Understanding Agile for Small Businesses

The Agile methodology has been used for the past decades by mostly startups and tech companies. Now that Agile has been gaining traction outside of traditional software settings, let’s take a look at how to implement Agile into your day-to-day small business operations.

Understanding Agile for Small Businesses

Before the pandemic, Agile was largely a term reserved for software and tech leaders. It’s a means of completing long, complex tasks in dedicated sprints, and gathering feedback from users. For Agile to work properly, this system requires full dedication to the task at hand and in-team collaboration.

Now, due to the uncertainty of the global pandemic, more and more companies and small businesses are turning to Agile methodologies in order to scale their sales operations or even launch a new product. It’s nothing new. Companies and thought-leaders are always looking for fresh ways to innovate, or stimulate their teams.

Is Agile Right for My Business?

Agile, by default, is a method that considers the users and customers of your business. The central foundation? Communication. From both a management and customer service position, you must be communicative with your employees and customers if you truly want to succeed with Agile.

In Agile, the main concept is simple: instead of prioritizing what will change, small business owners should focus on who will best execute the sensitive details of the operation. For example, if you’re debuting a new product and have traditionally had many different hands in the execution of the strategy, consider narrowing your management focus to making sure you have selected the right people for individual tasks.

Let’s take a look at some of the requirements for an Agile team.

  • Planning Your Strategy

    You can’t rush into Agile. Your team needs to understand their functions within the plan. Furthermore, you must have specific goals in mind in order to execute Agile properly.

  • Informing about the Process

    Agile is a useful tool, but only if your team has been briefed on how your company will execute. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to the fulfillment of your vision.

  • Appointing a Leader

    Whether you or someone within your organization, you’ll need someone to set up the structure of your Agile operations, motivate the team, and track progress and measure goals.

  • Gathering Feedback

    As each phase of the process ends, it is important to gather your team’s thoughts and perspectives on how the entire process could be improved before the next sprint. Agile is a highly-adaptable methodology, but is strongest when teammates and customers provide feedback.

We hope you understand how Agile may or may not be right for your business or your goals.

And now that you understand what makes Agile right or wrong for a team, let’s take a look at how to integrate it with your business.

How to Integrate Agile with Your Team

At the end of your Agile integration, your business should benefit from not only the short-term effects, but also the long-term effects it can have on your team’s productivity. While fully accepting Agile in your company culture could take some time, the benefits of the process are everlasting.

  • Compartmentalize Your Projects

    Your sprints should not be focused on the long-term, in so far as your team is juggling multiple issues. Projects should be as small as possible, and hyper-focused on completion of that singular goal. The key here is to work toward the overarching goal through small steps.

  • Reduce Your Meeting Load

    Let your employees focus on their Agile sprints. Some companies choose to hold a scrum, where team members will quickly explain what they are working on and any possible blockages they have.

  • Diversify Your Leadership

    If your business has the benefit of being able to split into a few teams, elect a few leaders to spearhead each team. These leaders can help stand-in for your decision making and ensure that there are no hang ups during your sprints.

  • Empower Your Teams to Make Decisions

    Similarly, let your managers make choices for the benefit of the sprint, and your workers as well. This will continually progress your goals without approvals getting in the way.

  • Explain Your Goals

    With goals and expectations set clearly, your team will have no problem executing your company’s vision in an orderly and organized fashion.

While there are many methods for executing Agile, one way to keep everyone on the same page is to provide tools, and references, for your projects. Next, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular tools to integrate Agile methodologies.

6 Tools for Bringing Agile into Your Business

There are many different tools and technologies for managing your Agile workflow. Below, we’ll take a brief look at some of the most popular resources for integrating Agile into your business plan.

  • Wrike

    Wrike offers a suite of project management tools, that range from communication on tickets and tasks to ensuring every teammate is assigned the most relevant task according to their expertise and background.

  • Asana

    Teams can rely on Asana and customize to their team’s flavor of Agile, and keep it flexible for work that might not follow Agile processes.

  • Jira

    Jira allows you to create user stories and issues, plan sprints, and distribute tasks across your entire team, while also improving team performance based on real-time, visual data that your team can put to use.

  • Excel

    A staple of every project manager’s toolkit, Excel is the old go-to for tracking progress and laying out goals, deadlines, and all you need for your Agile project.

  • Google Docs

    If you’re on a budget, Google Docs is free, intuitive, and easy-to-use for any project team. Just indicate your roles and responsibilities, and track your progress in the document.

We hope this article helps you on your Agile journey, so you can get out there and start selling!


Matthew Ellis Pritchard

Digital Marketing
Matthew Ellis Pritchard is a digital marketer, content creator, and remote-work nomad. He is sensitive to marketing trends, advertising best practices, and always looking for new ways to optimize content for the web.
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