The Importance of Being Agile

In today’s world you can’t just be smart, you have to be faster and smarter and more creative than the rest. If you ever want to feel truly static and potentially way behind how nimble you need to be then check out these videos:

I saw them recently at a show and was stunned with how quickly things are changing and how slow I now feel I am moving (I also feel incredibly old, but that could just be because I’ll be forty in two months). Could it be that I am a prehistoric project manager before I hit my prime? I cut my teeth at a traditional project management shop. We planned for months, executed for months, and often lost our energy to ever appropriately close out anything by the time our product was released. From there I moved to a more innovative shop where we had JAD sessions, war rooms, weekly builds and product reviews, and much more opportunity to bend and flex our designs as the product manager sat in the war room (I was, in fact, both project and product manager and so involved way too much). Today my project management efforts are less and less as my role is not to directly manage projects but to oversee others manage this work. I find myself as THAT stakeholder with countless requests for change and finesse on what was originally requested.

The landscape of product development has shifted over the past two decades and even within the past five years. I don’t have the ability to spend months gathering requirements, vetting options, and then making decisions to build a product and take it to market. Today it feels like I have minutes. Companies are getting smarter about how they shop and expect their partners to do more for them at a faster pace than ever.

As I learn more and more about true agile as a concept for getting work done, I honestly am not sure HOW organizations could NOT adopt agile and survive. The only organizations I’ve been able to identify that might not need to be as agile as the rest because their market pressures don’t change as often as everyone else’s are funeral homes, cemetery caretakers, and perhaps plumbers (although with all the new tankless computerized water heaters and stuff I am probably wrong about that one).

Agile allows you to be flexible. It enables you to work smarter and faster. It allows you to try new ideas and approaches and reject them or accept them and move forward with MINIMAL investment. It helps corporations get to market faster, gain true efficiencies, and move at the speed of life as we now know it.

“Going agile” doesn’t mean getting certified or having one person attend a class and declare the organization ready, it means embracing a change to how you do business as a company. Yes, you can start agile in a small area of a corporation but the ramifications will be far reaching, and for it truly to be effective, you can expect to see the entire organization needing to embrace it.

The new PMI-ACP (Project Management Institute Agile Certified Professional) is not a project manager’s certification but a certification for anyone, in any part of a company, who wants to adopt a mentality of how to get work done faster, with closer goals, shorter timelines, and more flexibility to make change. I can’t think of a job in corporate America that couldn’t benefit from that.

So now that I know the importance of being agile, I’m going to start championing for change to our processes and methods to see how we can adopt and be better prepared to move at the speed of life today.

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Introduction to Agile
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Agile Project Management

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