You don’t have to build software to be Agile

Agile - for successful living

The last few years has seen Agile become the de-facto delivery approach for technology firms. That is, product teams have started using Agile methodologies to organises their teams of software developers.

Agile isn’t actually a thing in itself – it’s an umbrella term for a number of methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, or Feature Driven Development. During my time at reed.co.uk we used Scrum for product development and Kanban for anything that needed faster response times.

What all Agile methods have in common is their adherence to the values and principles in the ‘Agile Manifesto’ (yes, it’s a real manifesto – here it is) which, in simple terms, is different to traditional project management because it focusses on things like;

  • Collaboration
  • Early and regular delivery
  • Highest business value first
  • Continuous improvement
  • Responding to change

I’ve been making a series of presentations to teams across the business to give an idea of the simplicity of the Scrum framework. I think it’s helpful to understand why it’s a framework and not a process – it’s different describe how it provides some ‘rules’ for behaviour (like planning and reviewing) while leaving freedom in other areas for teams to decide things for themselves (like how to actually deliver the work).

I think it’s also important to understand that you don’t have to develop software to use Scrum, or any other form of Agile. It can be useful for any teams – in fact anyone who simply wants to do more of something, and get better at it. In a business context that could mean acquiring more leads, setting up more sales appointments, managing more customer service requests, producing more content, delivering more campaigns, reducing debtors, or even managing the strategic direction of the company.

With this in mind I have curated a few Agile case studies for non-technical teams that I hope will give you ideas as to how Scrum or Agile can help you. If you have any questions or want to take some of these ideas forward, feel free to get in touch.

Sales

Marketing

Management

Finance

There aren’t straight forward ‘Scrum for Finance teams’ case studies, but there is a lot of information about Financial Planning techniques based on Agile. These links are a good intro.

Human Resources / HR

And finally, you!

Personal Kanban is becoming popular where I work and a few people (including me) run their own personal kanban boards to organise their work, improve focus and get more done. I use Trello as it’s very lightweight but you can use JIRA and a whole array of others too. If you want to know more try the Persoanl Kanban site or this blog post.

And finally, if you want to know how far some people incorporate Agile into their lives, the Scrum Alliance had some interesting responses to the following tweet:

Responses include everything from DIY to organising holidays to planning a wedding! You can read the responses here.

Hopefully this gives you some food for thought and a bit of encouragement to look into how Scrum or other Agile practices could help you and the teams you work with.

Matt Chocqueel-Mangan

Digital producer, agile practitioner, scrum master. Pursuing sustainable democracy and social change.

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