It was Harvard professor Clayton Christensen in his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” who coined the term “disruptive innovation.” It refers to an innovation that starts small but gradually transforms the market or a given sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability.
In this age of digital transformation, a number of technological disruptive innovations – personal computers, mobile phones, the internet of things (IoT) – have dramatically redefined the way people live their lives. Managing the radical changes that come with these technological changes and associated social transformations can be overwhelming.
For companies, the agile mindset in software development offers solutions on how to effectively manage revolutionary changes in creating software and apps in the digital age, and agile development teams are at the forefront of this revolutionary movement. It has since become a bigger, broader philosophy that can benefit how entire organisations manage rapid change.
Agile systems are software development frameworks and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
In a nutshell, agile software development methodologies emphasise self-organising and cross-functional collaboration to produce highly-effective solutions that cater to customer needs and preferences. It is, therefore, an approach to innovation that focuses on collective and problem-oriented processes rather than simply aiming for a technological output.
Although agile systems emerged in software development, it has also found relevance in modern web design, mobile app development and other digital business solutions. In fact, its applications have also impacted business models and organisational culture by creating a mindset and working relationships to effectively manage uncertainty and adjust to changes on the fly.
Consistent with its name, agile methodologies are almost synonymous with “change agility,” the ability to be flexible in changing directions and adapt to environmental changes.
A central ethos of agile systems is a focus on collaboration, which means putting emphasis on skilled individuals working together cohesively as a group or team. As such, agile methodologies can fundamentally help build not just agile teams but stronger organisations and strategies as well.
For instance, the concept of meeting daily is an integral practice in agile companies. This ensures rapid, routine feedback among team members working together, provides regular status updates, and allows constant communication with the group and other stakeholders so that no one is left out of the loop on developments and plans.
In addition, there’s plenty of value one can get through different development strategies. There’s incremental development, a term in agile development where a product is built gradually by adding additional features or improvements in a recent version until a final product is finished. There is also iterative development, where a team or teams gradually build a product in segments and adjust it in further releases with new improvements.
These two methods might produce products in different ways. But the way they’re done reflects on the work ethic being practised by the developers working on them: open communication, user-focused efforts, and value-driven continuous improvements.
The Agile system philosophy is hinged on managing uncertainty and responding to change. Keeping abreast of market preferences and desires can be a strenuous task for planners; however, with an agile mindset, directing a project towards addressing unpredictable changes can help in mitigating investments risks for product owners.
As mentioned earlier, agile development methodologies highlight small teams, incremental or iterative development, and flexible planning and communications as effective strategies in software, app, and web development.
Former Co-Chair of Change Management Institute UK Melanie Franklin says that this approach is a logical answer to uncertainty. She explains that building from small – yet flexible and adjustable- products, and committing only to partial solutions are natural responses to uncertainty since people do not want to commit all their resources to a solution that might not be an effective answer to the problem.
More importantly, Franklin stresses that agile methodologies consistently respond to the modern-world narrative that change is constant and that there is always a “new version coming soon”. This helps people become comfortable with non-permanence and makes it easier for people to get used to uncertainty and easily adjust to any kind of change.
In today’s rapidly changing technological and social environment, agile principles and methodologies help improve the ability of individuals and organisations to manage radical and disruptive changes in direction. With the world disrupted everyday by innovations left and right, it’s best to consult a reliable partner that can help you with your agile development needs.
User Experience Researchers Singapore (USER), a leading agile software development agency in Singapore with ICAgile-certified trainers and experts, can bring you up to speed in building your software and apps, or adopting an agile system for your organisation. For more information, visit our website or enquire at https://www.user.com.sg/.