Traditional lean planning strategies are ineffective and limited. Organisations around the world are switching to agile models thanks to the flexibility and adaptability it offers. Here’s a quick reminder of what agile planning is and how it can be rolled out across your entire business.
What is Agile Planning?
You might already know exactly what agile planning is and you’re just looking for actionable ideas that you can apply across the rest of the business. If that’s you, then head straight to the next section.
For a quick refresher, or if you’re looking for alternatives to traditional planning, then agile planning has evolved from software development projects. It’s an iterative methodology that adapts to changes.
It was introduced by software engineers who needed a continuous cycle that would allow them to deploy software, assess the impact it would have and respond to any issues. Global giants like Amazon go through this cycle with small changes every 11.6 seconds.
Every step that’s taken is done with the customer’s needs at the heart of it. Decisions are supported and shaped by key data while frequent feedback loops ensure that plans are adapted and tweaked quickly.
Continuous improvement is a value that’s at the core of agile planning. So it’s easy to see why many businesses have taken the steps to stretch the methodology across their entire organisation.
How Can Agile Planning Be Applied Across the Whole Business?
First, Consider the Current Landscape
Regardless of the resistance you might feel from anyone that’s against it, agile planning is fast becoming the method of choice at businesses around the world. Even though every organisation doesn’t run the kind of software-based projects that agile planning evolved from, all of them can reap the benefits when applied to their own plans.
Think about how your business currently sets out its future goals, aims and overall road map. Which factors influence these decisions and how quickly can they be adapted to suit ever-changing market trends and customer needs.
Too many uncontrollable variables can have an impact on your plans for them not to be constantly looked at and updated. The faster you can react to these variables, the more likely you’ll stride ahead of your competition.
Moving Towards Agile
Positive change happens because someone is willing to recognise that there’s a problem that needs fixing. This realisation may have taken place because you’re aware that you need to be able to receive information and insights from across the business to help shape plans.
Your business will benefit from a model that streamlines the planning you need to do. Instead of constantly reworking outdated strategies, agile planning allows your business to deliver fast and relevant plans that incorporate vital data.
This data needs to come from all corners of the business, especially the areas that engage most with customers. Instead of external sources or disengaged team members shaping strategy, it should be done with input from all directions.
By using information like this, you’ll be far better placed to sense changes in the market or in customer behaviour and adapt your planning accordingly.
How to Get Started
Agile planning fails without collaboration. As we’ve already said, the data you use needs to come from all sources within your business. It only takes one rogue branch who’s not on board for everything to suffer as a result.
Getting everyone on board and convincing them to switch from processes they’re used to isn’t always easy. Engaging the people you need to execute your strategy in the right way can be a challenge but the results will speak for themselves.
The updated process can cause an increase in the speed you’re able to deliver strategies and lay out road maps. This can feel a little overwhelming at first so it’s important that people across the business are able to absorb the shift that’s taken place.
Like with any process or strategy, evaluations and analysis are important so you can assess how things are progressing. Even as new strategies and plans are created, it’s crucial your business is taking the time to reflect on performance.
Time needs to be set aside for teams to learn from previous planning cycles and incorporate improvements into future decisions. This shouldn’t impact how frequently you deliver current strategy. It should work alongside it to support choices that are made.
The improvements you want to make might only be small but the positive impact they can have on different levels of the organisation are significant.
Convincing stakeholders to change well-established processes isn’t easy as they’d rather stick to what they know. It’s up to you to convey the benefits of an agile planning model that takes into account market and environmental changes compared to one that makes all of its vital business decisions once a year.
Connected Planning and its Role
Connected Planning is another way that your business can harness the potential of the data you have to truly drive growth. If you’re not sure what it is or the benefits it can have for your business, then make sure you get in touch with a member of our team today.