8 benefits of adopting an agile approach to digital transformation
Traditional project management models for digital transformation are highly unsuitable for today’s ever-in-flux market conditions and demanding consumer mindsets.
Not only do they lack intuitiveness and coordination, but their rigid processes also make it impossible to exhibit any dynamism at all. Moreover, the project could run for so long that it becomes obsolete by the time it is completed, making all the time, effort, and money spent on it come to naught. These shortcomings can be avoided if practices of continuous evaluation, learning, refinement, and adaptation are employed throughout the project course. Thankfully, the agile* method supports this. By adopting agile techniques, project governance becomes smoother, which translates to numerous benefits.
Advantages of the agile approach in digital transformation
- Flexible methodology leading to continuous improvement
- Periodic, incremental value-add
- Priority for business value
- Risk abatement
- Fosters team collaboration and transparency
- Excellent, high-quality outcomes
- Better cost management
- Team morale booster
Flexibility is essential for successful digital transformation. Traditional frameworks for tackling business initiatives involve laying out detailed requirements for large projects at the beginning itself, with little room for changes later. The difficulty is that, by the time the project is completed, market conditions and consumer requirements change.
The agile method, however, embraces change as a matter of routine. The method’s iterative model of learn-share-adjust-apply allows continuous evolution of strategies for improved results. Even ad-hoc business requirements can be accommodated when priorities change.
The agile framework of working is akin to climbing a ladder one rung at a time. The methodology proposes employing short, 30-day constructive sprints to deliver features incrementally as the project advances. This way of working means that digital transformation projects last for a few years. However, it also means that value-add happens in small increments continually over the project lifetime. This is in stark contrast to the traditional approach where the outcome of the project, possibly not up to expectations, is known only at project completion, say after one year.
The agile methodology recognises that technology is just one of the many solutions to business challenges. It employs a “why-first” method so that only initiatives providing tangible business value are taken forward. Once an initiative is frozen, the technique encourages outlining challenges, understanding objectives and the initiative’s practical applications. This way, a project’s approach is well-aligned and responsive to business needs.
The agile approach in digital transformation projects greatly reduces the likelihood of failure. The agile manifesto’s principles of daily updates, steady communication, frequent testing, and synergistic feedback ensure that every issue is addressed without delay.
Digital transformation is possible only when different teams work in unison with a shared vision. For succeeding as a team, it is important to communicate transparently and regularly, collaborate effectively, and exchange feedback frequently. This synergy also increases visibility across the organisation, as every stakeholder is kept informed about the project.
The routine of daily updates with the agile environment tracks the progress frequently and spots issues which facilitates relevant adjustments to be made without delay. Early testing and optimization ensure quality results, and encourages and ensures excellence.
Since the agile method works in sprints of even length during the project duration, the amount of work that can be accomplished and the cost for each sprint is easily estimated. The agile framework allows for regular budget refinements, which accommodates change modification requests at reasonable pricing.
Change and innovation are not possible without a high-spirited team with self-driven members. To create such a team, the environment must be conducive for creative approaches, self-management, knowledge-sharing, reflection, and continuous learning.
Also, as the old adage goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, teams that are constantly overworked will be low on morale and creativity to deliver high-quality results. The agile method of working sets realistic deadlines and offers a balanced atmosphere that helps creativity flow.
It is one thing to know that it is important to evolve with technological changes, and quite another to put it into practice. A report by McKinsey pointed out that nearly 70 per cent of digital transformation projects are unsuccessful for a motley list of reasons, such as a dearth of employee engagement, poor collaboration, lack of accountability, and so on.
Make digital transformation work for your business and take it to great heights by adopting an agile methodology. Avoid falling into traps and set your digital transformation journey on the right course.
*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.