Ingredients for an Agile Mindset
By Alice Lee
May 18, 2020
As we’re living the new normal and restrictions are eased, it’s difficult not to over analyse the unprecedented changes to our way of life, work and how we engage with our community in a post COVID environment.
Inevitably in many industries, existing processes and ways of working will be too prescriptive and too slow to adapt to changed needs. Adopting agility in how we think about challenges at home and in the workplace will help us build better resilience over time.
Through empowering our teams to think differently and the ‘ok’ to fail quickly, we can help those in need quicker and come out of this leaner, better positioned to grow.
If there’s a time to break some rules, this is when we need it the most.
So how do we ‘think differently’, become more agile and in turn, become more resilient to changes in years to come?
Look at the problem through another lens…
As a business analyst, my view is that we’re in a unique position to evaluate the problem and solution through two angles: our immediate team (the experts) and our customer advocates (the source), who both make up the blueprint of our success.
Persistent teams that have been together for a while have a distinct advantage of already being in flow, having depth and breadth of knowledge within the team and well versed in getting things done together. However, during times of change when initiatives are wound down in favour of more impactful ones, new teams will be formed.
This is where adopting an agile mindset is most critical. As the team is forming and learning ways to collaborate, favouring practical people-led approaches versus following a prescribed process will lead to better ideas and innovation during time critical environments. Further facilitating workshops using Design Thinking techniques will create a space for all members to challenge assumptions and share their own approach to problem solving.
Our client advocates equally play a critical role to success, to ensure our trajectory is toward the right priorities and that we are delivering to the right values. Including the voice of our customer will keep us honest when making early assumptions on our solutions.
As a Business Analyst, what is my role in this?
Business analysts across various domains bring different specialties and skills. However, I believe at the core of what we do is enable faster and better informed decision making. Through some behavioural practices, we can facilitate better decision outcomes through a faster, more iterative approach.
Ingredients for an Agile Mindset
- Awareness of the people around you and what knowledge and skills they bring.
- Practice makes perfect. Become a domain expert in your chosen area.
- Feed your curiosity and gain broader knowledge outside your immediate domain – this could be in an area related to your work.
- Great ideas and innovation happen at the intersection of disciplines. Agility and growth occurs the more you are able to connect the dots between newly acquired knowledge and core skills.
- Understand the challenge. What does success look like and how can we make this tangible?
- How would someone outside your specialty think about this problem. Use them as a sounding board.
- Engage with the experts, favour people interactions over siloed solutioning
- Think practically. What can we do with the bare resources we have?
- Break the problem down. What can be done in 1 day or 1 week – not months.
- Break some rules (not the legally binding ones of course).
- Take action on the knowns and incorporate assumptions and tests to tease out the unknowns. Create mini experiments.
- Always bring your team and stakeholders along the journey and influence others through your way of working.
Alice Lee is an experienced Business Analyst with DX Solutions having worked across clients like Qantas, Macquarie Group and NBN co. During her career, Alice has been instrumental in delivering digital online/mobile experiences and business transformation projects among other high profile digital transformations in financial services, regulatory and compliance initiatives and assisted growth in various start ups. Alice believes in using deep data and A.I to drive individual user led tools to support greater productivity and value. With a keen interest in agile and product management practices, Alice is working towards instilling a culture of agility and innovation in every project she’s involved in.
DX Solutions is a wholly owned and operated Australian private company providing businesses with strategic solutions to optimise, transform and progress their operations. With around 200 employees we are proud to partner with software, project and network engineering teams to deliver quality assurance, test automation, CI/CD, agile project management, business process analysis and automation (RPA), network engineering and cloud infrastructure services for Australia’s major digital transformations.