13 Jul 2021

What is an Agile environment?

Agile
What is an Agile environment?

Successfully managing projects using Agile is more than just following a set of principles or sticking to the roles and steps articulated in one of the many Agile frameworks.

It’s worthwhile taking the time to consider if the kind of environment, both physical and otherwise, you are expecting your team to operate in is conducive to the Agile approach.


What makes an Agile environment?

In our Agile overview, we start off by taking a look at the Agile values and principles that underpin the approach. These are a good place to start when thinking about creating an Agile friendly environment.

What’s central to these values is a culture that puts people at the centre of the organisation. Collaboration, teamwork and self-determination are cornerstones of an Agile environment. As is a commitment to involving customers and stakeholders in a project as it moves through its different iterations.

 

“An Agile environment differs dramatically from a traditional command and control environment. However, there isn’t a single Agile environment that organisations adopt. An agile approach would be to collaboratively work with the individuals in an organisation to create an environment that is suited to their situation. If you want to work in a more agile way, you are aiming for a culture that is collaborative, productive, adaptable, mindful, sustainable and focussed on improvement.”

Melinda Harrington, Enterprise Agile Coach at Woolworths Group


Just as critical to an Agile culture is a commitment to flexibility and an openness to change. Agile teams determine not only the way they choose to work to deliver outcomes, but they also have the autonomy to adjust it further if they think it’s necessary. Equally, the outcomes of the project themselves can also be open to change based on the feedback of customers or stakeholders along the way.

An organisational environment that encourages and supports flexibility, autonomy and change over rigid processes, documentation requirements or rigid outcomes is essential in the Agile world. Whether it’s in the context of a specific project or at an organisational level, it’s important to both communicate and model these behaviours.​




Want to learn more? Check out our guide, Agile: Everything You Need to Know.


How to create an Agile physical environment

Creating a physical workspace to reflect an Agile environment may take some thought. Here are a few guidelines that can be applied to almost any workspace:

  • Adaptability of space is a good place to start. Is it easy to move things around and reorganise furniture or spaces to reflect the needs of the team? Are there options for team members to come together to collaborate, to work independently or switch easily between the two? These are some questions to ask yourself when creating an Agile environment.

  • Moving easily in and out of spaces is important. Removing items such as doors, walls and other barriers that interrupt flow or confine people should be considered if you’re looking to create an Agile environment in your workplace. Also consider removing walls that get in the way of collaboration and fast moving or changing modes of interaction.

  • Balance this with the need to provide privacy and peace. Sometimes people just need to get away to focus. Keeping unnecessary interruptions to a minimum and providing quiet workspaces will help workers stay on task.


Tools to foster an Agile environment in your workplace

The kind of project management software you use to the wayfinding technology you have deployed in an office space, will either help or hinder your Agile environment.

It’s important to consider what tools you need to foster communication, collaboration and sharing as well as those that assist you in keeping track of project tasks, milestones and metrics. When selecting project management software, be sure to think about what’s most critical for your work, projects and team members, before landing on any specific Agile approach or tool.

Technology that assists in data collection, storage and sharing can be useful to help keep projects on track. Projects that follow Agile principles are often fast-moving, and requirements, outcomes and modes of delivery can change. It’s important that critical data and information is easy to find and access. 

Finally robust communication tools, particularly in these times, are fundamental. Now, more than ever, teams may be geographically dispersed. So team members need to be able to communicate both formally via online meetings but also more informally using chat platforms, for example.

 

Before adopting the Agile approach, take the time to think about your cultural, physical and digital organisational environments. Take a look at the principles and values of Agile and do an audit of where your workplace can improve. It’s the best way to improve your chances of success and ensure you are providing an Agile work environment.

 


 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:

What is Agile Project Management?
Agile vs Waterfall: What’s the Difference?
Using the Agile Scrum Approach in your Next Project

 



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