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Accelerate Digital Initiatives Delivery with Agile Communication

Accelerate Digital Initiatives Delivery with Agile Communication

Workplace communication is vital to an organization’s ability to be productive and operate smoothly. Communication serves two essential functions in every organization: it disseminates the information needed by employees to get things done and builds relationships of trust and commitment.

Organizations are increasingly prone to adopting Agile methodologies with the implementation of digital transformation initiatives. According to Zippia,  Agile has  helped 98% of companies become more successful, so it’s really no surprise that 71% of companies are implementing the methodology. The Agile communication style is a big factor in its success.

In this article, we’ll explore what Agile communication is, tips for being an effective Agile communicator, Agile communication vs traditional communication, and the benefits of Agile communication.

What is Agile Communication?

When the creators of agile developed the Agile Manifesto, they highlighted the significance of communication and collaboration.

Agile communication is all about minimalism. It reduces the steps required to get information across. Agile documents are pared down to only the information that is necessary. Rather than emphasizing documentation, a higher value is placed on working software. Agile communication is quick and geared more towards face-to-face conversations. Communication is intended to happen frequently to decrease the need for rework and improve the performance of the final solution.

With an Agile foundation, communication is key to teams practicing decentralized decision making because they are given the autonomy to make independent decisions to maintain projects and ensure consistent progression.

An Agile environment is driven by productivity and the design-focused methodology aims to deliver working software through sprints with incremental feedback. The idea is for members to fully understand the design and goals for the current sprint phase before coding begins.

Tips for Agile Communication:

  • Be brief
  • Be clear
  • Keep it simple
  • Write like you speak
  • Communicate in small doses, frequently
  • Have face-to-face conversation whenever possible
  • All project stakeholders must collaborate, regardless of role
  • Active listening is key to understanding
  • Write collectively across stakeholders

Agile Communication vs. Waterfall Communication

The Waterfall methodology was first created in 1970. While Agile and Waterfall are both popular processes for completing projects, their communication styles are vastly different. Waterfall is a sequential, plan-driven process. All activities must be planned and scheduled before work commences. Each activity, arranged in linear order, is represented as a separate stage.

A glaring difference between the two methods of communication is the lack of flexibility with Waterfall. The decisions made at the onset of the project must be followed through. Generally, if any changes are needed or any problems arise, a full restart is required. An arguable benefit of Waterfall is that progress can be measured easily as the full project scope is made known in advance.

The use of the Waterfall approach has spanned for decades, but the case for those choosing Agile can be backed with some interesting statistics:

  • Agile projects boast 64% success rate, Waterfall only 49%
  • Agile projects only fail 9% of the time, whereas Waterfall projects have a 29% fail rate, which is 3x greater than Agile

9 Benefits of Agile Communication

For several reasons, adopting Agile communication can benefit organizations:

  1. Reduced risk

Feedback after each sprint and the regularity of team meetings allows for greater discussion regarding change. The ability to respond and adapt to change more quickly reduces project risk.

  1. Increased communication

With more brief and frequent conversations—preferably face-to-face—confusion is minimized, problems mitigated, and objectives are streamlined.

  1. Flexibility

Communication is the catalyst for flexibility. Smaller teams and consistent feedback make allowances for changing priorities, which are less time-consuming and costly as compared to other methods.

  1. Improved collaboration

Agile communication improves departmental collaboration and encourages teamwork among all members. It also helps to bring remote teams together.

  1. Communication becomes part of the narrative

Faults and errors are not hidden. Mistakes are acknowledged and become a part of the narrative.

  1. It iterates

Agile communication helps reflect iteration of the product or service.

  1. Reflection of the present

The focus is on the work, how it’s getting done, and who’s completing the tasks. In lieu of focusing on hopes and goals, the focus is on the present, helping to keep projects on task.

  1. Creates consistency

Agile communication helps to guarantee consistency between internal and external teams when it comes to decisions and activities.

  1. Value comes from creativity

A multifunctional team approach generates creativity, enhancing the value of this method of communication.

Challenges of Agile Communication

While an Agile communication style can unlock many competitive advantages, there are a few noteworthy challenges that may manifest with this style including:

  • Dynamic, changing environment can be chaotic
  • Lack of documentation leads to poor communication
  • Miscommunication on larger teams
  • Self-organization can be challenging if the team lacks commitment
  • Face-to-face communication is difficult in a remote and/or global workplace situation

Being aware of these potential communication barriers is key to overcoming them.

How Agile Communication Is Changing Software Development for the Better

Agile is representative of a great shift in the way work is completed. Companies who adopt Agile methods of communication undergo a culture shift within their organization; changing the way they communicate, collaborate, and complete tasks. From establishing goals to analyzing results of the sprint, teams need to communicate and collaborate throughout the project life cycle. Setting expectations, aligning priorities, and discussing project challenges are necessary to meet objectives.

Agile is proof that effective communication can be fostered without spending excessive time in meetings and that teamwork improves productivity. Being Agile means being open to change and instilling new ideas that help lead to positive results.

For help adopting Agile methodologies, check out Apexon’s Agile Transformation services or get in touch using the form below.

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