Companies are in different phases of their Agile journey. Some are well versed in Agile, some are still studying Agile methodologies, some are venturing into an Agile transformation, some are broadly ‘going Agile,’ and for others, Agile is not something they are considering. Regardless of the situation, going remote has questioned – or we believe – validated Agile principles. For one, Agile asks for co-location of team members and post lockdown, that has been quite a challenge.
For a consulting firm, the lockdown forced us to review our Agile processes and adapt. We developed targeted projects to ensure that we are able to remain productive and impactful during this period of lockdown. In the last few months, we have realized that Agile, too, has transformed to be as effective in remote environments. Equally important, consulting organizations and our consultants are now well versed in deploying Agile methodologies and impact to clients even while working from home.
There’s clear evidence that showcases increased productivity of teams working together in the same location – and that is one of the fundamental principles of Agile methodology. That is why consultants would travel every week to client sites. However, what this disruption from coronavirus has showcased is that it is entirely possible to be as productive and collaborative via online meetings and with remote team members. This fundamentally disrupts some age-old principles of being Agile. Location or co-location can be deemphasized – and organizations can in fact remain Agile.
Let me share our journey at Sirius. We focused on remaining Agile as we quickly moved away from in-person huddles at work to huddles via Zoom or Teams. Our goal was to uphold Agile principles to best help clients navigate the current environment. Here is what we did:
- Asked how value can be quickly transferred to a client – The week after lockdown, a core team was formed to look at exactly what our clients would need and how best to serve them. Along with this, we started redefining existing consulting projects based on remote work environments and learned how to overcome challenges.
- Focused on collaboration, with a focus on the customer – Sub-groups and teams started engaging clients to understand, define, and interpret client needs. Groups collaborated to define solutions based on client feedback.
- Visualized processes and identified bottlenecks – By creating new processes and structures to transfer value and deliver impact to clients in the oil and gas industry, corporate focus shifted to cash flow optimization, cost reduction, and restructuring. We highlighted processes to deliver solutions via new dashboards. We also mapped out a new solutions delivery model. We created solutions to measure impact every week.
- Defined clear feedback loops – We defined goals and weekly activities. Alongside, we defined KPIs to test the value of weekly activities and made adjustments to our delivery model as needed.
- Had the right people working on the right tasks – Along with our CEO and key members in the organization, we created diverse teams that best utilized each person’s unique skills and capabilities. Consultants continued to work with clients and yet engage with internal teams to share knowledge, exchange notes, and deliver value back to clients.
- Developed new capabilities – As we defined new solutions for Sirius, we focused on developing new capabilities for Sirius that could be transferred across the organization. Going forward, being effective in remote environments is a key objective and focus. Agile methodologies help drive this goal.
Remaining Agile is a core value at Sirius. In our experience, agile is not hindered by teams not coming together physically every day to solve a problem. Agile is about a commitment to collaborating, learning, and developing new capabilities – as a team – to deliver value to clients.
Rakhee Das, Technology & Innovation Practice Leader – Sirius Solutions, L.L.L.P.
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