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By: Ben Baldwin
October 26, 2021
Why is an agile enterprise valuable for IT and manufacturing? If you are looking for software development that is responsive, collaborative, and tailored to your needs, the agile method is a strong choice. It enables companies and people to stay ahead of change as they work and collaborate together.
To understand this a little better, let's look at agility from the perspective of the human body. In this case, agility refers to rapid whole-body movements in response to a change in velocity or direction. It is the ability to quickly and accurately adapt to a moving target or goal.
Likewise, an agile enterprise rapidly responds to unexpected challenges and opportunities within the company and market. With an agile culture leading the way, agile enterprises are able to perform flexible actions that benefit both their customers and the organization.
“Agile” is first and foremost a culture. For a body to be agile, every muscle needs to react together. So just as agility is a full-body movement, corporate agility needs to be adopted fully within the organization to be effective. Agile enterprises move quickly and respond to shifting demands. But they can only do this if every part of the organization is able to move cooperatively as one unit.
With the fast-paced digital transformation of Industry 4.0, manufacturing companies and developers need to be ready for ongoing changes and advancements. As new technologies literally change the landscape of the industry, companies need to be ready to see change as an opportunity for faster and smarter methodologies.
But agility is not accomplished by innovative technology alone. It first requires an agile mindset from the people within. And every person and department needs to be set on this goal.
We here at VKS are proud to have an agile culture that works closely with our customers, continuously improves, and shares the strengths and opportunities of agility. Our goal is to meet our customers’ needs, provide responsive delivery, and maintain our digital work instruction software’s quality standards.
There are many reasons why organizations choose to work with agile enterprises. Agility in business and IT development has far-reaching implications on the success of a project. But most importantly, “agile” is about finding opportunities and staying ahead of our clients’ needs. It means mastering change.
Corporate change occurs in two forms:
Under the agile method, change is part of the planning process and is not considered a disruptive factor. In fact, it is an opportunity to continuously improve the product and operation. Whether challenges or opportunities occur, our enterprise is equipped to pursue the best end result with determination and agility.
As the world of production and demand is always in motion, change is inevitable and needs to be accepted with purpose. Adapting and taking control of change is accomplished through agile means such as collaboration, customer focus, iterative development, and user feedback with a product that works.
To help explain in greater detail what an agile enterprise can do for you, here are the four core values that encourage flexibility and help companies master change, combat challenges, and seize opportunities.
A key part of the agile method is iterative development. This means dividing the project into different stages called iterations which can be accomplished in a step-by-step method. The iterations are planned according to the customer’s needs and in order of priority.
Iterations, or development cycles, are meant to be incremental; not biting off any large part of the project at any one time. The company and client assemble the iterations and this can be revised at any point as time progresses. This allows the project to be flexible as subsequent steps can change based on the challenges and opportunities of the current iteration.
Think of this as a roadmap detailing the routes that need to be taken to arrive at the desired location. We can decide to take a different route while we’re on the road but breaking the journey into sections and goals will enable us to be more responsive when opportunities and/or challenges arise.
This way, change is free to occur when it needs to and the process adapts as your needs develop and shift. These iterations are an integral part of the whole project because they allow greater flexibility and opportunities for feedback.
A key benefit of the agile method and the iterative development approach is that customers receive a working product from the beginning. This way, customers are able to quickly and accurately see what they need and don’t need based on their experience. This is the foundation for further growth and expansion.
Additionally, while development and support continue under the iterative development plan, users can explore and benefit from the features of an already functioning software. As users provide feedback, the iterative development plan will adjust and adapt to their needs.
The agile plan is about providing results from beginning to end. This is in contrast to the one-time final delivery method, which fails to align with customer objectives and only offers a return on investment at final delivery. The customer’s unique perspective is a strong resource as the software is being tailored for their unique opportunities and challenges.
Having a results-driven product every step of the way is invaluable for modern agile development. Results enable the agile enterprise to be responsive and reactive to your needs.
As we have discussed, agility requires corporate action and collaboration. Just as agile movements require the whole body, so too do agile practices need the full organization. Agile business practices are executed under a culture of collaboration and all parts need to work together harmoniously with the same goal.
But let’s take this a step further. Much of today’s success in manufacturing and IT stems from inter-company collaboration. With the growth of the the new connected economy and the supply chain ecosystem, we see corporate success involves more than just one enterprise. It is a team effort of companies worthing together to achieve the same goals. It is this inter-company collaboration that enables agile practices to be truly achieved.
Here at VKS, with our culture of agility, we are constantly collaborating with our clients and our partners. Their goals are our goals.
This alignment of objectives and goals allows project planning and risk management to be shared between the agile enterprise and the customer. Because we each have the same vested interest in the success of the project, the process is transparent as each voice is ready to be heard in every development cycle. Agile enterprises need to incorporate the free flow of ideas with all members of the development team, as well as the client’s team.
As we discussed in Core Value #2, user feedback is incredibly important. And that cannot happen without a well-founded corporate culture ready to collaborate based on the customer-oriented approach.
The above core values all direct us to our final point: our customers are always at the heart of the process. We aim to provide the best products and services to fulfill the goals of our customers. Despite inevitable changes, unforeseen challenges, and new opportunities, the goal is always the same: to provide the best value for end-users.
For a minute, let's go back to the athletic definition of agility for a second and use a basketball game for reference. At no point in time through the game does the objective change or shift. The goal is the same throughout the game; get the ball in the net. What shifts through the game is the means of achieving that goal and the direction of the players.
It is the same for agile development. As the ball moves around the court and factors change, agile practices help maintain a strong focus on the right goal. Likewise, the agile enterprise fosters a strong culture that responds to the unique challenges and opportunities of your business.
At VKS, we have adopted a customer-oriented approach that puts forward working results and increases value for end-users. By incorporating agile practices, we focus on the customer’s needs through collaborative and flexible means.
By partnering with an agile enterprise, you too gain agility. Your company and work instruction software can best adapt to market changes and your customer demand. This enables you to face challenges and opportunities with strength, flexibility, and innovation.
The agile philosophy has led organizations around the world to adopt more innovative and accurate working methods. An agile enterprise is better equipped to face and incorporate change as it is no longer a challenge, it is an opportunity for innovation and growth.
We are proud to be an agile enterprise with a strong and flexible culture. To improve our processes and to be ever more attentive to our environment, VKS is firmly committed to the agile method. We aim to promote and share a culture of efficiency, collaboration, and results.
With contributions from Berenice Mengo.
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