Working in today’s business environment, we all are subject to coping with change. Agile is a method that works when a situation is subject to extreme and constant change and innovation.
When we need to move forward, despite not having answers, this requires us to embrace uncertainty and make decisions based on limited knowledge. We may be operating largely on assumptions and gut feeling. Managers, customers and suppliers change their minds, as do we all, throwing in new ideas, adding to the scope of what they want, yet traditional methods still maintain a need for a fixed specification upfront, a deadline with a set amount of resource and budget, and there is no scope for change.
There are numerous ways to get to where you want to be, and agile allows you to explore these options, change your mind and improve your solution. It provides a roadmap to find the best path to reaching your goal, whatever that might be.
In software development, a common term used for change and additions to the requirements of software is scope creep. As systems get bigger and bigger, engineers need methods that can manage the development of large complex systems that are subject to ongoing changes to their requirements. Agile has developed out of a demand for control in an ever--changing environment.
In business and, more generally, the world in which we live, we are in a constant state of scope creep, with ever-moving goal posts, curve balls that can change the direction we have to take, and revolutions that require us to rethink our tactics completely.
Change can be difficult and so often we default to try and reject it, preferring the comfort of the familiar and well known. Becoming aware of this instinct to reject change and putting in an effective management structure for handling it can help us to accept and take advantage of change rather than reject it. Agile provides a structure to move forward quickly and rationally during times of change and uncertainty.
Better awareness of how we manage change naturally helps to gain perspective early to respond appropriately and identify opportunities, rather than continued resistance.
Feeling pressured, stressed, stuck and frustrated can be signals of change that have been missed or ignored rather than dealt with. If you have errors creeping into your work, it could be time for a change.
By developing our ability to be aware of change and understand our and others’ behaviours and drivers, we are in a better position to handle that change more effectively. Being aware of the process of change can help us to confront it, reason with it and proactively work to integrate that change the best we can.
Letting go of existing processes and systems to adopt agile can be difficult, especially for those who are comfortable with routine. Even if that routine is difficult, it can be hard to acknowledge. There is a need to let go of the existing rules, identify the problem within the process or the system and go through the pain of change in order to achieve a better outcome. Trusting that what is, in effect, a very simple management system like agile to expose and address current problems in your working practices, can be counter-intuitive to some and can take time to accept.