That's the way the pendulum swings

Published 11/5/2023

We’ve seen a spate of redundancies recently, across multiple organisations and industries, with a significant proportion of those redundancies having an Agile or Product component.

The pendulum effect springs to mind, where it’s currently swinging back from the almost religious fervour with which Agile had been adopted and touted, to the opposite end of the spectrum where people were jaded and actively distancing themselves from anything to do with it. But, like the initial Agile zeal, the current distaste will be self-correcting as the pendulum swings back. 

What does this mean for those of us in this field of expertise and organisations that may be thinking along the same lines? Here are some key points worth bearing in mind if you’re going through this or it’s being talked about internally.

Have crystal clear goals

Don't do anything without having well defined, well communicated and well understood goals or objectives with agreed metrics that represent progress towards those goals. This needs to be front and centre in why you're doing this and what the benefits will be if successful. If you're unsure what the point is, guarantee that others are thinking the same thing. That's not all though, because having well-communicated, agreed goals won't mean anything unless you're tracking them regularly (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) and having the necessary conversations around accountability, adaptability and support needed to achieve them.

Choose pragmatism over dogma

Lloyd Mander and Jurgen Appelo both speak about using the right tool for the right job, e.g. don't implement Scrum if all you need is a regular check-in. Choosing an approach and method that is iterative and builds on real examples and need rather than strict adherence to a framework. However, even if you don't like a certain framework, methodology or process, don't discount it entirely. Look at the base principles and adapt those to what you need, then review it regularly to see if it fits or you need to try something different.

Recognise change is accelerating

With this, the need for flexibility is only increasing. Understanding that a plan is critical, but being able to regularly review and if necessary pivot that plan is just as critical. Often we're seeing the goalposts shift as new players come into the market, new technology disrupts our status quo or a different way of thinking/mindset changes how people perceive us and our products. We NEED to cater for this if we're to survive. A lot of the things we’ve learned over the years have this adaptability at its core. Like the point above, what changes are you seeing in your company now and in the future, and what's the right way you can review and adjust when you need to?

Prioritise future/strategic foresight and planning

Something we noted that is becoming more and more relevant, yet we see so few businesses doing, is planning for tomorrow. We realise that keeping our heads above water is increasingly difficult, but at some point there is a strong need to sit down, look at what is happening in your market or industry and put a plan together to meet any changes that are coming. If we look at the hype around Generative AI, you'd think this was a new thing and yes, while some of the functionality is new, the technology is not so much. Yet we're all only just coming to grips with how we can use this to our benefit. What else is happening in your space and how can you get ahead of the curve and plan to use these sorts of things to your benefit, not be reactive once something has already happened.

Thankfully, we see organisations needing to take the above into account more in the coming years so those in this domain are still required. If these thoughts have resonated, and you’re curious about the right approach for your business, reach out for a no-obligation chat.

More posts

The Power of Strategic Foresight to Future-Proof Your Business

Read more