Rapidly evolving digital technologies are creating a new social, economic, and business environment where new products and services have to be brought to market faster than ever before. To meet this level of demand, companies must adapt to much shorter design and production times. In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, the three basic needs for any business that wants to stay competitive are flexibility, adaptive capacity, and change management.
Agile is a philosophy embodied in a set of methodologies that help companies not only adapt to change but also incorporate it into their processes and benefit from it.
Two of the fundamental concepts in agile methodologies are iteration and prototyping. When an agile organization creates a product, it does so by developing prototypes—simple, imperfect models that are gradually improved and completed in successive iterations. Each iteration is a short development period during which a prototype is generated. This work method facilitates continuous improvement and generates value throughout every phase of the project. Since each prototype is a simplified version of the final product, it could potentially be brought to market, generating value for the company.
This approach creates a trustful relationship with the customer. Although a prototype is an incomplete product, it allows the customer to see, touch, and assess progress towards the desired result throughout the process.
If unforeseen circumstances interrupt the process, the customer always has, at the very least, the most recent prototype created by the development team. Despite being a simplified version of the product, this model could conceivably be commercially released. Therefore, there is always a return on the investment and whatever work is completed will be preserved (rather than being lost, as it would be under a more traditional product-development methodology).
The goal is to be prepared to react to the pace of change in the environment. Highly competitive markets, rapid technological and social changes, and political and economic uncertainty are factors that can have a long-term impact on any business strategy. It is therefore essential to be flexible and adapt to the sorts of eventualities that are becoming increasingly frequent in all companies and sectors.
“The idea is for each employee to become the CEO of the product or service they are working on and make it their own, sharing ideas with the customer and actively contributing to the design and creation process.”
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