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Agile Principle Part 2: Competitive Advantage

by Ken Rickard

Dec 11, 2017

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage

There is a great quote from George Bernard Shaw that speaks to the power of change. It goes something like, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything". I wonder if Mr. Shaw would have been a fan of Agile?

Let's break this principle down...

Changing Requirements - How tough is it to live in a work environment where things are constantly changing? It's not easy, and worse yet what if your process doesn't handle change very well? Fortunately for modern businesses and development teams the Agile founders realized that as we advance as a society, things are going to continue to pick up pace and become more complex.

Frequent inspection of our current situation and the ability to adapt to our changing environment means we stay on the cutting edge of controlled chaos. Chaos that in today's businesses has become a necessity to stay ahead of the competition. Customers will always come at the 11th hour and ask for more functionality, or Sales will always tell that customer yes because it generates money for the company. If we can't slow down the change, we must find a way to process it more efficiently.

Harness Change - Change is often viewed in a negative light. Probably because most companies associate change closely with cost. But what if we ignore the need for change solely due to the heavy cost required to stay ahead of our competitors? I'm thinking of Kodak, Yahoo!, Kmart, Sears, and all the failing brick and mortar stores closing this year. These companies in some way chose to stand still.

In contrast look at Microsoft, a company that some would have said was well on their way to making that list some years ago by remaining stagnant, now thrives again as they reinvent themselves into a cloud technology leader, while embracing an Agile culture and mindset that allows them to quickly change because they knew they had to in order to stay competitive.

Customer's Competitive Advantage - So if we allow for evolving requirements, and we harness that change, what does it get us? Internally we should be building better products, ones that will more closely meet the needs of our customers at the appropriate times. Happy customers generate more revenue, and more money invested into the company means happier employees, ones that will work hard to ensure the company stays competitive. It would seem that only good things can come from staying competitive.

Externally, customers are getting the things they need sooner. Maybe even proactively, before they even realize they need it. Sounds a lot better than missing deadlines, running over budget, and missing the mark with the final product; Things that are all to common with traditional projects.

This 12 part series was published by Ken Rickard on LinkedIn Pulse, to read the original version of this blog click hereTo read the entire 12 part series, click here for a table of contents. 

Interested in learning more about the Agile Methodology or incorporating it into your business? Contact a representative at CCG by emailing or call (813) 265-3239.