The Qualities of the Agile Enterprise and Why They Matter. On her podcast, Ryn ‘The Guardian’ Melberg discusses the qualities of the customer value engine with well-known Agile expert, Mario Moreira. Mario is an Enterprise Agile consultant and Master Agile Coach at Vistaprint where he focuses on company success.
Agile; It’s Not Just For Software
Agile and the benefits it delivers do not apply to only software developers, but to many different types of businesses, and even non-profit organizations. Yet as Ryn asked, she still deals with people who have doubts about the benefits of using Agile. She finds that ‘a little frustrating’ and wondered of Mario dealt with the same type of thing.
“Yes and no,” Mario said. “Yes, as those who are new to Agile think it is just for software. Of course, a lot of the material published about Agile concerns software so it is understandable they could come to that conclusion,” he said. The other part of his answer was more about the all too common human resistance to change. “People will want to resist change because they are naturally skeptical or suspicious of change or that resistance is simply easier and they can say ‘it will not work for me’,” Mario stated. But Mario also found reason to be encouraged.
Mario also said ‘no’, because he encounters people who know that Agile is not just for software and that it can apply to many types of work like education, non-profits, military, government and even creative agencies. “Agile focuses on incremental changes, tools, techniques and practices and help to ensure that organizations adapt to changing marketplace demands and customer requirements,” he said.
Could Agile Save the Airlines?
Mario believes Agile could save the airlines but that it would require a shift in overall organizational philosophy. “Is it business first or customer first,” Mario asked. He cited Southwest Airlines as a good example of a customer first airline. “Southwest is customer focused,” he told Ryn. “The people at Southwest believe that families are important so passengers can check 2 bags at no added charge and they can reschedule their flights without paying fees.” But Mario lamented the state of other airlines where the customers were not put first, but were replaced because of the needs dictated by their business. “Those airlines are struggling and do not understand their customers to the point where they are putting business, their board of directors, employee needs, and everything else ahead of the people who paid to be on their flight; this to the point that customers are jettisoned from planes without anyone ever considering any other options,” he said.
New Type Leaders Needed
To make the changes many airlines now need requires a leader who says the customer comes first; and will listen to customer feedback on new and even existing products and services. “Leaders need to review input and feedback that helps them decide will this or something new help satisfy the customer,” Mario stated.
Customer focused attitudes will come from the mindset of the person in charge. Agile is not just a collection of processes. Agile is a world view that derives from the servant leader philosophy. More than a mantra, this philosophy states that employees must listen to customer feedback and satisfy them.
In chapter 3 of his book, The Agile Enterprise: Building and Running Agile Organizations, Mario delivers a recipe for success. “A pinch of employee engagement, a dash of customer engagement and a splash of Agile will help achieve better business outcomes,”
he said. “Outcomes have to be the focus, not just the use of Agile. Agile is the engine that can help lead to better customer outcomes. Agile is one way to become more customer focused.”
About Mario Moreira
Mario Moreira is also a Certified ScrumMaster, a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), and a Value Flow Quality (VFQ) Educator. He coaches and educates executives, management, and distributed teams. He also specializes in transforming enterprises toward customer value by introducing cutting edge Agile concepts and practices such as Scrum, XP, Kanban, Lean Canvas, Cost of Delay, Story Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, Psychological Safety, Self-organizing teams, and more. Mario is also the author of four Agile related books including The Agile Enterprise: Building and Running Agile Organizations, Being Agile: Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile, Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams, and Agile for Dummies. He writes regularly on his Agile Adoption Roadmap blog at cmforagile.blogspot.com.
About Ryn Melberg
Ryn Melberg (SPC4, CSPO, PMP, CMA I) is an Enterprise Agile Consultant and Coach. She is a management consultant who specializes in helping her clients improve their time to market, customer satisfaction, increase employee and customer engagement, and improve overall productivity.