Is Agile The Way To Go For A Fast-Growing Startup?

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Is Agile The Way To Go For A Fast-Growing Startup?

Is Agile only effective for larger and established businesses? Take a look to see if Agile could be an effective methodology for startups.

· Agile Zone ·
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Most entrepreneurs think they are building something unique and new. In reality, over 90% of them fail. But you are not one of them. Right?      

This is exactly what I thought. Like most entrepreneurs, I have known failures and made mistakes. At the same time, I have been lucky enough to succeed a few times. I am writing this to help you prevent making the same mistakes.

Let’s look at what the statistics have to say.

A study by senior lecturer Shikha Ghosh from Harvard Business School suggests that nearly 3 out of 4 start-ups fail. Another study by Statistics Brain, Startup Business Failure Rate by Industry, indicates 50% of startups fail within five years and 70% fail within 10 years. As a matter of fact, startups struggle for many reasons.

Why Do Startups Fail?

Startups that fail do so because they fail to anticipate obstacles and, therefore, they may not even know how to respond. Not having adequate capital and proper leads are other big reasons.

Some other big reasons for failure are lack of planning, not hiring experienced staff, cluttered work, and more. Even a lack of mentors or having a co-founder who does not want to try new methods is also a failing point for many startups. Another oversight is the neglection of competitors. Many believe “I have my own customers, they have their own,” but in reality, competitors are always on the lookout for how to grab your customers.

By now, you must be wondering what to do to make all things fall in place. One of the most powerful ways of making things work is through Agile.

What is Agile?

Agile is an umbrella term used to describe principles and practices for the entire project life cycle. Under this methodology, solutions evolve through collaboration and teamwork.

Agile software implementation helps in planning, development, and prompt delivery of products and services. Plus, it helps you boost your team performance for faster growth.

Some of the most popular Agile project management methodologies are Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Extreme Programming (XP), Feature-Driven Development (FDD), and Lean Development. on

Agile Methodology can be best understood as encouraging:

  • Self-organization

  • Utility of appropriate departmental functions, and

  • Cross-functional teamwork

Agile in Project Management

Agile is a great collaborative project management framework. With the help of Agile, teams can tackle a project in various stages that involves constant collaboration with continuous iteration and improvement.

The process begins with the client dictating what the end product/service is going to look like and how it will help the consumers. Agile helps you learn what the expectations of customers are.

Agile in Startups

Being a startup, baby steps are required to complete a project. The size of the projects is usually small and, thus, requires quick delivery on your part. Agile startups typically employ small teams focusing on quick deliverables. They release a portion of the project and improve it continuously by receiving customer feedback.

Some of the key features of Agile methodology that helps startups to deliver:

  1. Satisfying the customer through timely and constant deliverables.

  2. Harnessing continuous changes for customer’s competitive advantage.

  3. Bringing the team together throughout the project to avoid duplicity of efforts.

  4. Focusing on a shorter timescale.

  5. Conveying information within the development or remote teams, not only face-to-face, but also through software to maintain clarity.

  6. Promoting sustainable development and maintaining a constant pace, no matter what.

  7. Team’s continuous strive to become more effective at regular intervals, and then tune its behavior accordingly.

What Barriers Do Startups Face While Implementing Agile?

In a startup, the team is usually small and time is the most valuable asset. If implemented correctly, Agile can get your startup not just up, but running. Sometimes all that is required is smart work!

Barriers that startups face at the time of Agile implementation often include:

  • Cure-remedies for all the maladies: Most of the startups usually have a small staff of around 5-10 people. Since there is s staff shortage, they feel investing in a tool like Agile can help them solve all their problems. One needs to understand that this investment is a way to handle your projects efficiently and not a solution to problems. If the problems are deeply rooted within the organization, then Agile can’t help. You should depend on this tool for the right tasks.

  • Resistance to change: The inertia of the established and monotonous routine is the biggest hurdle which many of the start-ups suffer from. Here, it becomes necessary that the employees and managers be given training on the methods of Agile, and understand its importance.

  • Evaluation: The biggest issue which usually startups face is that none of the work is streamlined. Since the work is all over the place, startups fail to evaluate the parameters of success. They also fail to take into account, the reduced number of customer complaints and delayed deliverables.

The Bottom Line

Agile development is definitely a new ray of hope for startups. Its implementation in your work will lend growth, if executed well. But, always remember, what works for someone else may not deliver the same result to you. There is no checklist in the market that can help you. You have to find your own way.

To make any startup successful, you need to invest money, devote your time, and brains. Your customers expect the best possible digital experience. Agile transformation in any startup takes time and grit to execute. Organizations must embrace the changes, steps to learn, unlearn, and relearn the new processes. At times, it may feel like a dead end but if you believe in your project, you will find a way to succeed. Beat the odds with Agile!

agile, agile challenges, project management, startups

Published at DZone with permission of David Miller . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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