Agile planning is a process used in many startup companies and small businesses. It is the ability to use adaptive and collaborative planning instead of rigid rules and structure. Some of the benefits of agile planning include a higher quality end result and improved team morale. The greatest advantage of agile planning is the team’s ability to switch gears mid-project. Here are five secrets of agile planning that you should adopt for your next group project.
Highlight Values and Vision
In order to achieve a high quality end result, your vision and values must be clear. Take the time to share the company values at the start of the project. Tell a story about your vision for this project and the company as a whole. Make it an interactive experience where your team can participate. This will allow your team to invest themselves in the vision and values. You will also be able to address any questions to make sure everyone understands. Your first step in adopting agile planning should be a clear explanation of the company vision and values.
If you want to use agile planning, you must create a collaborative work environment. Let your staff work together in an open space instead of cubicles. Reward the team as a whole if there is a breakthrough and try to avoid singling people out. You may wish to assign a leader so tasks are completed, but be careful who you pick. A leader should encourage collaboration either by working closely alongside the team, or by stepping back to let the group work unsupervised. The exact method may depend on the individuals and the project at hand. When looking to adopt agile planning, be sure you encourage collaboration.
Have Short Meetings
A surefire way to kill agile planning is to schedule long meetings. You will need to periodically check in with your team, but keep it short and sweet. A quick five minute “catch up session” should be enough to make sure the project is on track without stifling productivity. Try not to have these meetings every day, even if they are short. Occasionally you can try to do quick online meetings. If you want agile planning to work for you, get rid of the long, scheduled meetings.
Do not micromanage. Agile planning is all about giving someone a job and trusting them to do it. If it takes one person one hour and another only 30 minutes, do not worry about it. Play your team to their strengths but do not sweat the small stuff. If someone takes a long lunch but gets all their work done with great results, leave them be. Focus on the results, not how they are achieved. Being results-driven is a key part of agile planning.
Be Responsive To Feedback
If something is not working, your team must be comfortable telling you. Being open to feedback is vital to agile planning because it can give you an early sign that the project needs to switch gears. Even more important, make sure you respond to feedback. If your team comes to you with an issue and it never gets addressed, they will stop coming to you. Productivity will suffer. Your ability to react to feedback is an important part of agile planning.
Agile planning has been successful in startups and small businesses, particularly in the IT industry. By agile planning, owners avoid the reasons why startups fail. Large companies are trying to emulate these companies to foster a more adaptive, collaborative environment. One of the biggest advantages to agile planning is that it improves team morale and end product quality. If you want agile planning to work for your business, use the five secrets detailed in this post.
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