In a fast-moving environment, it’s not surprising that more and more organisations are embracing Agile in a bid to outpace competitors and gain market share. In the past month, over 5,000 LinkedIn jobs require candidates with experience in agile methodologies. And these jobs are across all industries and many functions, revealing that the agile way of working is becoming pervasive.
What is Agile?
Twenty years ago, ‘agile’ and ‘scrum’ were synonymous with software development; since then the approach has gone mainstream. At its heart is the idea that multi-disciplinary teams deliver incremental chunks of value in short iterations. Unconstrained by a top-down hierarchical structure, these high-performance teams are responsible for a business outcome and work collaboratively across functions to deliver fast, and, importantly, to fail fast – because if you’re going to get something wrong, you want to do it quickly. Conversely, following a Waterfall approach, getting something wrong may not be evident for months or even years; with an Agile approach, you’ll know in 2-weeks. It’s an effective way to manage risk.
A paradigm shift
Look at how FinTech has revolutionised the banking industry. It’s a David and Goliath story on beating the odds against the large financial institutions where FinTech companies seized the opportunity to develop offerings for underserved communities and the underbanked to gain market share. These new challengers embrace the agile mindset with an ‘all hands-on deck’ approach, to deliver business results faster. As one of the world’s fastest growing in-demand industries with over 1,000 UK FinTechs, the biggest challenge now is attracting qualified and suitable talent to sustain that continued growth.
An agile mindset
Against a backdrop of disruption in an increasingly digital world, agility is more important than ever. When financial technology changed the banking space, most big banks lacked the agility of smaller rivals to respond effectively – many deciding to buy or invest in a start-up that has built a digital platform from scratch. For example, last year Santander bought a majority stake in UK FinTech Ebury for £350m to win more business from small companies.
The future of work
With international studies showing that leaders in Agile working rank in the top quartile for revenue growth and profitability, it’s likely we’ll see more organisations invest in Agile and seek candidates with experience in a quick-moving agile environment to drive a more flexible, efficient and results-led way of realising goals.
Chris Notley, Managing Director at Chamberlain suggests that when recruiting, hiring managers should be looking at introducing Agile experienced candidates across all areas of the bank: “As the workplace becomes more cross-functional and collaborative, the benefits of Agile go beyond teams working in a product, project or IT environment – it’s becoming more widespread and candidates with an agile mindset will be beneficial to any team.”
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