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8 ways agile methodologies can improve a firm’s culture

Agile project management is becoming hugely popular. It's no wonder. Agile teams are proving that traditional project management strategies fall short. Startups and large corporations are adopting agile principles to stay competitive.

Agile is an amazing project management framework. But, agile affects more than productivity -- it affects the entire company culture in beneficial ways. Here are 9 ways agile can improve your company culture:

1. Agile promotes continual improvement

Agile teams are constantly assessing how they work, looking for ways to improve their processes.

Agile projects are iterative in nature, looking back at each cycle with a critical eye, which means that continuous improvement is built into the very structure of the project management methodology. Constructive criticism is encouraged and helps speed the project along as things become more complex.

2. Agile demands better communication strategies

In order for agile teams to be effective, they must hone their communication skills. It is absolutely essential that everyone on the team understand what is going on as well as who is working on each task.

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An attendee working on a laptop computer participates in the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Conference Hackathon in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The Hackathon is an opportunity for mobile developers to come together and hack around the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Suite. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Traditional teams do not rely as heavily on communicating, working in silos rather than as a collective. Agile demands a more inclusive and communicative workplace.

3. Agile emphasizes adaptability

Agile project leaders not only anticipate change, but they also welcome it. For complex projects, it’s better to deal with change as it comes rather than outright resisting it. Agile forces teams to use creative problem-solving skills to adapt to change.

This is especially true for software development companies. Software development projects can become incredibly costly if the development team is not prepared to deal with changes, delays, and roadblocks.

4. Agile promotes cooperation

Daily communication is necessary for agile teams to thrive. Additionally, agile teams need to work as a unified front to get their project done on time and on budget. An agile project manager facilitates communication across departments. Everyone is heard and everyone interacts, regardless of rank, title, or department. Meaning, agile promotes cooperation for everyone in the organization.

5. Agile boosts team morale

Agile boosts morale considerably. As agile promotes cooperation and communication, everyone feels a certain responsibility about the outcome of the project.

The team is more involved with the project on a personal level. Team members are made aware of their impact on the project and they can take pride in the work that they do.

6. Agile reduces stress

When complexity is managed well, employees feel less stress. Agile reduces complexity by breaking up a large project into small iterative cycles. These cycles are overseen by an experienced agile project manager who leads the agile team into each new cycle with renewed enthusiasm. The simplicity of the process greatly reduces the burden on the team.

7. Agile results in better quality products

The iterative nature of the agile project management framework produces better quality products more consistently. Because agile teams are constantly delivering a product, they are better able to create improved versions of this product as time goes on.

8. Scalability is easier with agile processes

Agile is cyclical. Every cycle, a new feature is added to the product or an aspect of the product is refined.. This makes scaling naturally a much simpler task. If an agile team works at a consistent pace and devours more work, their ambition is not limited by the framework. It’s simple to expand the scope of a project, adapting your requirements as the project progresses.

In conclusion, agile project management is more than a framework -- it’s a philosophy. The agile philosophy of work is one that can improve your company for the better.

Agile is an iterative process, one that demands continual improvement, change, adaptability, communication, and cooperation. By promoting team cohesion, team morale is boosted, team stress is reduced, and scalability is much easier to achieve.

By breaking up a project into small cycles, complex activities are easily completed. With set time frames for agile cycles, agile teams can begin to depend on predictability. Because agile strategies respond so well to change, agile also results in more consistency. Consistency and predictability result in greater quality, reduced risk, and lowered cost.

Agile, once integrated into your company, can help your employees feel more of a connection to their work, each other, and the organization as a whole. Research agile modalities and consider adopting agile principles for your next project.

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