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Four Attributes of an Agile Business

Building software is something that your business needs to do well. You see more revenue moving through digital channels and you’re starting to realise that this trend will continue. Your company’s ability to remain competitive hinges on your use of technology. This same technology gives new competitors the ability to springboard their businesses and scale quickly. Your business needs to have software development as a core competency.

There is a proliferation of people, books and frameworks telling you how to manage your software teams, but it is hard to figure out what is really important. There are consultants knocking on your door trying to sell you Scaled Agile This and Distributed Agile That. I’m going to help you cut through the noise and focus on what being agile really means. I’m going to show you four attributes that will allow you to build a software capability that can respond quickly to a rapidly changing market.



“This is what my customer wants.”

The concept of agility relates to how quickly you can react to your environment. Pause for a moment and think about whether you care about feedback. Do you want to understand your customers and adapt your product or service accordingly?

The most important feedback you can get about software is from the people who use it. Get feedback from your customer. Get it early and often. There are a number of

There's no point in having a responsive team and code base if you're using that capability to build the wrong things. Use the feedback you're gathering to make informed decisions and take the right features to market first.
It’s like cleaning your house. Imagine you’ve just gotten a phone call that some guests are coming over in half an hour. You look around. The house is a mess. The bed’s unmade, there are unwashed dishes in the sink. The floor needs a good vacuum and there are socks lying on the living room couch. You’re facing the same problem that software teams around the world face all the time: no matter how much there is to do, you can’t create more time. Do the most important things first. People are definitely going to need to sit on the couch and picking up socks doesn’t take long, so do that first. Your guests will not be impressed by unwashed dishes, so get started on that and wash as much as you can before they arrive. If you happen to break your dishwashing personal best, you can give the lounge a quick sweep. You should be going through this prioritisation exercise continuously with the features you want to build.
You have a team and a code base that is equipped to react to feedback. You have the right feedback loops to find out what’s important to the success of your product or service. The last piece of the puzzle is making sure you’re using that feedback to decide what the right thing is to build next.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.