Agile is no longer a methodology just employed by start-ups and small enterprises. It has now hit mainstream and is becoming the methodology of choice for implementing complex projects in large organizations. The intersection of cloud computing, open-source technologies, collaborative tools and evolving frameworks have made the future of Agile more exciting. But for an organization to be successful, it needs to create an environment that helps Agile thrive and grow. What is an Agile environment and how does it help teams stay productive? Let’s find out.
Just like for every living being, an environment plays a crucial role in its growth and health, a conducive environment in a business helps the business survive, grow, sustain and beat competition. The right environment helps the business capitalize on opportunities and use strategies effectively.
Similarly, an Agile environment is one which helps adapt, promote and nurture Agile project management. This environment is created not just by putting in place practices and processes but by creating a culture that fosters the implementation of the Agile framework. Such an environment creates a culture where teams are to follow the values and principles of Agile and work towards achieving a common goal.
The Agile methodology follows these values:
The Agile environment helps companies become flexible, adaptable, be open to changing requirements, promote and accept change and bring in innovation and creativity in the development lifecycle. An Agile environment will ensure that Agile values are followed.
Agile workspaces need to be accessible so that work can flow and there are no impediments. Accessibility is not just about accessible workspaces where employees can have the freedom to work as and when they want to, but also about accessing knowledge. Not all work methodologies promote transparency and collaboration that Agile shows and that is one of the defining hallmarks of Agile. Accessibility helps promote inter-team trust and make team members more productive.
Adaptability is another defining hallmark of Agile. In fact, the recent pandemic showed that Agile organizations were able to adapt faster to remote work, distributed teams, new technologies, virtual training and more. An organization can be described as being agile if it is able to help its employees adapt to changing work conditions, changing technologies and other considerations by giving the appropriate training and channels.
This is true not just for Agile teams but for any kind of work. Fewer interruptions help the workforce to work better and be more productive by helping them focus more. Interruptions are not just in the form of annoying colleagues or unnecessary meetings, but they can be in the form of programming or product development related interruptions or can be caused by an external environment such as those caused by failure of technology support. Even Agile practices such as daily stand ups and other collaborative efforts might prove to be distracting and put pause on work progress. The Scrum Master and Product Owner can help to reduce many of the interruptions that the developers face and help create a positive Agile environment.
This is the most basic requirement for any type of organization. There has to be the right kind of workspace, which is also flexible. These flexible workspaces allow employees a degree of freedom in how they work or conduct meetings. Agile workspaces should be aided with the right technology and tools to make teams more efficient and motivated to work each day. Distributed teams means that not all employees may work at the same time and the infrastructure must be able to accommodate this flexible work timing.
Agile is all about flexibility. Employees need to work in flexible environments where they can be more productive, innovative and capitalize on opportunities to deliver value.
An agile organization must provide its employees the tools that will help them enhance productivity and one of the tools that helps do this is the Agile workspace. There are several types of Agile workspaces that each offer flexibility and comfort. Organizations can choose an Agile workspace based on the comfort of its employees and one that will help them collaborate with others and encourages solo work.
Some types of Agile workspace include
Source link: Open plan spaces
These types of Agile workspaces are great for teams that are working on projects that need a lot of collaboration between employees.
Source Link: Quiet zones
We all like our peace and sometimes quiet spaces are the best when one needs to concentrate and get work done. These spaces are part of the larger office plan and may have sound-isolating phone booths that allow employees to work in isolation.
Source Link: Breakout spaces
These informal rooms are meant for relaxation and are often used by employees to relax, lounge or grab a bite. These are also great for informal meetings with clients or even extensive brainstorming sessions with the entire team.
Source Link: Resource areas
These areas are used to store the resources used by Agile teams including printers, scanners, office supplies and more. These are not isolated from the employees and are easily accessible.
Source Link: Touchdown spaces
These are also isolated workspaces with minimal functionality. They are mostly used by employees for quick work and are simple workstations such as a standing desk or a phone booth that allow employees to isolate themselves for getting some work done.
Source Link: Overflow areas
Overflow areas have now become an important part of Agile workspaces. Not only can they be used as quiet spaces but also as overflow areas when all employees are in the office at the same time.
Agile organizations like Google and Facebook have recognized the importance of providing their employees with workspaces that will help foster creativity and productivity. These and more companies like them design their offices based on the needs of their employees.
Agile workspaces help to maximize space, ensure transparency, improve communication and collaboration, enhance cost savings, reduce confusion, and improve employee morale.
According to Jacob Morgan, author of “The Employee Experience Advantage”, companies that focus on their employees’ experiences make four times the average profit, and more than twice the average revenue, than those that don’t. Other companies that use Agile workspaces are LinkedIn, Airbnb, Salesforce and more.
An Agile environment is not built overnight. It takes years to foster the culture and mindset that gives employees the means to stay productive and motivated. A huge part of establishing the Agile flexibility is by investing Agile workspaces that promote collaboration, creativity, motivation and employee satisfaction. Creating an Agile environment is the first step towards become a fully agile organization and making your workforce super-efficient and engaged.