By Vincent Poujol, CEO Sofrecom Maroc - October 16, 2019
Agility was present at Sofrecom Maroc before my arrival. As for many companies, it entered our company via software development.
In the beginning, agility was designed by developers for developers. It was born from observing that developing a product was time-consuming (2 years on average), just to realize at the end that the developed product was not properly meeting the customers’ needs which had evolved in between.
Hence the need to turn to new, more agile, methods like the Scrum method which we started to use about 3 years ago instead of the more traditional methods. With Scrum, the project is divided into several iterations in which we come back very frequently to the customer to rapidly cater to his needs, which evolve during the project.
At our place, agility is no longer restricted to product development. In the world we live in, agility has demonstrated its advantages. I wished to extend it to all levels of the organization. We then revised our governance model to adopt an agile management. The latter helps us today adapt to changes rather than undergo them.
One of agility’s great virtues is that it favors trials. Companies’ decisions are thus made in view of the achieved results.
At Sofrecom Maroc we started to introduce a certain number of agile practices into our management, for example, the stand-up meetings which are weekly synchronization meetings. Now part of our rituals, we use them to sort out topics, share information, and ensure a monitoring of the actions or make decisions very quickly.
In parallel, agility in development has been applied to all the projects. We first supported our Orange France customer, very concerned about this issue. It helped us develop these initiatives in its effort in rolling out agility to all our projects.
To build this culture of agility to all levels of our entity, we also put emphasis on training and supporting our collaborators with the help of training sessions and seminars on this topic. We have set a certification program for certain profiles.
At the level of our management, agility also means continuous questioning of our operating modes. Every 3 months then, the Executive Committee meets to make new decisions, pursue those that work or improve those which have not been successful. We apply each time small changes that boost our operations and prevent bad habits from setting up.
The managers are a key link in the diffusion of an agile culture. They must be convinced otherwise evolving into the agile mode will not occur. It implies openness and acceptance of new ideas from the manager. Because agility in terms of organization favors collaborative work where the manager especially has a role of motivation.
At the management level, one of the first benefits I observed is the teams’ motivation. If I take the example of our weekly meetings, their short (30 min) and ritualized format motivates the participants. They know that the meeting will be effective and leave with clear and precise ideas. The collaborator experience is also greatly improved thanks to the agile methods.
Another major advantage: reconfiguration. To be agile is like tiptoeing, things are less established and then adjustable as you wish. In a sector like ours where change is permanent, the agile model gives us lightness and this is vital.
Finally, agility is a lever for developing customer satisfaction. It is its initial goal. The short development cycles make us often ask this question to our customers: what do you think of it? Depending on their feedback, we adjust our work. It is a guarantee that the project will be completed on time and budget and will perfectly meet the customer’s request, as fluctuating as it may be.
In any case, all companies are able to. I am convinced that all companies would gain in being agile and will have to become agile sooner or later.
They would become more effective and gain in adaptative capacity, it even concerns sectors where small innovation seems to be the rule.