What happened 20 years ago when the Agile movement was born? It completely changed the way software companies operate and make their products. It was a game-changer that transformed the whole landscape of the software industry.
The exciting part is what happened next. More and more industries identified the positive impact of Agile on the work processes. Business leaders realized that it is better to deliver more frequently to the market, collect early feedback, and improve continuously, rather than deliver delayed perfection. More and more companies saw this as an opportunity to respond faster to competitive pressure, market demand, and adapt to market changes.
In other words, agility became a standard in the modern business world and a matter of survival. This is why more and more industries are looking to apply Agile methods to their work processes to outlast the competition. Industries you never thought can switch from the rusty old-school ways of doing work, transitioned to the 21st-century methods.
Let us introduce to you some of them.
What Industries Use Agile?
If we exclude the software industry, there are many others that use Agile methods these days. And not only this. The business world is now moving to another dimension - business agility. It is no longer enough to incorporate Kanban or Scrum on a team level. More companies start to realize that the whole organization should think and act the same way, but not only single departments or teams. Otherwise, it is just a storm in a glass of water.
Agile in Construction Management
This may be surprising, but there are already documented case studies that show how Agile can help construction management. Construction projects often include various steps until completion. There is a lot of documentation and internal/external communication.
Applying the Agile philosophy helps such companies achieve operational transparency, improve resource utilization, and communication.
Companies already implementing the Agile philosophy: BMWC, SSOE.
Agile in Engineering
Similar to construction management, the traditional process in engineering and product development is rather linear and sequential. However, the accelerated market dynamic and the growing demand for product innovation have changed how engineering teams and companies choose to organize and execute their work.
Agile practices like MVPs and frequent product demonstrations are becoming the new norm in the industry. Applying these and other Agile techniques can help engineering teams bridge the gap to their stakeholders and reduce the risk of rework in the product development's late stages. By visualizing their workflows and continuously improving them, companies manage to work more efficiently and cut down their time to market.
Companies already implementing the Agile philosophy: Somabe, Ekide, Rolls Royce.
Agile in Aerospace
As you may already notice, Agile principles are useful for a wide range of industries outside the IT landscape. One of these is the Aerospace industry, as surprising as it may sound.
Many aviation companies are already taking advantage of the Agile project management methodologies to reduce their costs and speed up delivery to the market. This is another example of an industry where knowledge work plays an essential role before anything goes to the production line. So, minimizing the risk of producing something that can fail requires strategy alignment, proactive collaboration, focus, and fast feedback loops. And because all these things shape the business agility model, it is not surprising that the aerospace industry already embraced the idea.
Companies already implementing the Agile philosophy: SAAB, GE Aviation, NASA.
Agile in the Pharmaceutical Industry
This is a slow-running business with lots of approvals, massive documentation, rigid processes, and strict rules and regulations. Probably these are the reasons why pharmaceutical companies used to rely on heavyweight waterfall project management. Not anymore.
Understanding how important it is to communicate with its customers and collect feedback, instead of only relying on clinical data, many industry players turn to Agile.
The most significant advantage Agile offers for pharma companies is the flexibility in delivering value in multiple contexts. This industry involves a lot of communication, daily R&D work, and an innovation-oriented mindset. Here Agile steps into play to help these companies accelerate innovation, achieve operational excellence and gain competitive advantage.
Companies already implementing the Agile philosophy: AstraZeneca, Allergan, Roche.
What Is Next?
These are just a few examples of industries that take competitive advantage from implementing Agile. As you can see from the examples above, business agility is not about strict rules and frameworks, but it is about flexibility and organizational survival. No matter the industry, your company can always try to be a little more flexible and better than yesterday.
There is no path to business agility because agility is not a destination. It is a journey.
The first step is the hardest. Don't be afraid to make it.