How to: Use Agile methods to help run your training company

“Agile” has become something of a buzzword in business. From shorthand for startups run from living rooms with laptops, to the introduction of flexible working, “agile” can have fairly wide application and meaning. The Agile Manifesto, created by developers looking to write software better, has been at the heart of the development of an entire culture behind this word. It’s a methodology that has proven transformative and could be useful in helping you run your training company.

The key components of Agile

These foundation principles are drawn from the Agile approach to software development but they have much wider application for any business organisation.

Focusing your processes on people and interactions

Agile working methods are based on people self-organising and on opening channels of communication between teams. A silo approach does not work with Agile methods, which require investment in face-to-face communication, even if it’s just a minimal meeting at the start and end of the working day.

Sharing ideas and enabling visibility of information

When something is shared between members of a team there is the opportunity for others to input on what works and what doesn’t. This tends to result in better outcomes, as well as more engaged teams. So, Agile methods often involve investment in collaborative tools and platforms that cater to ideas sharing and real time responses to suggestions and change.

Flexibility and responsiveness

Like any positive business practice, there is an element of goal setting when using Agile methods. Team goals should be aligned with overall business goals for more effectiveness. However, these goals need not be set in stone. Flexibility is a crucial foundation of Agile methods because it allows the business to respond swiftly and efficiently to changing circumstances, which is literally the definition of being more agile.

As priorities shift within the business so too can team goals so that all remain aligned with one another but not stuck and set in stone. Although planning is essential in the Agile method model, there needs to be enough room to accommodate responsiveness to change too.

A new approach to customers

Agile isn’t about forcing customers into contracts or negotiating the hell out of a deal. Instead, it works on the basis of getting to know what customers really want so that the relationship feels more collaborative. Buyer personas are a great way to bring this approach to life.

These tools are effectively fictional customer profiles that have been informed by in-depth demographic and behavioral information, from the average income of the buyer through to where they live and what their buying preferences are. Buying personas will provide the kind of customer insight that allows for a much closer study of who your customers are and make it easier to stay in touch with what their expectations might be.

Agile working might have been developed for the software industry but it has been used to generate positive change for organisations in many other sectors since. The methods used could help to totally transform your training company.

Get in touch with Enterprise Study for more help and advice to transform your learning.

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