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16 Agile Principles Every Company Should Live By

Agile principles, sometimes simply referred to as “agile,” are guidelines that prioritize adaptability and efficiency in the workplace. Agile management is typically implemented (and is often necessary) in tech businesses, but it can apply to a number of industries.

Agile methodology includes a set of guiding practices and principles that can improve your company’s operations, specifically with respect to productivity and flexibility. Below, a panel of Forbes Business Council members share agile principles any company should live by and why they’re useful.

1. Simplicity

The main agile principle I believe should be a focus is simplicity. We all tend to get caught up in things, which frequently overcomplicates processes. Finding the simplest yet most effective way will be part of our “new normal.” – Josee Larocque Patton, The HR ICU

2. Continuous Feedback

An agile software principle states, “deliver frequently.” Engineers need feedback early and frequently. When managers give and get timely feedback, it enhances performance and boosts capacity. Feedback supports continuous improvement with the agile loop of ask, deliver, ask again and improve. – Eric Kaufmann, Sagatica

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

3. Empathy

Show empathy and thoughtfulness towards internal employees the same way you do towards customers. This means recognizing the journey your employees take in engaging with managers, HR, finance and other internal functions and removing the friction. This “customer happiness” approach is how an organization builds trust, energy and positive morale both internally and with clients. – Raazi Imam, Sia Partners

4. True Service

Leaders add value by serving others. Therefore, company culture—one in which the employees are listened to, supported, trusted and motivated—provides success for the company. Leaders need to interact with intention. Quality leaders care and treat their employees well. As a leader, ask yourself if are you making it better for the people who are following you. – Renee Schafer, Data Security Inc.

5. Failing Fast

Failure is most costly when it follows heavy investments of time and money. The key is to design experiments to test hypotheses quickly, balancing the desire to comprehensively consider a strategy with the desire to minimize investment. Beyond economics, this strategy has an emotional benefit too. Fast failure is much less heartbreaking than slow failure! – Missy Narula, Exhale Parent

6. Alignment

Whenever we have a difficult task or deliverable at hand, I bring together a team with strengths that will make us the most successful. Also, having alignment and gelling with the team is the best way to forge ahead when facing tough decisions. – Warren H. Cohn, HeraldPR

7. Having A Testing Framework

We’re always about setting up a testing framework for business concerns and marketing campaigns. This means we never have to be right in predicting what people want. Rather, we let people tell us what they want. Advertising, as an example, is a real-time focus group. By pushing out 10 different ad messages, we let the data tell us what works and what doesn’t based on consumer preference. – Robert Brill, BrillMedia.co

8. Being Proactive Versus Reactive

Leaders need to scan the pulse of the industry dynamics combined with social, economic, legislative and technology aspects on a regular basis. We live in a rapidly changing world, and the companies that will thrive in the future will be the ones that have the foresight to see what is coming and plan for it accordingly. If you are in a reactive mode, by the time you take action, it may be too late. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5

9. Integrity

Agile companies thrive by making integrity a priority and doing the right thing. A culture of integrity builds transparency and trust. It creates efficiency and improves reputation. The stories our people and clients tell about our integrity has generated new business and built loyalty. They know they work with a company that has strong ethics, values and principles. – Benjamin Elzweig, Active Staffing Services

10. Value Addition

Deliver value by offering new developments to customers early—before they know they need them. To do this, you need to know your customers first and have a fast development cycle; in the end, you’ll keep your customers happy by making a positive impact. Overall, it helps the company retain customers and stay on top of the competition. – Gokul Anandayuvaraj, Vinveli

11. Keeping Employees Happy

A happy and satisfied team can increase productivity. Your company is represented by your employees, and if they are not happy with the company, they are not going to be at their best when speaking to customers or others. This will have an effect on the company brand and sales. There is nothing more powerful in a company than a happy and contented workforce. Make employees feel valued. – Talal Rafi, Sesame Associates

12. A Customer-Centric Mindset

Delivering value to customers will always be the ultimate goal. The approach and investment in technological advancement should reflect the benefits for end customers in terms of providing better product quality and an experience that can add value. – Beth Worthy, GMR Transcription Services, Inc.

13. Proper Training

When the pandemic hit and our e-commerce website surged in sales like never before, our saving grace was trained employees. Having a team that understands your business allows you to pivot successfully. We had to scale fast and needed our trained people to train others quickly. Their full understanding and commitment to our company allowed us to triple in size in a week. – Jennifer Coy, Beauty Care Choices

14. Active Use Of Advanced Technology

If a business in today’s modern world is to become a unicorn, it has to be at the forefront in the use of advanced technology. Gone are the days of an entrepreneur using technology passively. Today’s small-business owners need to think about technology at the same time they are thinking of revenue. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will help even small businesses compete with the “big boys.” – R. Kenner French, Vast Holdings Group, LLC

15. Management With Intention

Leaders must exhibit solid situational and personal leadership and forward-thinking traits, especially during this pandemic. What we are facing now is a massive shift, and you really have to become a hero leader in order to make your company sustainable. You must lead with intention and dedicate time to thinking about how you can best prepare your team to be ready to solve any challenges. – Abigail Aboitiz, 247 Health Solution LLC

16. Being Human

Every company needs to remember that it is people who make it. Humans are at the heart of all business, and they are who we need to focus on. This may at times mean stepping back from the current ways of doing things to make sure that your employees are doing okay and that you yourself are doing okay. In the end, this doesn’t hold you back, because people perform best when they are feeling their best. – Dawn Brown, MD, ADHD Wellness Center PLLC

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