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The following conversation with Andrew Jones sheds some light on their unique solutions in the agile landscape.
Could you tell us how Agility in Mind was conceived?
The company was conceived based on my several years of experience in the software industry. In the early part of my career, I worked closely with clients while building products that would meet their business needs. Over time, I began to witness that people who were creating software products had reducing and often zero interaction with clients or business users, so they had little concept of the true value of the product. A very rigid process and predictable working practices were set in place that prevented them from being flexible in what they were doing and understanding truly the business need. Enterprises employ people for their expertise and decision-making capabilities and, if we stop respecting that and think that employees have to follow a certain set of rules, then we lose that value. Agility in Mind was launched, therefore, to use agile principles and practices to achieve greater collaboration and value-based product development.
What are the common challenges that your potential customers face? What stops them from going full agile?
Senior management has to understand that the change starts with them. If the senior management wants the organization to be agile, then they must have a common view on what agility means. If they fail to understand that, then there is no point spending their money on external agents to come in and help make changes.
In larger organizations, a traditional way of working holds them back from achieving agility, and it affects the behavior of the rest of the team.
In scaling organizations, they have a hard time grasping that they are not a startup anymore.
We use agile principles and practices to achieve greater collaboration between people which is fundamental to becoming an agile organization
Quite often, founders find it difficult to let go and start to trust the rest of the organization. The senior management in these companies still desire chaotic practices because they think this represents positive characteristics of a start-up.
We guide such organizations to have discipline and some common processes in place for their employees to understand and encourage collaboration. It is amazing to see how quickly an organization can build constraints around themselves and hinder their growth.
Walk us through your client onboarding and engagement process.
Our approach in terms of client engagement is very lightweight and straightforward. Instead of using an intense analytical approach, we use a ‘High-Impact Model’ that finds the key drivers for change. We undertake a short (3-7 days) non-exhaustive discovery so that we identify drivers and outcomes for change. We then run high impact workshops that help people to quickly understand agile principles and practices and have the confidence to adopt them. Although based upon a standard training program each workshop is tailored to an organization’s needs. In the workshop, we explain agile principles, practices, tools, and the intention behind agile ways of working. Going forward, we intensify the coaching and work alongside people to put the practices in place. Further, we find and eliminate the constraints that hinder communication and facilitate conversations between teams for better collaboration.
Would you like to elaborate on your key differentiating factors in the market?
The way that we provide our services is to have impact and affect change in the organization rather than selling packages. Even though we provide training in isolation, the outcome is clear from the first day of training. We want them to be value-based and measurable. In some cases, it is related to the confidence levels in people. We have developed an internal application that measures the confidence quotient of the employees very effectively across engagement or training. This helps us differentiate ourselves from the competition and keeps us focused on delivering value to our clients. Besides, the facet that makes us exceptional in the market is that we slowly back out of the client company once people start to make a change and take the lead. We don’t intend to make long-term revenue; what we are trying to do is to make a difference to people so that they can manage their organization in a better way without external help.
Please share some customer success stories.
This particular client is an international manufacturer of high-end consumer products. The client wanted to align with their strategic goals and take ownership of the direct engagement with their customers. We started the conversation with the executives and presented them with the road-map to change. We engaged with different teams across the organization from marketing to supply chain and from finance to HR. The process started with simple Kanban boards, and we had conversations about the actions that need to be performed and how to do them better. After getting their daily mechanism in place, they started to apply the practices on the day-to-day as well as at the project level. The application of these practices gave them better success rates in terms of delivering end-to-end projects.
How has the track record been for the company, and what does the future hold for Agility in Mind?
We are keen on building our organization organically, that is by directly employing our consulting team rather than using an associate model. This may have constrained our growth a little because we are building the capability within the organization so that we always have full confidence in our ability to fulfil on the promise for change. The people that we bring into the organization are aligned with our value proposition and are capable of upholding the quality associated with the brand. However, we continue to grow between 20 to 40 percent annually, the majority of which comes through our reputation and word of mouth.
What we want to be is an organization for people who are willing to make a change. We are quite proud of the fact that we are listed in the Financial Times UK top management consultancies, two years consecutively.