Agile is highly effective when done right, leading to reduced costs, higher predictability, and improved business outcomes. From startups to the biggest software companies like Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, they all attest to and attribute large parts of their success, innovation, adaptability, and team morale to Agile and Lean methods. If you are not seeing the expected benefits from your current process, consider hiring an Agile Consultant.
Having an Agile and SDLC expert on staff has a multitude of advantages, but here are the 9 primary benefits of hiring an Agile Consultant:
Agile Consultants have the advantage of being exposed to a large volume of projects, teams, and implementations. Combine a breadth of exposure with years of experience successfully delivering software across a myriad of industries, training hundreds of individuals across dozens of teams, consuming the latest thinking on process and culture, and obtaining the most relevant certifications in process, software, and coaching, and you get expertise. Agile Consultants are extremely well-versed in what works in different situations and how to approach the challenges that transformation brings.
It can be extremely helpful to an organization to have someone with an expert outside perspective, with no allegiances or politics to speak of, who is willing to give an unbiased analysis of what is working and what is not. The expertise and honesty of an Agile Consultant can help you quickly identify and target gaps that might not have been noticed by those within the process.
Agile Consultants work WITHIN your org to help you discover solutions that work for your people, teams, and business, instead of just applying a one size fits all playbook. Most consultations begin with an assessment that involves talking with your company's people, at all levels, and participating in the actual development of software with your teams in order to fully understand issues or impediments affecting current processes and delivery.
When Agile is done right, teams are able to deliver small pieces of incremental value to their customers and get collaborative feedback on their progress. They can iteratively improve their process and feel empowered to innovate new solutions that deliver more value. When these things happen, it acts as intrinsic motivation, pushing teams to better performance through their own desire to improve their creations. It unlocks autonomy, innovation, and transparency at the team, department, and even company level. High-performing Agile teams have a high level of psychological safety, which is hugely impactful; according to Google’s ‘Project Aristotle’, it is the number one contributing factor to team performance.
Agile Consultants have extensive training, coaching, and mentoring experience to build teams up with the perspective and knowledge they need to approach problems and challenges with an Agile mindset. Regardless of your team's experience and exposure to Agile, having a champion in your team's corner to work on the fundamentals or help hone their techniques will move them forward in their maturity.
Whether the issue is with ineffective team ceremonies or how to balance long-term portfolio plans with innovation, an Agile Consultant is well versed in how to approach small and large process opportunities with a lean mindset and introduce solutions that scale, regardless of the size of the challenge or the company.
“Process” is often approached with a “set and forget” mentality. Companies aim to build something that will last because constant change feels detrimental to stability and structure. With Agile’s focus on continuous improvement, it’s built to evolve and adapt over time, keeping the steps that work and discarding those that do not. Equipped with a large toolbox of methods and techniques, an Agile Consultant can help teams and organizations innovate different approaches to find the ones that work best for them.
Change is hard. Making too many changes at once usually fails. An Agile Consultant will establish a prioritized process backlog and roadmap that includes specific, sequenced improvements that your process, tools, and people will benefit from, along with urgency, impact, and difficulty rating for each backlog item. Consideration of all these aspects ensures that your company will improve over time and learn what it takes for continual improvement and what it feels like to deliver with speed and quality.
Great coaching has a lasting effect long after the lessons are taught. Any good coach will tell you that the skills they build during practice are muscle memory and good habits, so when the time comes, the athlete is prepared with an expansive toolbox of techniques, capabilities, and reactions to apply given any situation. Great Agile Consultants instill in their mentees an agile mindset, which allows them to go out and solve problems on their own.
If you think your software development process could be improved by any of the benefits listed above, WillowTree would love to partner with you and your teams to begin a journey of relentless improvement.