Facilitating Agile Ways of Working Through Digital Collaboration Tools

As the speed of business accelerates, more organizations are adapting Agile project methodologies to accelerate innovation, make decisions more rapidly, and introduce products and services more efficiently. Agile offers better ways to deliver the speed and flexibility required to achieve strategic goals. 

The foundation of the Agile design approach is empowering people to produce more results more quickly. The methodology acknowledges that the world is not static – it changes constantly. Organizations can no longer afford to spend months or years bringing a new product to market or modifying systems to accommodate fluid customer expectations. If you take a long time building something new, the world will probably change before you can deliver it. Agile principles address the speed of change in the digital age by providing a flexible framework for tackling those challenges. Agile had been proven to increase innovation, improve the focus of development efforts, and keep projects and initiatives aligned with corporate strategy.

Several fundamental components within Agile aim to deliver those benefits: 

  • Work is organized into sprints.  Also known to as iterations, sprints are brief, concentrated bursts of energy or work directed towards highly specific objectives, such as a design document or a product prototype. Sprints focus on a limited set of objectives, enabling the team to set priorities, focus their resources, and make faster decisions. As we complete each package of work, the goal is producing a specific work product. The result might not be perfect, but it will be something usable — something we can test and/or put into practice immediately. 
  • Everyone participates. In the past, when organizations wanted to solve significant problems, they would send their engineers or R&D specialists off to work out the details on their own in their laboratories. These technical experts would channel their considerable knowledge to create solutions. The assumption in this approach was that the experts would produce brilliant ideas that were much better than those anyone else could create. Honestly, we were probably deluding ourselves with that approach. Some of the best products come from trial and error, and through tsting and application in the real world. Agile leverages this truth by assembling teams of experts, customers, and users who co-create solutions based on daily experience in the real world. 
  • Agile encourages iteration by customers. Even if the team produces a subpar or incomplete product, end users will benefit from being able to try it out. Everyone learns more as they try to put even a minimal viable product into use.  

As a result of these concepts, sprints are inherently collaborative. Success requires transparent communications throughout the process to make sure each piece of the solution integrates and works together. This also ensures individual stakeholders approve the results at each step of the process. 

With these principles in mind, we can see how digital collaboration platforms provide a perfect space for people to come together while working in an agile way. A common platform allows team members to share ideas real-time to advance the sprint forward. The team begins by agreeing on what that the minimum viable product will be. Then they receive feedback from users or customers, and they make real-time changes and edits as the product evolves. 

Naturally, the digital collaboration platform does not produce the work product; that must be done elsewhere. If you are building software, for example, you will still have to use the right tools and environment to create the system. However, a digital collaboration space provides a place where you can master mind the solution, plan the required steps, and interact as a team as you progress through the various iterations of design and launch. Viewed through this lens, a digital collaboration platform provides an ideal setting to facilitate Agile work.

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