The pace of technology development and constant changes in the economic situation require managers to seek new approaches to company management, since old methods and tools no longer provide the necessary level of efficiency. In the age of global change, it is up to us whether we can lead the change management process or they will rule us . Competition is constantly growing, and consumers no longer want to just buy a serial product, they want an exclusivity. Therefore, companies now need to adjust to the needs of each customer. One of the challenges faced by manufacturers is the organization of a stream of exclusive (single) products and services. And this applies equally to production, trade and service companies that provide services.
- Materials and methods
Agile technology is replacing various systems of organization of the enterprise. The main question that leaders ask themselves is how to start to implement these technologies. Many top managers also do not understand what flexible production systems really mean. It is necessary to correctly understand what Agile is. Companies, increasing in size, lose flexibility, systemic thinking. And this is a problem. Nevertheless, any manager of the organization’s service, even with a little management experience (and this Director feels this most of all) can confirm one simple thing: the management of the organization in the service sphere, in its classical version, does not always work .
It should be borne in mind that system thinking and system management are not at all fashionable business incidents — they have become an indispensable attribute that can help modern managers keep their companies afloat and somehow navigate the changes towards their goals . They take decisions for a long time, they can not quickly build up their capacities and get rid of them, they do not know how to quickly switch from a product to a product, they are dependent on large production batches. And, most importantly, they lose the opportunity to see in detail the needs of each customer, adjusting to them. In the classical approach, the Agile chip is a quick adaptation to the production of various products. For example, today the company produces plastic containers, and tomorrow plastic toys. Or, for example, in the production of building structures, the company is able to quickly change the sizes, shapes and technical characteristics of the products produced. But, in fact, today’s realities require Agile in all areas of the company: from sales and marketing, to even accounting. However, long-term and large-scale goals require solving a mass of more mundane and urgent tasks .
In the process of daily professional activity, we strive to do the best job. We are afraid to take an incorrect decision that could lead to business losses . The company must become Agile primarily in management, and this is an extremely horizontal management structure. Instead of positions, roles play the first place (today the employee has one role in the company, and tomorrow the same employee gets a different role, since the first one is executed and is now irrelevant). These are small independent groups (business units) instead of large divisions, departments, divisions with a high degree of independence, entrepreneurial principles of interaction. Thus, Agile-companies, these are not staff schedules, but the business environment. At the same time, it should be noted that mentoring has been recognized as the most effective way of teaching recently .
It is impossible to make production flexible without changing the stagnant habits in the minds of marketers who are accustomed to working through traditional sales channels and are not looking for new ways to promote products. The whole positive effect of Agile in the production will be absorbed if marketers habitually advertise on billboards and lower the budget for corporate souvenirs. Marketers should analyze and predict when and what dividends the company will receive from their actions, how the activity will allow the company to sell more or easier to convince customers to choose its product. It should be analyzed what makes the company apply the agile methodology. We believe that this is:
First, there is high competition. The approach described by the triangle «fast / good / cheap» does not work anymore. Customers, although immediately qualitatively, quickly and cheaper than others. Some experts argue that in fact, there is no competition of goods, products or services. There is competition for management models.
Secondly, long-term forecasts no longer come true. The rate of change in the economic environment is so high that it is not known what will be relevant in the market. Your competitor has released a new innovative product, setting new standards in the industry — and you have to tighten your company. Otherwise, you will be left out. Today your customer wants one product, and tomorrow the same, but «with pearl buttons.» However, the ideological basis should be common in all known areas of brand implementation .
Thirdly, — the tightness and complexity of decision-making, the sluggishness of companies. In large companies with bureaucracy brought to the point of absurdity, decisions are not accepted, but are dissolved.
Certainly, there are basic principles of agile-methodologies, which progressive companies try to apply in practice. In our opinion, they include the following:
- Orientation to the result. A working product is the main indicator of success. We leave out the hardest documentation and regulating processes, leaving the necessary maximum. The main focus remains speed and efficiency.
- Constant attention to the technical and innovative nature of the product development process.
- Reducing the timing of release. This is achieved through the development of products through the use of modern multifunctional processing equipment, software for production planning, software for modeling and product development, effective communications of employees, not burdened with regulations, procedures, etc.
- Work in conditions of constant changes. The ability to manage agile processes adds a unique advantage to the company compared to its competitors.
But not all companies have the need to use Agile. In our opinion, the introduction of flexible methodologies, which, by the way, requires significant costs and resources, will not bring benefits to companies that: produce and process raw materials, produce FMCG products, as well as goods with a long life cycle.
And among those who are vitally important to be flexible, the following manufacturing companies:
— providing production services (outsourcers);
— producers of complex technical equipment, electronics with a high degree of customization for customer needs exceeding 30%;
— representatives of the fashion industry;
— producers of products, the demand for which is difficult to predict; Here you can add that during the crisis and transformation periods, all companies are experiencing difficulty in forecasting sales, so this criterion should be considered situationally .
Some experts who have experience in consulting activities say: despite the fact that each company has its own specifics and different levels at the start of the project for the implementation of the agile system, most of the mistakes are the same. The specifics of the company affect the scope and list of tasks that need to be performed, their sequence and duration, but the main mistakes lie beyond the scope of the content and timing.
