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A common weakness among many people and companies alike is lacking agility and being slow to adapt to change. It’s no surprise, really, as being agile demands constant awareness of your ever-changing environment and applying any learnings promptly and precisely. While the majority of us continue to struggle with adaptability, it seems the startup world knows something the rest of us don’t.
This week we learned about ‘Lean’ and ‘Agile’ approaches to product management and software development – which I was really looking forward to, as there has been a lot of discussion about these approaches within my own company recently. Balaji introduced us to The Lean Startup, in which Eric Ries outlines the ‘Lean’ movement as a market approach that leverages customer feedback to identify the right direction a company should move in. In other words, it’s about managing and optimizing your product(s) based on customer collaboration and requires ongoing testing, learning and application.
Similar to Lean, the ‘Agile’ method requires constant movement and is ever- evolving. Agile is a resource-based approach that helps companies and teams deliver on priorities by being aware of their capabilities. It’s specific to software development and was created by engineers who were frustrated by the constantly evolving requirements that were not easy to change in the environment of fixed schedules, unpredictable scope and unconstrained cost. In contrast, Agile makes schedules realistic, scope flexible and cost predictable, allowing for fast delivery of priorities.
While not every company or product will always be able to adopt these approaches, the idea of minimizing wasted effort should be a priority for every company, big or small.