Being agile in an operations management setting is no different than being agile in any other setting. It's all about having a team that can adapt to changing circumstances and make decisions quickly. It starts with your team: you need people who are flexible, who want to be able to respond quickly and effectively to new information, and who aren't afraid of change. You also need people who can work well together — because if you're trying to be agile, you'll probably have to do some cross-team collaboration. You'll also want to ensure the project management process is set up with agility in mind. This means breaking down projects into smaller pieces so that they can be completed faster (and tested before moving on), as well as setting up review systems for each stage of the process so that issues can be identified early and dealt with before they become big problems later on down the line. When you're operating in an agile framework, it can feel like the world is constantly shifting beneath your feet. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for keeping your footing in a project management setting:
Know which tools work best for you and your team. Different teams will have different preferences regarding how they like to stay on top of their projects — whether it's a simple spreadsheet or a hefty software package. What works for one team might not work for another, and that's okay! Figure out what works best for you, then ensure everyone on your team knows how to use it.
Keep an eye on deadlines and commitments. Deadlines are important —they help keep everyone focused on the task at hand! But sometimes, they can be hard to see in the chaos of day-to-day operations. Keep up with them by creating reminders in your calendar or setting up alerts that pop up on your computer when certain milestones come due. You'll never miss another deadline again!
One of the most important aspects of project management is being agile. When you're working in an agile setting, you need to be able to pivot and adapt quickly. If you're not familiar with the term "pivot" (it's not just from the best Friends episode ever!), it's basically when a company or project team changes its focus or direction. For example, if you're making a video game and realize that your target audience isn't as young as you thought, then you might want to get rid of some of your characters and add new ones. This would be considered a pivot. In an agile setting, pivoting can happen at any time during the project — and it's essential that it does! If something goes wrong — like maybe your team accidentally deleted all their work — you don't want them sitting around feeling discouraged for too long before they start working on another solution. That's why it's so important for managers in this type of environment to be proactive about being flexible and supportive when things don't go according to plan. If you're new to project management, the concept of "agile" may seem a little intimidating. After all, it's not exactly something you can just pick up and learn overnight. But don't worry — I've got your back. Whether you're in charge of managing a project or just interested in understanding how it all works, I've got some tips for getting started with agile project management on your side. First things first: What does "agile" mean? It means that instead of planning everything out in advance, you only do what's necessary at the time when it becomes necessary (and no more). This way, if something changes mid-project, you can adapt without having to go back and redo everything from scratch. HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR MAKING SURE THAT HAPPENS:
Always keep an eye on the budget! If costs start rising too quickly, this could be a sign that something has gone wrong—and it might be time to rethink your strategy before things get even pricier!
Be ready to change course at any time. If your initial plan isn't working out as expected or if certain pieces aren't fitting together like they should, don't wait around until the end before deciding what needs fixing.
Make sure everyone knows what's going on at all times. This means keeping them in the loop about deadlines, changes in plans, or anything that might affect their work.
Ensure your team can adapt quickly in order to meet those deadlines and change plans on time. If one team member can't make it, have others who can step in and help out with their workload until things get back on track again.
Give everyone a chance to voice concerns before they become problems — and then work together as a team to resolve them before they cause any real issues!
High level for the TL-DR folks: 1) Focus on outcomes first 2) Plan your work 3) Start with small wins 4) Delegate responsibility 5) Learn from mistakes It's important to have clear goals for each sprint. This helps you stay on track throughout the process, as well as keep your team motivated. Make sure everyone involved knows what they're working toward and how they'll know when they've reached it. Keep communication lines open between departments—and within your own team! This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what's expected of them during each stage of the process. Remember: there are no bad ideas! If someone has an idea for how something could be done better or differently than usual, consider it seriously—it might just be what's needed to make your company's operations run more smoothly! Lastly, agile project management is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Adapt these tips to your team's unique needs and the specific project you're working on. Flexibility and continuous improvement are key principles of being agile, so be prepared to adjust and refine your processes as you go.
YOU GOT THIS!
April Eldridge, Owner/Founder of April Eldridge Consulting LLC, is a Fractional COO & Chief of Staff with 20+ years of experience in operational management and executive leadership. Working in corporate America for most of her career, April ventured into the entrepreneurship world and focused her efforts on providing the absolute best support possible to her clients. Agility, resilience, determination, and dependability are all attributes that April is well known for, and she highly values her relationships with those she supports.