Insights. Actions. Results.

What’s in a name? our agile organization

Posted by Tamara Mitchell on 29-Jul-2021 11:15:08
Tamara Mitchell

We’ve had over twenty years to apply the values and methods found in the Agile Manifesto. What began as an alternative way to develop software has developed into a core management philosophy or cultural mindset for many more business functions and industries. It’s no secret that agile can help organizations quickly and efficiently adjust strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology to create better opportunities.

As the homage to agile in Agil-ytic suggests, the agile approach plays a central role in our day-to-day work and project management. I spoke with Agilytic’s Managing Partners, Christophe Robyns and Julien Theys, on how our name came to be and what this way of working means for our clients and our team.

Managing Partners Agilytic

Where does Agilytic get its name? And how does the agile method relate to our mission?

Chris: Past the traditional framework, agile is really an approach to our attitude, extending to internal interactions and how we deliver our services. With flexibility in mind, we can adapt ourselves to the client's needs and the situation. We want to work iteratively and not necessarily within the defined boundaries of a project, which helps us deliver results quickly. For instance, if we see a better alternative, we propose it. Also, our clients don’t have to wait for six months. Most projects can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. We can also recommend different modules of projects so that they can see results faster. That’s the agile way we wanted to convey with our name, beyond strictly following the methodology.

What is agile service management? Why is agile needed in services?

Chris: Agile means creating fast, flexible, customer-first organizations. As a client, you benefit from having better responsiveness, control over the project, risk reduction, and value creation. Often, clients don’t know what to expect until they have the outcome, such as the output of a model or an automated report.

Julien: Yes, we can deliver results more suited to clients’ needs. For example, we can show the direct output of a model we create, and the sooner we offer results, compare it to what the client expects, the sooner we can start refining it.

Chris: We are also not ‘boxed-in’ to using a certain tech stack. We invest in continuous training for proven, leading tools in NLP, computer vision, also Databricks, Azure, AWS, and more. That way, we have specialists in different services, tools, and technologies available and they are always updating their skills with new releases.

How does being agile impact our communication and collaboration style?

Julien: We try to practice what we preach. Pragmatism is at the heart of our work, and we try to be exemplary in the way we apply agile principles. Otherwise, it won’t ring true when we meet the client. Being agile requires a people-centered culture that thrives in rapid learning and fast decision cycles. Our senior employees take the lead in this way of working. A powerful common purpose guides us to co-create value for our clients. We certainly have a co-working spirit as a growing, scale-up team.

What does “being agile” look like to us? How does it impact our processes, our development, our culture?

Chris: We always focus on custom development and custom work. A small but significant initiative is that we have a weekly status meeting with the client in most projects. We are very transparent on our progress from the previous week, what we plan to do in the upcoming week, any risks and issues, and the key messages. Knowing what we need to do week-to-week makes it easy to change direction if we need to. We often invite our clients to use the same tools, such as GitHub for code development and ClickUp for project management, so they have complete visibility.

Julien: There is a sense of commitment, responsibility, and empowerment, and we look to hire people who are eager to take ownership of projects. Micro-management has no place in an agile way of working.

Chris: I would add that maintaining this sense of trust and ownership within our team will help us enormously as we grow. And we always work in a one-week time frame internally as well, so we know what’s to come.

Business environments are increasingly complex and unpredictable. Is there something related to the industries we work with that makes it beneficial to be agile?

Chris: Indeed, we see this especially in retail where forecast models, fast-paced markets like this benefit from shorter-term projects rather than a one or two-year approach. While in most industries, the need for companies to demonstrate agility is top of mind. Many projects require developing new dashboards or KPIs on the go, where needs frequently change, so being agile is also vital there.

Julien: I agree, we have to be adaptive, flexible enough, with the end or milestone in mind, and be clear on what we're delivering. Clients may struggle with a quickly evolving environment. The point is to be adaptive and apply common sense and competence to different types of problems.

Chris: The counterpart to being flexible and agile is that we are clear from the beginning. We take the time to ensure that the expectations are clear on what we deliver at the end of each phase or milestone. This requires more preparation upfront, especially if the timeframe is shorter. Working in an agile way optimizes customer value, as continuous improvement affects the project's overall efficiency, effectiveness, and predictability.

And finally, how does the approach facilitate our delivery of insights, actions, results to help our client’s customers?

Julien: Expectations and behaviors are evolving faster than most companies can address, making information unpredictable and challenging to analyze. As a small team, we can adapt, and we don’t shy away from simple solutions when we see them.

The other day I was in a call where we were complimented for being resourceful in the way we approach problems, and that’s what makes us stand out. There’s always going to be a company that says, ‘We can use large-scale Azure’ and send an army of consultants. But many organizations don’t require all of the shiny tanks and artillery for every problem. For projects large and small, we seek out the simple solution. Our clients appreciate that we seek to maximize the outcome with the least resources in terms of time, technology, and approach.

The Agile Takeaway

We’re known to help clients achieve their goals through the smarter use of data. But it’s our agile approach to projects that sets Agilytic apart as a trusted business partner. Being flexible, adaptive, and receptive to meet clients' growing needs is critical to our mission.

To see examples of our projects where we turn data into tangible results, please visit www.agilytic.be/results

Insights. Actions. Results.

Since 2015, Agilytic helps organisations reach their goals through the smarter use of data.

With over 80 successful projects to date, we help companies from all sectors and sizes:

  • Boost their commercial performance
  • Secure a more loyal customer base
  • Reduce costs and increase quality with optimized processes
  • Improve cash position through a smarter approach to finances
  • Apply analytics to HR for a better talent management and happier employees

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