To recap, we started the series by explaining what Agile is and describing its terms, rituals and best practices. We then discussed how to implement agile. In this closing article, we consider whether Agile methodology can be implemented in Iraq.
As mentioned in the first article, Agile is all about elevating the mindset of organisational teams. These teams will reach a level where they deliver value to projects with consistent results and graded achievements in time-boxed periods. In order to reach this level of maturity, the company needs good leadership that has the courage to step outside their comfort zone.
Agile is a continuous learning process which delivers products and services that meet market demands. This leads to increased return on investment (ROI) and stakeholder satisfaction. The transparent nature of Agile helps teams build mutual trust between the three main players: the project team(s), the stakeholders and the market. It also allows teams to discover their weak points and adjust quickly to reduce wasted time and effort. In other words, it helps companies stay lean and focused on their goals. Some people believe that Agile is only suitable for IT projects, but Agile as a management approach that can be implemented at any organisational level.
Applying Agile in Iraq
For the Iraqi market to successfully adopt Agile practices, it needs a change in mindset at all levels of a company. To implement agile, all decision-makers should create awareness to build the necessary mindset.
The Iraqi market presents a good opportunity to adopt Agile because of the many foreign companies looking for local Agile experts. In addition, Iraq has a high number of young university graduates that can adapt to an Agile mindset and build future strategies for what is to come.
For Iraq to reach a cultural tipping point, an action plan must be introduced to create a wave of thought leadership across all companies. This type of thought leadership will solidify beliefs in the outcomes which agile will deliver. These awareness campaigns should focus on answering the what, why and the how.
What: Defines the impact, the knowledge present and required, and value delivered.
Why: Enables an understanding of the mutual benefits.
How: Defines the mission ahead with concrete strategic steps and mitigates the unknown risks to establish trust between the stakeholders and the production teams.
Agile helps teams to work and enjoy their work. It is scientifically proven that happy employees lead to higher production levels and better results. (The Hawthorne Studies were based around this concept).
Risks are dynamic. They are defined throughout the company, and their impact varies with time. Therefore, risk identification and analysis is an ongoing strategic practice for companies. Needless to say, risks can be internal or external.
Lastly, I would like to address the Iraqi firms which are inclined to change their course. My tip is to focus on building internal resources, long term relationship management, unique value propositions for clients and invest in building security within different layers of the hierarchy. This will reflect positively on the market and build sustainability in the relationship between the company and the stakeholders from one side, and the product and clients on the other side.
I hope I managed to deliver some value in this series to bring a helicopter view of what Agile is, how to implement it, and why companies need it. Adopting Agile in Iraq would bring immense value to businesses across the country.