My name is Danielle Riccitelli and I’m a Group Manager, Product Management at Adobe Workfront. More specifically, I am responsible for all things Agile within Workfront. I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on agility, from why you would want to consider agile ways of working, and more importantly, the massive power that comes from harnessing Agile and mixed-methodology work management within Workfront.
First off, what do we mean by Agile? Agile is a set of principles, but it's also a mentality and a new way of thinking. It is a transformation in the way organizations structure themselves, plan, execute and iterate on work.
Adobe Workfront’s State of Work report uncovered that 60% of workers are either completely overwhelmed or are barely hitting their deadlines. It’s not a surprise, when you consider that we’re always trying to do more with less, we have competing priorities and the pace of change is constant - collaborating on and managing work is becoming more and more complex. We see burnout, missed deadlines, massive coordination efforts to keep channels and teams aligned, and most importantly, products that are falling short of customer expectations. It’s no wonder people struggle to keep their heads above water.
Agile practices hone in on adaptive planning and continuous improvement, while encouraging fast, flexible response to change. In a world where business needs and project requirements can change at a moment’s notice, Agile eats traditional ways of working for breakfast.
So where do Agile and Workfront align?
Workfront can tie your business strategy to work execution in a way other tools cannot. By optimizing the flow of work, you’re able to get the highest value items into the hands of your customers quickly, and THIS is a huge competitive advantage.
Workflows typically involve more than one single team, it's the entire value stream of people, teams, systems and processes – from concept to cash. Most organizations don’t solely use traditional or agile ways of working, but strive to enable teams to work how and where they are most productive. Workfront orchestrates mixed-methodology work execution, in and outside of Workfront, and ties work back to strategic objectives. This provides a transparency into work-in-process and ensures teams are aligned and always working on what’s most important.
If you’re just getting started with Agile there are some very important elements to consider.
Identify the business problem. What exactly are you trying to solve for? Are you trying to increase the velocity at which your team delivers content, decrease the time to develop and launch new products, or something else? While it’s important to create the right process for the work your team is executing, it also needs to be tied to the strategic goal of the organization. The goal shouldn’t be just to “do Agile.”
Start with a pilot. Before jumping into a massive change management effort, it's helpful to run a proof of concept. Select two or three teams to help you determine what will work best in your organization. Like Agile, the goal is to test and learn, and apply lessons as you scale to more teams.
Create a single backlog. The only way to truly organize and understand your demand is to get all of the work into one place – typically a backlog or a queue – and ruthlessly prioritize. The goal is to match capacity to demand rather than pushing more into the system than it can handle.
Visualize your workflows. When identifying your process, you also need to articulate the flow of work and who is involved. This will enable you to create effective create cross-functional teams based on who does the work and ensure traditional organizational silos are aligned and focusing on the same priorities.
Limit your work in process. The goal is to optimize flow and reduce the time it takes to finish important items – stop starting and start finishing.
What’s next for Agile in Workfront?
Workfront understands that the way businesses work is changing, and we are evolving to meet those needs. We are upgrading our current offering to better enable the ways Agile teams work, from supporting simple agile ways of working to enabling common frameworks like Scrum and Kanban. In parallel, we are planning for improvements to enable agility across teams of teams, during strategy and planning and across the enterprise to support you in transforming your operations and in achieving overall business agility.
True transformation is never easy and can take time, conscious change management efforts, and iterations. It will require the right people, the right structure, processes, mindsets and a great work management tool. Workfront is ready and excited to support your agile journey!
If you’re looking for a place to learn and discuss Agile strategies and concepts you are applying in your organization, be sure to join the new Agile Conversation group here on Workfront One.