Agile in The Time of COVID-19

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Agile in The Time of COVID-19

In the age of COVID-19, organizations are making powerful changes to adjust to the new virtual reality.

· Agile Zone ·
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“COVID-19 is the World War III” - Andrew Romanukha

With the modern-day advances in medicine, you’d think that the times of plagues are over and the lifespan of a human being should be inevitably increasing. On the contrary, we are witnessing the mankind’s vulnerability to the spreading disease and an urgent need to adapt to this new reality in all aspects of life, be it working, studying, or maintaining relationships.

The world economy is experiencing a great shift from the traditional ways of working to a more distributed and remote mode. Companies all over the globe experience digital transformation, driven by COVID-19, moving all the possible functions online, including HR, marketing, sales, finance, training and naturally, IT.

Meanwhile, as most businesses are knocked off balance from the immediate impact of the virus, some are surprisingly undergoing a period of drastic growth and development.

All of these companies have one common feature that allowed them to blossom in the brave new world – adaptability, flexibility, and quick reaction to changing circumstances of the market. Similarly to the mouse Sniff in the story Who Moved My Cheese?, they sensed the dawn of a new era and possibilities it might bring, and dared to take bold unusual decisions while the rest of the competition has been holding firmly on to the old processes and habits, paralyzed by the oncoming change.

In other words, all those lucky winners have been Agile and, consciously or subconsciously, followed the Agile values and principles.

What are the principles, exactly? What is the code to success that these companies have managed to crack? Let’s have a look and find out.

Being Open to Change

First and foremost, they welcomed the change and have been proactively seeking new directions in response to modern challenges. Some of the businesses have gone fully online and started digital transformation which goes hand-in-hand with Agile transformation, some have fully switched profile in order to match with new market demand. A great example of this is how our company managed to do a complete 180 and conduct online Program Increment planning for remote teams distributed all across Europe with barely a week for preparation.

What You Can Do

Be flexible in adapting new technologies and methodologies. Find something to suit your needs in the abundance of tools and apps for online communication and project management. Implement it. USE IT!

Decentralization and Cross-Functionality

Another shift corresponds to moving from a siloed approach to more cross-functional teams with the empowerment of decentralized decision-making and an environment of support and trust. Micromanagement is losing its sense when working from home and should be replaced by mutual integrity and transparency of employer and employees.

What You Can Do

Introduce healthy communication strategies and, by all means, encourage initiative and proactive behaviour.

Shift to Lean Thinking

Succeeding alteration is the implementation of Lean thinking at all levels of an organization. This is well-matched with the need for an experimental mindset and the new breakthrough ideas of doing business. On the other hand, each corporation had to encourage the comprehensive elimination of wastes and reduction of unnecessary costs and investments. To put it simply, a constant sense of danger became the “new normal” and companies that incorporate sustainability as a part of their DNA have more chances to succeed compared to those only declaring it in yearly reports.

What You Can Do

Run experiments to try out new opportunities for business early on.

Scaled Agile in Business Planning

Strategic business planning for longer periods becomes the evident sign of insanity. Top executives are switching to short term goals with a planning horizon of no more than a few weeks and even days. This plays well with the Agile statement of delivering value more often and in shorter periods of time. On top of that, Scaled Agile allows painless scaling of the businesses of any size with any number of teams across multiple locations. It provides a powerful tool for managing growing complexity (or even anarchy) in a systematic and well thought out way.

Scaled Agile

What You Can Do

Opt for more frequent and consistent planning for shorter periods of time. In SAFe planning events, teams look over the scope of work for 8-12 weeks at a time but nowadays you can do much shorter than that.


The new era has clearly proved that modern leadership has to adjust itself as well. Only with customer centricity at heart and design thinking in mind, one can lead an organization through these unpredictable and calamitous times. The sacred state of business agility is not just a sexy glamorous idiom anymore but a real vaccine against COVID-19 for enterprises around the globe.

agile adoption ,agile in the future ,agile planning ,covid 19 ,safe ,scaled agile framework

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