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Why do many corporations turn to agile consultants for advice?
Agile techniques have a great deal to offer businesses. Moving to a more flexible way of managing large-scale projects and product developments can bring faster results that better match requirements.
Agile much better reflects the nature of business today, and more and more businesses and teams are adopting agile techniques and frameworks. With their experience of the benefits and how to begin a conversion, consultants often have a key role to play in this.
Understanding the benefits of Agility and flexibility
Agile techniques introduce an iterative and incremental approach to project management or product development. Teams approach projects as a series of stages, with each one aiming to produce useable results and take account of requirement changes.
This can radically change how projects proceed, but switching to this way of working is not an immediate task. Understanding how to do this successfully is critical. Consultants can help with this.
Equally important, they can guide a company on the potential and possible benefits. For example, research from consultancy McKinsey shows that Agile transformation can improve customer satisfaction by 10% to 30%, employee engagement by 20% to 30%, and company operational performance by 30% to 50%. But as you would expect, there are variations depending on the industry, project type, and how Agile is approached.
Experience is everything
Companies use consultants across all industries for the value of the experience they bring. Training and theory are important, but to get the most out of Agile techniques, experience is vital. Especially if teams are new to the principles, consultants can help with understanding, embedding, and training. Putting theory into practice needs input from someone who has done it before!
To fully implement Agile techniques, most teams will use an established framework. There are several such frameworks in common use, including Scrum and Kanban. Agile consulting services can help companies understand which framework is best for them – based on the type of projects and team's experiences and preferences.
Providing ongoing support
Consulting and assistance are useful when establishing and transitioning to Agile techniques. As projects progress, though, having the expertise to call on is equally useful.
As agile transformation proceeds, there are likely to be obstacles. More teams will start to use agile frameworks, they may struggle with communication, the nature of projects handled may change, or buy-in could be needed from stakeholders or partners. An experienced consultant can guide on all his and provide hands-on support as needs change.
Training and taking Agile further
Training the team is essential, and consultants can help here as well. Ensuring that all team members are working to the same principles and using the same terminology is vital for Agile implementation.
Frameworks such as Scrum define key roles and team and communication structures. Understanding how these work and following them correctly is essential. Different ways of managing teams and work to be completed, and new ways of communicating and meeting are all part of the transformation needed.
Training is available for all roles within Scrum. For more advanced practitioners, this can be taken further. Also, as projects change or become more complex, revisiting techniques and training can be useful.
Agile Project Recovery
Just as they can benefit new projects and programmes, Agile techniques can help failing projects recover. The same advantages of faster results, prioritized work, and more effective teams address many of the common failures in traditional projects. Research from Standish Group shows that agile projects have a 60% greater chance of success.
Consultants can help set up and carry out an agile recovery. As business teams are not likely to have experience with agile methods, this is especially important. Resistance to new methods is always a problem, but with previous experience, consultants can help overcome this.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes