Why an Offensive Agile Workflow is Key to Business Evolution and Success
In an age where technology changes every year, every week or even every day, the need for businesses to innovate and improve processes is more important than ever. As the TC Williams High School football team would say from the 2000 American Drama Remember the Titans, a football team must be “Mobile, Agile, Hostile!”. As a former football player, I see the correlation between football and the business world every day, especially as it relates to technology transforming businesses. In today’s world, ensuring your business is mobile, supports innovation, and handles the hostility of change is an absolute necessity.
Recently, Kenway Consulting encountered a problem at a telecommunications company where Kenway provides Project Management, Business Analysis, Quality Assurance and Information Insight services. As part of our Information Insight practice, Kenway provides transparency into a company’s data through analytics. At this client, Kenway received requests to create applications to illustrate the business’s key performance indicators and help steer them towards a data driven decision making approach. Kenway Consulting’s Why is “to help and be helped.” Not surprisingly, the entire Kenway team threw on our cleats and strapped up our helper helmets. However, we quickly realized our client was working within a hostile business world, where requirements and business priorities were changing in the blink of an eye! Therefore, Kenway saw the need to create a more robust governance process for the reporting applications to minimize this “hostility”. We called this our “front door”. We were the front line, the offensive line one could say, protecting our client from a hostile world.
This front door gave our client the opportunity to submit requests for new applications in an organized and structured manner. Kenway would then interview the client and gather the goals of each application. The point was to initially gather high level requirements through the front door, and then build out the detailed requirements through subsequent interviews. This provided Kenway the foundation to create these applications as quickly as possible while enabling us to prioritize the most important needs of the client first. As a result of this governance process, our client gained the peace of mind that Kenway would pick up any blitzes that came their way.
Secondly, we realized that this “front door” methodology was not something that should be used only at the beginning of a project. We recognized a need for a continual iterative approach to every reporting application we created for our client. In a hostile business world, an agile approach that supports change and innovation is a necessity. Because requirements and features of applications may change from our initial interviews, we implemented an agile workflow to development ensuring that our development process and applications were built with the idea that there would never be a “final” product. These applications needed to have the flexibility to be updated quickly as the business needs evolved. Kenway kept a backlog of potential advancements and improvements and met with our client regularly, so that we could prioritize these innovations accordingly. This innovative agile approach enabled our client to make requests on a day-to-day basis, and Kenway could deliver quality results in a timely manner. In other words, we enabled our client to make half-time adjustments on the fly without worrying about the effects of continual change.
Finally, Kenway noticed our approach must also consider the scalability of the applications…our applications needed to be mobile! Our data governance process and these reporting applications needed to adapt and grow with the business’s needs and changing scope. In other words, the problems our clients face and we help solve today will change tomorrow and the next day and so forth. Our team realized exactly what our client needed… a Quarterback; someone to get them into the right play at the right time. Therefore, Kenway put together a process to ensure we were gathering issues, risks, and any potential events that could affect applications and processes that we currently had in place. We met weekly with our client to raise these risks and put together a plan ensuring they never became issues. Kenway’s diligent pre-game film study before the big game enabled us to mitigate several risks that would have otherwise become issues.
No matter your business objective, technology is often one of the most important drivers of success. Kenway’s hundreds of years of aggregated experience help our clients ensure they can pivot quickly and remain mobile, create iterative agile processes to ensure innovation, and mitigate any difficulties from a hostile and ever-changing business world. Think of Kenway as your offensive line and quarterback all packaged into one. We are in the trenches every day fighting and clawing with our clients to help your company gain that extra inch; ensuring that every play and every audible is the right one!
If you have questions about Kenway Consulting or our unique Mobile, Agile, Hostile approach, connect with us to learn more!
How to discover issues in a workflow in agile project management?
One of the twelve principles of agile is to “Regularly Reflect and Adjust Your Way of Work to Boost Effectiveness”. Retrospectives are a recurring forum that allows the team to talk about what is going well and what can be improved. For all things agile, the team is encouraged to do what works for them.
What is the difference between traditional and agile workflow?
Traditional is linear in identifying requirements, then developing all or most of the solution. In traditional workflow there is an assumption that the client will be able to describe what they want, and the development team will be able to produce. In agile, the workflow is cyclic, there is no assumption that the client can describe what they want.
How to create agile workflow?
With agile, the idea is to start and learn by doing. Using the principles of agile and specific methodology like Scrum, teams are encouraged to begin development working software. Using the recurring meetings of sprint review (product demonstrations to the customer) and retrospectives (internal sprint debriefs) the team has improvement processes embedded in the sprint cycle that enables them to continuously improve every sprint.