Reimagining the Agile Manifesto for Organizations Outside IT

January 17, 2023

How many of you are familiar with the term Agile, but don’t think it applies to you, your Team, or your Organization because you don’t directly work in software development?

If you’re a manager in human resources, digital marketing, customer support, logistics, or legal, you’re likely facing some of these challenges and issues:

You’re worried about the speed of change, and you don’t feel like you can keep up
Your processes are becoming increasingly complex
You have a shorter time to market
You’re seeing the erosion of corporate walls
Your customers are making demands on value delivery,
You’re worried about customer satisfaction scores.

So how do you deliver value across departments, systems of people, and processes, and do it well and quickly?


Originally, Agile was a project management and product delivery framework. It’s usually associated with software development or engineering. It’s a way to get work done in iterations that attack the more challenging work first with cross-functional teams organized around sprints.

Agile can get confusing pretty quickly. Getting lost in the jargon can be a pitfall. But it doesn’t have to be.

The Agile Manifesto consists of four principles:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

What these Principles really mean is to communicate face-to-face in collaborative, cross-functional teams so that a product is delivered in small pieces over time that meets the needs of end users who you include in the process while you adapt to the constantly evolving challenges.

How is the agile manifesto relevant to my non-software organization?

These principles can be applied to any Organization, regardless of industry, by promoting flexibility, adaptability, and a focus on delivering value to customers.

For example, a non-technology-based company can apply Agile principles by involving customers in the development process and regularly seeking feedback, breaking down projects into small, manageable chunks, and empowering Teams to make decisions and take ownership of their work.

The Agile Principles that you can adapt to other departments include:

  1. Delivery of Value
  2. Embrace Change
  3. Cross-Functional Teams
  4. Motivated Individuals
  5. Face-to-Face Conversations
  6. Working, Usable Products
  7. Technical & Delivery Excellence
  8. Simplicity Over Complexity
  9. Self-Organizing Teams
  10. Regular Reflection and Adjustment

How do i convince my organization to become agile?

Convincing a company’s executive team to adopt Agile principles can be challenging, as it often requires a shift in mindset and culture. However, there are several key points that can be used to make a compelling case for Agile:

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity: Agile methodologies have been shown to increase the speed and efficiency of software development, and can be applied to other types of projects as well. This can result in cost savings and faster time-to-market for products and services.
  2. Improved customer satisfaction: Agile puts a strong emphasis on customer collaboration and feedback, which can result in more successful and satisfying outcomes for customers.
  3. Increased employee engagement and satisfaction: Agile principles promote a more collaborative and empowering work environment, which can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.
  4. Better alignment with business goals: Agile methodologies allow for regular reassessment and adjustments in response to changes in business goals and customer needs, which can help keep projects aligned with the company’s overall goals.
  5. Better risk management: Agile methodologies break down projects into smaller chunks, allowing for more frequent testing, validation and adjustment. This allows for early detection and mitigation of potential issues, reducing the overall risk.

Tanya Twerdowsky

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