What does agile working mean?

Agile working has many advantages: Agile teams work in a motivated and self-committed manner, agile companies react faster to changes and often work more innovatively. But what does agile working mean exactly? Where are the benefits for agile organizations and for individuals? We’ll find out together today.

“Agile” is not new

Agile working is not a brand new concept. The idea originated back in the 1990s and has been continuously developed since then. Agile working is about how organizations operate, how people interact with each other, and also about how leadership is understood and experienced. The basic ideas of the agile way of working were written down in 2001 by a legendary group of software developers in the Agile Manifesto. Today, however, not only IT departments and organizations work in an agile manner, but companies of all sizes and industries.

Agile working is a culture

Those who work in an agile manner can work in the location, at the time and with the people who are suitable for the task at hand. This can include home office or flexible working hours, for example. But these are just elaborations of the real idea behind an agile organization: trusting people and getting them to figure out their own trajectory for a project or product. Agile is not the goal, but the path to better solutions for customers and users.

Therefore, short work cycles, a healthy feedback culture, creativity and the courage to experiment are firmly anchored in the agile culture. Teams working in an agile manner largely make decisions themselves and thus commit to continually improving their results. Added value – for example in the form of functions or products – should be generated as early and consistently as possible.

Agile teams and their benefits

Since agile teams are responsible for the quality and delivery of the products or services themselves, they are fully committed to it compared to traditional ways of working. They are passionate about what they do and systematically strive for excellence. Fixed feedback loops, fast decision-making processes and a willingness to experiment ensure that added value is created at a speed that cannot be topped by other teams. In addition, agile teams and organizations can better deal with change and uncertain framework conditions – because change is not a necessary evil for an agile team, but a challenge, an opportunity and a catalyst at the same time.

In addition to speed and flexibility – not to mention the often greater well-being of employees – agile working offers another decisive advantage: customers are involved in product development at an early stage and on a regular basis. Feedback loops are found not only within the agile team, but also throughout the agile organization and between the team and the customer. By ensuring that all key stakeholders are constantly involved in the development process, the chance of customer satisfaction is maximized. After all, the latter can always clarify if the development is not going in the direction they want and pass on their input directly to the agile team.

Agile organizations are happier and more productive

One thing is clear across the board: Agile organizations have higher morale, retain employees more easily, and develop a more pleasant and innovative culture. After all, agile working includes many cultural aspects such as respectful interaction, but also the empowerment of agile teams through frameworks, training and the right tools to do terrific work. As a result, agile teams manage their day-to-day work more effectively and productively, are happier, and deliver better results as a result.

Agile working now encompasses numerous methods and frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean or DevOps. Here in Scrumfinder we mainly deal with agile working according to Scrum. Want to know more about it? Then read further here and learn what Scrum is and how it works.