Clear, frank and open communication, along with a strong team dynamic, is the basic fundamental common to all agile companies.
This is view of leadership at MobileData, an established technology service provider focused on payment facilitation and prepaid electronic value distribution.
The true test of a business’ ability to communicate and transfer the value of their agility is in the customer/ service provider supply chain scenario.
Head of development at MobileData Hannes Helberg explains. “When a company that is agile deals with a customer that isn’t agile, the delivery of the end product could be very challenging. The first point of departure is to realise and understand that your customer isn’t necessary agile. Then you must plan and adapt to get your customers on the same journey as yourself. Always keep in mind that your customer isn’t necessarily in the same mind-set as yourself.”
Communication is key
The company believes communication needs to be effective and transparent, and in an agile world it is always best to focus on communication rather than get overwhelmed and side-tracked by processes.
MobileData adds that the second most important thing in agility is empowerment, and having clear goals. “So when you assign duties and instructions to the (agile) team, hand it over, don’t throw it at them.”
Criteria needs to be defined and it is important to tell the team what is expected, Helberg adds.
This is the empowerment component and is transferred to the organisation, most importantly to the team that handles processes and procedures.
Helberg says teams should be empowered to make decisions without management intervention and use their own initiative to get the job done.
Agility requires empowered teams that are able to enforce decisions without prior approval and have the trust and backing of management.
“Most failures of agile comes down to command and control. There are some interesting articles one can read on Command and Control and about managers that wants to retain too much control. One such article compares it with a team sport like soccer or rugby. You need to have a game plan, but things change when you are on the field and you need to change your game plan and approach accordingly as it happens. What is important is to have the right team to do the job. Agile is a team sport,” Helberg adds.