Among the main, most common mistakes in the implementation of Agile are the following.
In the first place, we would make such a mistake — the lack of understanding and implementation goals for top managers and owners. Speaking about the prospects of the company’s development, it should be borne in mind that the company should take root concepts such as vision, mission and strategy .
It is necessary to understand as precisely as possible what the company should receive as a result of implementation, what terms and budget it has. And the goals formulated as «To improve efficiency» or «To become an industry leader» are not that. These beautiful slogans are for the mission of the company. Goals must be digitized. For example: «To achieve turnover in 2020, $ 2 billion», «Reduce the development time of the product to two months,» «Reduce the execution of orders from three months to 15 days.»
Further on the importance is the problem with the wrong diagnosis. Usually, the company, implementing Agile, seeks to solve specific problems: high production costs, low quality products. But, not understanding what the problem is, management simply begins to implement Agile, believing that this will change everything dramatically . In this case, it will get even lower efficiency.
An error is common, which is connected with the implementation of Agile-methods only in a particular area of business processes. This error is a logical extension of the previous one. It is connected with a lack of understanding of what is the cause of the problems. Changes should affect all areas of the company: production, marketing, sales and even accounting. Otherwise, nothing will come of it. If we carry out a revolution only in production, then there will be no effect, and skeptics will say afterwards: «Your Agile does not work.»
It is not uncommon to underestimate the importance of involving the whole staff in the process. If the leaders do not have a team of allies in the person of colleagues — it is better to save resources and time and not start anything. Agile requires the mobilization, initiative and responsibility of all participants in the process, or at least middle and senior managers. Provided that they are strong and powerful leaders who will ensure high discipline in the performance of tasks and new rules of work. As the experience of specialists shows, 85% of companies do not have professional strong managers.
The illusion that everything can be done at the expense of human efforts is another potential mistake in the implementation of Agile. Yes, most of the efficiency lies in the staff, its competencies and motivation. But no less important is the technical equipment of the company, software that allows you to effectively manage and plan activities. Therefore, investments in equipment, machines, application software are inevitable.
Many specialists in the field of Agile-methods pay attention to the reluctance of top management to carry out personnel replacements. Indeed, the opportunity to be flexible, be able to communicate with people, motivate them to realize their potential to the fullest — this is all the result of a high level of emotional intelligence of the leader, leader . 90% of success depends on the staff, therefore it needs to be trained, developed and properly motivated. Many people are not internally ready to work in an agile environment, they want clear and stable business processes, they do not want to learn new knowledge. On average, 25-30% of the staff do not want to work and earn, with such employees it is necessary to part. Identifying weak links is a rather complex process, which HR managers try to avoid.
Quite rare, but, nevertheless, there are problems associated with loss of interest and participation of top managers in the implementation of Agile technologies. On average, the implementation project takes from eight to 16 months. In 70% of cases, within three months the project team members for implementation lose their drive and are excluded from participation. Such projects are doomed to failure.
- Results and Discussion
In order to implement the projects of the company and conduct business successfully, we consider it expedient to implement the following.
It is necessary to draw up a project plan. In this case, it should be borne in mind that alternative calculations provide the choice of the best option for making a decision, which at the next stage is embodied in the plans . It is necessary to know the answers to such questions as: what tasks need to be performed, what resources are needed for this, and what are the terms? Long-term plans have low accuracy, therefore it is better to develop an implementation plan in three planes:
— a long-term implementation plan (it is necessary to indicate in it all the tasks that need to be accomplished, to plan the implementation of major milestones of the project);
— on the basis of this plan, monthly task plans should be formed (these plans must be fulfilled by at least 90%);
— Within the framework of operational planning, it is necessary to determine the most detailed plans of tasks, with a clear description of the results of implementation.
Of course, it is advisable to involve all personnel in the project and inform about it. It is important that all employees, even those who do not carry out project tasks, understand and share what the company wants to achieve, and what actions must be taken to achieve these goals. This is possible only where employees develop, not only understanding, but also feeling that their efforts are adequately rewarded. In other words, where they are valued .
It would be correct periodically, once or twice a month, to hold meetings with the implementation team. This is necessary in order to develop solutions to problems and problems, timely adjust the plan, in case of difficulties with implementation. At the same time, the solution of acute conflict situations should not be postponed until the scheduled meeting, which can take place, for example, in two weeks, and it is necessary to resolve them promptly.
Do not immediately abandon the project if you see that it has a negative effect. A satisfied customer will always come back again and will recommend this company not only because the price is low, but because it is profitable and convenient in all respects .
The inability to offer a cumulative product that identifies the style characteristic of a service company, and which has emergent properties, continues to be an insoluble contradiction in the theory and practice of modern marketing . As a rule, the negative effect is the dissatisfaction of employees who are forced to leave the usual comfort zone and get into the creative environment. It should be remembered that the first results, as a rule, will be measurable after 80% of the path is traversed.
And, in conclusion — should immediately part with inefficient employees and those who are not Agile. And do not try to do everything right from the first iteration. Approximately 95% of effective and implemented solutions and tools were achieved by multiple polishing, that is, after several iterations.
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