Agile methodologies for innovation projects

The vertiginous change in the new forms of consumption, the abysmal leaps of technology that are to be experienced daily, the desire to be surprised by new contents and the new products and services are one of the key levers for companies to adapt to the speed with which the world is changing today.

That is why the traditional project management methodologies that managed rigid and hierarchical work processes have been left behind. These used the so-called cascade flows, thus generating unnecessary paperwork, focusing on fulfilling contracts and losing focus on the user and communication with the client. They stood out for their lack of adaptation to changes and, consequently, making modifications was more difficult and incurred a higher cost as time went by. As the focus was on larger objectives and towards more distant goals, the team lived in a demotivated and exhausting work environment due to the lack of immediate changes.

Agile methodologies allow to address challenges in an effective and innovative way, creating products and services focused on the needs of a particular target, allowing to reach the market in an accurate manner beforehand.

These methodologies have been replaced by new agile methodologies that allow to adapt to experimentation and change processes. The continuous improvement through an iterative and incremental development, the collaborative work and the permanent contact with the client / market allow the companies to be oriented towards aggregated value and innovation, responding to the rapid changes in the current context .

Agile methodologies also allow to establish short-term objectives, organized by importance, framed in a cyclic time block that allows to measure and see results continuously.

Questions such as what was done yesterday, what will be done today and what block prevents us from achieving the objectives are made on a daily basis, allowing connecting working teams, improving communication between them and thus giving an agile response to the problems that arise.

A clear example of a company that has adapted an agile environment is the BBVA bank, which began creating multidisciplinary teams with autonomy to organize in 2014. At the beginning and as in any change, some resistance was generated at the moment, as the top management felt that they lost control over the projects they were in charge of; however, in less than a year the uncertainty gave place to motivated teams, generating new products that could be launched in advance to the market.

Managers went on to take on the role of coaches, being inspirational leaders who empowered the teams. Quickly the agile model was expanded by the organization and reached all the business teams, allowing to break schemes and thus, betting on change, transformation and innovation. Today the agile methodology within the bank transcended to a “leadership model”. In 2017 there were already 4,000 employees working under this methodology, and in 2018 there were 33,000 people within the culture of Agile.

The Standish Group, an independent research consultancy, presented a report on a study carried out between 2013 and 2017 with different projects, which showed that projects carried out under agile methodologies were twice as likely to succeed over traditional methodologies and the probability of failing was reduced by 1/3.

Agile methodologies can be adapted to different sectors, and companies can face changing situations under the methodology that most closely matches their values, resulting in motivated teams and satisfied customers with highly profitable solutions.