Building an Agile Business

March 1, 2017 Tal Bevan

As a leading design, strategy, and tailored software firm, Architech emphatically embraces the principles of agile software development – not only for our engineering practice but also as a roadmap for our business management principles.

At our core, we’re committed to uncovering better ways of developing solutions for our clients, the software to do it, and motivating our team members to be the best software engineers, designers, data scientists, and strategists they can be.

As a leader in an agile organization, I see deep parallels between the Agile Manifesto and the way we focus on clients and run our business. Below, I’ve identified the connection points between the principles of agile software development and how Architech does business:

1) Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. At Architech, we recognize the importance of growing our people. Part of what this means is ensuring everyone is client-focused so that we can deliver high client satisfaction and valuable software.

2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. At Architech we embrace change and focus on never failing a client. In concert with our work with clients, we routinely prioritize deliverables to ensure the client’s needs and expectations are met.

3) Deliver working software, frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for shorter timescale. Architech is a company based on open and collaborative communications - both with our clients and internally. This approach sets a regular cadence for delivering working software and continually evolving our organization.

4) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. At Architech, we build cross-functional teams and solicit input from both the client and our subject matter experts to ensure we deliver the right solution, the first time. As a leader at Architech, it is important for me to focus on ensuring open and collaborative communication so we can always do right by our employees and our clients.

5) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, trust them to get the job done. We know that the people who are closest to the projects are best equipped to delight our clients. Our obligation is to grow our people so that each day they can be even more effective. Each of our employees has a personal budget for training and development beyond regular scheduled team and skills building sessions. Money well spent!

6) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within the development team is face-to-face conversations. As part of our commitment to openness and collaboration, as well as growing our people, each employee has a weekly scheduled 1:1 session with their direct manager. As well, we host regular Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions where any employee can ask direct questions to the leadership team in an open, public forum. We also provide confidential forums where questions can be asked anonymously and then we address the questions head-on in our bi-weekly AMA sessions.

7) Working software is the primary measure of progress. Designing and building working software (that meets demanding client requirements) is one of the best testaments to doing the right thing. We keep this goal front and centre, measuring progress against working, testable software that delights our clients.

8) Agile processes promote sustainable development. Being open, collaborative, and doing the right thing is critical to sustainable development. However, without a focus on growing our people, we cannot be sure that the pace required to both meet our client’s needs and create an exceptional organization can be properly maintained.

9) Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Doing the right thing is the cornerstone of agility – enabling us to pivot quickly to consistently meet evolving requirements. Architech is continuously focused on technical excellence in the delivery of solutions to clients.

10) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential. We have come to learn that embracing change often means listening to clients (and each other) to find ways to simplify deliverables, improve market insights, and build the right solution, the right way, the first time.

11) The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. At Architech, we encourage each other and our clients to think BIG. Thinking BIG, with the right self-organizing teams, has led to remarkable breakthroughs for our clients and, ultimately, the employees and end-users they serve.

12) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjust its behaviour accordingly. Similarly, embracing change, never failing a client, and growing our people are central values that inform the way we operate and the way in which we approach developing software and delighting our clients.

With these Agile values in mind, I propose the following challenge to myself and all leaders: Even when it’s hard, embrace the principles of agile software delivery -- not only to build great software, but, more importantly, to build great teams and organizations.

Want to see our Agile approach to business practices in action? I’d be happy to chat about how Architech can help your business meets it objectives.

About the Author

Tal Bevan

As COO, Tal is responsible for accelerating Architech's market success as a leading innovation, design, analytics, and engineering firm. Tal's client-centric approach and dedication supports Architech's continued growth as a leader in creating innovative and meaningful tailored business solutions.

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