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Using Agile Principles to Guide Business Strategy

Nobody knows how to take a breather in business. It is always a desperate rush to the next big thing, plowing headfirst into alien territory hoping to keep ahead of the competition. But as it just so happens, a methodology exists for dealing with changing conditions—agile. In an article for CIO.com, Joe Czarnecki explains how the main principles of the Agile Manifesto can apply to business strategy.

Long-Term Short-Term Strategy

Czarnecki believes that uncertain work environment conditions necessitate that businesses stop going after “long-term results” in the traditional sense. In other words, strategies that account for a long-term payoff might never see that payoff if market conditions change in an unforeseen way. Thus, a better alternative is to create a “long-term” strategy that actually just comprises a multitude of short-term initiatives with immediate payoffs. In this way, ideally the same intended value is ultimately created, but with less risk.

Czarnecki explains how each Agile Manifesto principle informs this idea, starting with “individual and interactions over processes and tools.” Businesses need to think through their intended end goal and how a collaborative team could customize the most appropriate and repeatable process to reach that goal. Next, in “working the strategies over comprehensive documentation,” a plan that accounts for key outcomes, team makeup, and upwards of three months of deadlines should suffice to get strategy execution going.

Third comes “collaborative dialogue over one-way communications,” which requires little explanation since it is a critical concept in any context. And lastly, there is “adapting the strategy over following the plan”:

Too many people use plans as rulebooks or worse, a means to hold people’s feet to the fire (if you have to hold people’s feet to the fire you have bigger problems). A plan is just a guide, not a rule book. I love maps. I used to travel to places and stare at the map. I ended up learning the map and in the process missed what I’d come to see. Look up, glance at the map from time to time to be sure you are on track and to as a resource to find alternative routes.

Strategy does not need to be ironclad in order to be successful. It just needs to produce wins. Win, baby! You can view the original article here: http://www.cio.com/article/3071014/leadership-management/where-did-that-strategy-go.html

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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