Though nowhere mentioned in the Agile manifesto, the Agile development mechanism has always been regarded as exclusively designed for IT industry. However, in the close to 2 decades of its existence, a number of companies belonging to industries other than IT have gladly adopted Agile development practices and gained immense profits out of it. Presence of APM (Agile Project Management) enablers gives ample opportunities for non-software development companies to adapt APM theory. Companies undertaking project planning and control have been using orthodox management methods with unsatisfactory results for far too long. The companies hence went looking (and are still looking) for a flexible approach for new product development. They need this new approach to be easily adaptable to the project environment’s contingencies. This need has largely been satisfied by the Agile methods. Here a few industries that have turned towards Agile to ensure an efficient development process.
1. Marketing or Advertising companies
Agile methods help the companies take better decisions and enhance their productivity. CMOs around the world are now looking to adopt Agile methods to repeat the wonders it has performed in the IT industry for the past many years.
Carsurfing, which is a startup offering to find rides to and from an event, is using it to simultaneously validate its new technology, see how consumers are putting it to use and to test the user interface. It is a far cry from the earlier process where the companies worked for months before the big product launch to unveil their months of hard work. Getting feedback during the product development process itself has helped the company in meeting the expectations of the customers and achieve its marketing goals. Read the story
Another example is of Teradata Applications, which is in the business of selling software for the purpose of supporting marketing. The company made use of Agile methodologies to automate workflow and approval processes. They credit Agile techniques for the improved communications in within the project which has helped them enhance their processes.
CafePress is in the business of selling themed gifts and providing custom design services for those looking to launch their personal merchandise. The company has adopted Agile methodologies to interact with customers on various social media platforms and enhance the company’s social presence. The company’s aim of engaging with the customers and undertake real-time collaboration while they upload designs was made possible by using Agile methodologies.
2. Construction companies
Major construction projects usually carry high capital and regulation risks and tough schedules. Over the past few years, a number of companies have turned towards Agile methodologies to plan, design and execute their projects. Agile has been particularly useful for the companies to take real time decisions, ensure effective collaboration and communication and aligning all the milestones towards the final goal to be accomplished.
Noble Energy is making use of Agile project management to ensure a timely exchange of information between the contractors and the project teams. The companies are opting for streamlined and automated workflows to keep up with the legal and regulatory requirements.
Schlumberger believes that since service companies and contractors have their own specific set of goals, it results in a below par service quality apart from apparent inefficiencies at different stages of the project. Improving collaboration as per the Agile Development Principles can make the projects more efficient and result in maintenance of high quality.
3. Event planning companies
In the past few years, Agile methodology has made life much easier for the event planning firms. Its ability to make real-time changes based on the feedback given and a robust iterative framework makes Agile a tailor-made solution for the event planning companies.
Redgate was not satisfied with its rigid approach which made it difficult to respond to any change in the requirements. This led to uncalled for stress at their work. Adopting Agile gave them the freedom to implement and execute their projects with the much-needed agility. This has helped the company in meeting tight deadlines and ensuring utmost satisfaction of the end customer.
4. Product development companies
A number of Agile principles have their roots in manufacturing. This makes it useful for a wide range of industries outside the IT landscape.
Wikispeed came up with a functional prototype of a 100 mpg car in just three months using Agile radical management methods. In comparison, an orthodox manufacturing process is a long process spanning over multiple years. With the help of Agile, the team at Wikispeed has been able to bring innovation at a much faster pace in an industry where development cycles can go on for decades. Using one week long ‘sprints’ under the Agile model has worked wonders for Wikispeed and its project.
LEGO Digital Solutions, which is into handling communications with parents and kids using different devices, made use of the Agile methodologies to ensure efficient communications among the 20-odd teams working on the same project with different requirements. Apart from cross team alignment, Agile helped LIGO in ensuring client collaboration and developing a platform to be used in the future.
5. Finance related companies
Facing emerging challenges on technology platforms, risk management systems and payment processions, an increasing number of financial services companies across the world are adopting Agile to keep up with the expectations of the customers.
Principal Financial Group, an insurance provider and retirement planning firm, started using agile methodologies to ensure that business and IT unit leaders come together on the requirements of the feature in sprints which are two weeks long. In case any feature breaks down, it can be retrieved without the need of taking the entire app back. The entire staff of the company has been very receptive to the adoption of Agile.
LMAX Exchange, a multilateral trading facility, has grown fond of the mature Agile process. The company has adopted ‘a truly exchange-style trading model’ to get the most out of its business. Test-driven development and continuous delivery, as practiced by LMAX exchange, have changed the company’s fortunes for the better.
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