Agile Leadership - So You Aren’t Playing Darts Blindfolded

, , | February 13, 2023 | By

Organizations across many industries are facing new challenges each day. The competition creates products faster and at a lower cost, and time to market has shrunk from years to months. Technology is changing things at a rapid pace. Customer brand loyalty is even in flux! 

The market is growing more and more complex, and companies are turning to Agile as the solution. But why the rush to Agile leadership, and what’s the best way to go about embodying it?

Let’s look at the difference an Agile mindset can make. 

Why Agile Leadership and Thinking?

At Project Brilliant, we get the “big idea” question often: “Why should my organization shift to Agile leadership and thinking?” 

One primary reason has to do with sensing and responding to change. You have to be open to the idea that things can change between the time an item is requested and the time it is delivered. You may not know all the bits and pieces when you receive a request, but you can actively seek out and respond to feedback. 

Playing Darts Blindfolded

Have you ever played darts? Aim the dart; throw it at the target. Simple game, right? 

But what if you’re playing darts blindfolded? If you throw your dart at a board you can’t see, you have no way of knowing if you hit the target. 

Continuing to play this way in business is akin to establishing metrics, building software, or creating a marketing campaign without ever following up or getting feedback on your efforts. Being Agile isn’t about “winging it.” Instead, being Agile means going in with a plan and being ready to adjust when change occurs—taking feedback to heart.

Speed =/= Agility

Some organizations are satisfied with delivering any old customer solution, even if it misses the mark. Working fast and furious to get something out the door can feel more effective than slowing down and taking time to evaluate if what they’re doing is aligned with their goals and customers’ needs. To do differently evokes the dreaded change request so many are familiar with, using the traditional plan-driven or waterfall approach. 

Strategy Leads to Agility

Delivering a solution to a customer requires deliberate calculations and adjustments. Agile leadership ensures that you don’t just deliver a solution or work through a list of priorities; instead, you deliver a product or initiative that has value

Whether you opt for Scrum, Kanban, or another form of delivery, don’t underestimate the value of feedback. For Scrum, this primarily takes place in the sprint review, while in Kanban, it happens at the delivery planning meeting. 

In all, the stakeholders, your team, and those with a vested interest in the deliverable should review what was completed and provide feedback. Throughout the process, ask several key questions to learn if you’re looking at the right data and if you’ve hit your mark to inform where to go next:

  • What features matter most? Does this solve the need? 

  • Are the next items up the most important? How can we improve?

  • Have market conditions changed? 

  • Is this still the highest priority? Are we delivering value?

The way you gather these insights may vary, from passive feedback such as metrics to active feedback such as surveys. But with answers to these questions, the team gets access to understand how each piece they work on feeds into the end results. Data feedback helps teams make informed decisions about what to do next, from determining and executing on new features to pivoting to the changing market. 

Adopt an Agile Mindset to Get Ahead

In a complex space, the environment is changing. Being able to respond to these changes and feedback is critical. Companies that employ Agile leadership can harness a major competitive advantage. 

And what about the ones that don’t? They become cautionary tales about companies that have failed or have lost significant market share. Change is constant, and a lack of awareness leads to outdated or unneeded solutions. It doesn’t matter if your product looks pretty on a shelf if there isn’t a market for it. 

Don’t be the company whose competition seized the market because they sought input from customers and users about problems and possible solutions the way you should have. Don’t become obsolete—embrace an Agile mindset so you hit your mark and wind up on top. 

Contacts us to see how Project Brilliant’s Agile leadership training can help. 

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