Agile working methods

The evolution of work

Agile working as a method of guaranteeing success

Everyone’s talking about agile working. But what does it actually entail? And why do we need increasingly agile working methods in our jobs?

To put it bluntly: it’s because of the rapidly changing workplace.

In an age of permanent disruption – specifically an age in which familiar structures are undergoing radical change – traditional business models, technologies, products and services are being challenged and maybe even squeezed out of the market completely. The best defence against this process of change is to be armed with good ideas and innovative approaches – because they can be pivotal for the development and success of companies.

The perfect way of creating ideas is to use agile processes. This allows employers to exploit the full creative potential of their employees, as well as discovering and encouraging new talents. The trend is moving away from purely technical methods – social components are now involved as well. The established analogue approaches and methods are being replaced by agile, associative and networked ways of working and thinking.

At the start of product/idea development. With Design Thinking, the goal is to unlock the maximum creative potential in all participants. To achieve this, the emphasis is on a visual working approach wherever possible, and there are no restrictions at all. Lots of ideas are developed and then discarded. Subsequent users are the priority, they are presented with solution strategies at a very early stage so that these solutions can be tailored to their needs as accurately as possible.

If a product or business model already exists. With Scrum you don’t plan processes from start to finish, it’s done step by step, iteratively, in short bursts called “sprints”. A Scrum Master creates optimum working conditions and coordinates tasks, while the Product Owner reviews the business success and consults with customers and team members.

Visualising individual work steps. With Kanban (Japanese for visual card), you also proceed in small steps. These steps are recorded on a Kanban board. Post-its provide all team members with an overview of active tasks, the current project status or possible problems. Kanban creates maximum transparency and helps to generate a workflow.

Sharing knowledge, utilising long-term relationships. With Working Out Loud the focus is on cooperation. With this method, the idea is to learn through collaboration with others, sharing knowledge, building relationships and developing behaviours – using an approach that’s open, generous and networked in character.

At König + Neurath we also take advantage of new methods, which allows us to retain our position at the forefront of a market that’s becoming more complex and competitive all the time. We’ve been optimising processes over the past few years, especially in production – and we’ve gone over to Lean Management. With this approach, there is a focus on the end result of the production process: everything follows a strict sequence with a consistent production rhythm, and of course this is all supported digitally. Communication processes are different too: agile shop floors ensure that information is shared transparently, promptly and throughout the entire team. This allows important decisions to be made more quickly with all employees on board.

People, are more important than anything else.

Dirk Fischer, Director of Technology, Production and Purchasing

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