Note: This is the first in a series of blogs where we’ll discuss Agile and its applications in field service.
You may have heard the term Agile before. Agile, in fact, has been around for over 20 years, and has improved businesses and teams worldwide. Scrum, kanban, lean, and XP are all subsets of Agile.
What is Agile?
Simply speaking, Agile is an approach to project management and software development. When teams talk about Agile, they are really talking about using iteration and continuous improvement. For example, instead of doing a bunch of development work on a SaaS product and then launching it to customers, companies that use Agile will create small improvements, often in conjunction with customer feedback, and push these out more regularly than a huge product launch. Agile requires collaboration across cross-functional teams, with regular evaluation of task progression and feedback cycles.
Why is Agile Important?
Agile allows teams to more quickly respond to customer feedback and issues within the development cycle. For example, at KloudGin, one of our customers asked us to develop a system to prioritize projects and reroute multiple teams during storm events. Our development team set to work on the problem, iterating a solution. They worked directly with the customer as development took place, asking questions as to functionality, usability, and desired results. A project timeline was determined and roll-outs done under supervision. Everyone on the team has ownership and accountability for success.
How Does Agile Impact Businesses?
Agile focuses on continuous improvement. In the development world, Agile helps teams focus on the desired outcome, and aligns customer feedback and business objectives with the work being done. Essentially, it connects strategy with execution to improve agility and efficiency.
Agile in Your Operational Technology (OT)
The Agile methodology can be used to set measurable goals and metrics for a future state of business. For example, a goal can be to increase first-time fix rates by 10%. Agile empowers everyone in the organization to help reach those goals. A field technician might help by noting parts missing in a Standard Operating Procedure for a job, so that needed parts can be added to the system to avoid parts delays. A customer service rep could help by working with a SaaS system that helps customers easily reschedule or cancel appointments, to avoid unnecessary truck rolls.
For Field Service development, at KloudGin, our customers are an essential part of our roadmapping process. The end user stories and business strategy impact help us align our areas of work and resources. When a feature is requested, we dig into the reason behind that request, how it impacts other customers we work with, and how we can develop that feature for maximum benefit.
Agile helps foster an ongoing conversation about development, so we can work towards a common, long-term goal.
Whether used for development or used to impact a company-wide goal, Agile allows organizations to manage priorities, increase productivity by allocating tasks and resources more effectively, and provides better visibility of projects and goals.
Next time, we’ll discuss how Agile impacts SaaS implementation and a real world customer scenario.
Ready to see KloudGin in action? Schedule a demo and see for yourself how KloudGin can make your field operations resilient.