status quo through process review, you can create a culture of continuous improvement. In this way, value-added changes can be quickly adopted and non-value-added processes and activities can be modified or eliminated.
2. Support agile values with strong leadership 🔝
Many consider themselves leaders because of their position or experience, even if they are not perceived as such by the team they lead. Conversely, many take initiative without realizing it, and become de facto leaders because of their behavior and without having been officially appointed.
To succeed, both those in leadership positions and those perceived to be in leadership positions must come together and embrace agility. Their tasks include the following:
- Empowering their teams
- Supporting all team efforts
- Promoting corporate change
Managers are responsible for providing opportunities for change. They must empower individuals and lead them to success. It’s about moving from an individual mindset to a team and collaborative mindset.
Most of the time, people enjoy working with others, succeeding or failing, sharing, learning and growing together. Managers must help define common goals. Create an environment where your teams feel comfortable asking questions and working differently. Managers are role models for this change. All of this can be difficult, but if evolution is to happen again, it must start with the leader.
3. Systematically eliminate wasted time and delays ⏱️
Team growth is necessary and leaders must support it. This can be done systematically, by eliminating sources of waste and delays that teams may face.
Dependencies between teams will often reduce deliverability, and the more of them there are, the greater the impact on delivery times. To reduce these dependencies, you need to distribute backlog items across teams that can deliver independently. Not only does this enable you to deliver more, but you can also deliver more efficiently and quickly.
4. Empower employees 🚀
Agile development only succeeds when the company culture empowers its employees. And it must extend to the entire organization, including senior management and those responsible for the organization’s operations.
5. Work with agile tools and structures 💻
After instilling an agile mindset in the minds of your employees, you need an agile cultural architecture to make it effective. To do this, structures, processes, and technology need to be redesigned to support the changes.
Commonly-used agile frameworks you can try include Scrum and Kanban.
However, it is not necessary to choose and work with only one framework. You can actually combine different elements from different frameworks. All that matters is to manage to create a customized framework that is just right for your organization.
By following these simple steps, you can transition your IT teams towards an agile culture.