Agility Training: How to Adopt an Agile Working Approach

Flexibility, scrums, sprints…you could be forgiven for thinking that an agile working approach is more about bootcamps than business. But fear not. In our previous post, we provided the ideal warm-up: an explanation of agile working and its benefits. And this week, we’re going to show you how PEP principles can ready you for a successful transition to an agile working environment. The best part? Unlike your regular bootcamps, this won’t hurt a bit.

A place for everything and everything in its place

Speed is a key feature of an agile working methodology. Obviously, then, PEP time-saving techniques will prove pretty useful. Ensure that you have everything required for a particular task to hand. Keep the relevant electronic and paper files in order. Don’t slow your team’s progress with an unnecessary search – the agile game’s all about rapid response.

Clarity of purpose

Clarity is a cornerstone PEP principle – and it’s just as important for a successful agile approach. Ensure that everyone both understands and agrees on what needs to be done to achieve the desired outcome. “It’s essential that every team member is clear on their responsibilities,” explains PEPworldwide managing director Kathryn Anda. “It’s all very well to adopt an ‘agile’ approach to meetings, for example, and establish a routine of daily 15-minute stand-up sessions instead of lengthy meetings every week. However, we’ve observed that even a 15-minute meeting is a waste of time if team members don’t understand why they’re there and what they need to achieve as a result.”

Take advantage of technology

Technology is always your friend, but particularly so in an agile working environment. “Make sure that you are effectively leveraging all the tools available to you,” advises Anda. “Using appropriate technology – whether in the form of a collaboration tool like OneNote or the various functions of Outlook – doesn’t just increase your efficiency. It also enables you to be more agile, regardless of what you’re working on.”

Be receptive to change

The importance of being open to learning something new is, well, not new – and it’s essential in an agile environment, too. Being agile means not only expecting the unexpected, but responding to it quickly too. “It’s about being flexible,” explains Anda. “Be receptive to changed situations, roles, or projects. Change isn’t bad – it’s simply about working in a more effective way to achieve better outcomes.” This leads nicely to:

Encourage a culture of respect

An agile working environment thrives on creativity and innovation. It’s imperative, then, to foster a culture where employees aren’t afraid to voice their ideas. At Salesforce.com, employees are encouraged to ask questions which lead to problem solving and process improvement. Salesforce.com master solution engineer Stu Jones cites the company’s internal collaboration tool, Chatter, as a highly successful feature of the company’s agile methodology. “Chatter levels the layers of hierarchy,” he explains. “We can query or suggest anything without fear of censure or criticism.”

You see? The prospect of working in an agile way doesn’t need to provoke frightening flashbacks to PE lessons at school. “Don’t feel anxious if your organisation implements an agile working methodology,” says Anda. “The approach may be different, but the behaviours you require remain the same.” Now, PEP’s already primed you nicely for an agile approach – so are you ready? Because it’s game on.