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12 Habits of Agile Enterprise Start-up Teams

Pinak Kiran Vedalankar
Pinak Kiran Vedalankar
This article is part 3 of a 3 part series. Read the rest of the articles here.

Today’s teams need to think and act fast. To get to market quickly they must adopt agile habits, an engineering mindset and collaborate in smaller units with more diverse skillsets.

These are 12 characteristics of successful agile teams:

1. They recognize that always-on customers need always-on systems

People expect to access the services they want immediately, whenever it suits them. Opening hours are a relic.

2. They work in small, multi-disciplinary teams – not traditional departments

Teams can thrive only when the organization is able to break down silos. Silos lead to departmental fiefdoms conditioned to avoid productive collaboration.

3. They use data to improve and personalize a customer’s experience

The essence of digital natives is that each customer interaction generates data that can be used to refine their user profile and better target the propositions they are presented with next time.

4. They cut time to market for new products and services – they listen, test, learn and iterate in real time

Feedback from customer interactions not only allows teams to provide more personalized experiences, it also allows them to get their product into the market quickly and refine as they go.

5. They work in an agile way, with workflows managed to reduce waste and delays

Smaller teams use agile practices to ensure everyone focuses on solving the right problems as quickly as possible, using a competitive collaboration model to focus everyone on the same goal.

young men and women working in an agile office setting

6. They ensure quality assurance is built in at every stage of every process

Products must get to market quickly so quality cannot be left to the end of the process.

7. They know that business objectives are also IT objectives; they share a common goal

Having metrics that cut across traditional structures is a powerful way to make collaboration a reality and focus different departments on delivering the business’ overall objectives – not just their individual responsibilities. IT is no longer confined to a department—it is everywhere.

8. They clearly define results and metrics, and the teams are fully accountable and rewarded for delivering them

Agile teams ensure every member focuses on a shared goal, but recognize and reward individual achievements as well as the team’s successes.

9. They learn from each other and implement what they’ve learned

Start-ups use small teams, with a core of agile coaches, engineers, creative designers, strategists, business analysts and other champions. These “master craftspeople” liaise across the individual teams, sharing knowledge and spreading best practices.

10. They build innovation into daily life and roadmaps

These teams use hackathons to accelerate innovation and tackle problems fast. They exhibit a strong test-and-learn culture and they regard every service as a beta. Nothing is ever finished if constant innovation is your goal.

11. They redistribute what they can’t do to highly skilled partners and negotiate based on business outcomes

Trying to solve every problem internally can slow down your progress. Agile teams recognize when they need back-up in the form of specialized skills and services and they secure it quickly. In fact, they build out an ecosystem of partners whom they can rely upon at short notice.

12. They start small and dream big

The size of your teams is no barrier to creating a big impact when you have the instant scalability that cloud-based infrastructure delivers.

Pinak Kiran Vedalankar
Pinak Kiran Vedalankar
Vice President, Technology


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