Agile seems to be a corporate buzzword. However, it is an effective methodology that enables companies to be nimble, swift and constantly adapting and moving forward. Agile has been proven as an effective tool that can transform a company from a poorly performing company to one that can function at a high level and be very productive.
Companies spanning various industries, from GE to National Public Radio, to John Deere, have adopted and implemented this methodology successfully, resulting in optimization of time, effort and capacity to improve enterprise effectiveness. Commonly thought to be a methodology restricted to the technology world, Agile can be implemented at almost any type of company. There are specific parameters and criteria required to allow for a successful implementation. Most of the parameters are around the environment, more specifically, the factors that are either constantly changing or are more stable.
Agile is ideal to implement in an environment where there are either continually changing priorities, or priorities are competing with one another. If factors are relatively stable and do not change, then Agile may not be the specific solution for that company. Another important element to take into consideration is employee buy-in; in order to implement this change, employees need to understand the process, want to participate and understand the benefits to the process.
Once Agile is implemented in the right enterprise conditions, the benefits to process improvement can be significant.
Previous project management processes were not working. People functioned in silos, working together and communicating to only when a problem arose. Items were not tracked in real time and could be lost in email or missed on a conference call. Also, the process was not iterative; it was classic project management, using defined tasks, deadlines and input to complete the project and meet deadlines. Without iterative processes or steps in place, items could be missed, or duplicate requests resulted. Work increased and/or could be duplicated as a result of this misaligned process.
Agile project management is an iterative process that focuses on customer needs first, team interaction over tasks and adapts to the current project state instead of following an inflexible plan. The project plan changes in response to how the team is working and priorities may shift in response to what is happening. This not only keeps team members responsible, but also there are no delays, as teams communicate daily regarding the status of the project.
Many companies have successfully used this Agile project management approach to revolutionize the way in which due diligence is done.
By using an iterative approach in task management, as well as though daily communication, the project can be tracked in real time. Problems can be identified and addressed almost immediately. The state of the project can always be determined through platform optics, and priorities and deadlines can be adjusted accordingly.
Using Agile project management enables a team to work smarter, not harder, and simplifies and streamlines the due diligence process.
This blog is part one in our Agile M&A 101 series.