How rapid feedback loops can increase flexibility in a rapidly changing world

20 May 2021

Business Agility

To build effective software that supports businesses, an ample dose of agility is now essential. Requirements and technologies are evolving so quickly that yesterday’s good idea could have become completely irrelevant by today. An agile approach to development is required, but this has no chance of success in a non-agile organization. How can you, as an organization, keep adapting so that you can continue to provide valuable services and products to customers and end users? Streamline the way in which ideas are converted into business value in a pragmatic way. Read all about it in our upcoming BizDevOps blog series.

Shifting up a digital acceleration gear

The coronavirus crisis led two years of digital transformation to take place in two months – Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was not exaggerating when he said this last year. Our professional and private lives have become more digital than ever before. Such lightning fast evolution requires a flexible attitude from us as individuals and from every organization. Existing and new products and services have to be integrated into this new digital reality. Technology proves to be the difference here in terms of strategy. Customers and end users expect a seamless experience which is fully tailored to their needs and wishes. The quality of the technology is therefore of major importance.

The speed at which organizations have to make decisions means that there isn't always time to plan chosen solutions in detail before they are executed. There is a need for shorter product (or service) development cycles, meaning an organization can bring something rapidly to market to avoid realising on launch that demand has changed in the meantime. It is also interesting to measure whether this "output" has also achieved the desired "outcome" (= value) for both internal and external customers. This focus on creating value for end users in an iterative, prioritized approach is what we like to call "business agility".

From idea to value in an end-to-end flow

On reading the previous paragraph, you are probably – and justifiably –wondering: "Which services and products should my organization be focusing on in order to create added value?", and "How can I realize this added value as quickly as possible in a complex, ever-changing environment?" The link between technology and business needs to be constantly updated and strengthened with an eye to maintaining quality. This can only be achieved by closely examining the entire flow from idea to value. An ideal flow enables a value-driven, iterative and incremental approach and allows the organization to reap the benefits of this approach. For example, gaining speed in one silo is useless unless the entire process is adapted to match it. There are various models you can use to visualize and design the dynamics behind an end-to-end value creation flow. The visualization below combines insights from User Experience Design, Lean Kanban and Agile.




Feedback loops are built-in reality checks

An end-to-end flow like this is not a linear process, but a continuous loop for all involved. The continuous interactions and feedback loops in the process allow us to achieve a flexible scope and work on the right things at the right time.

Changes, new ideas or needs that have been observed (and linked to the vision and strategy of the organization itself) often constitute the trigger to set this kind of flow in motion . We investigate these changes, ideas and needs, devise various solutions for them, and ultimately select and implement one or more options ("solutions to what has been observed"). However, we need data and information to know whether our actions will have the expected result or not. We must therefore ask ourselves whether our software production actually results in the expected business outcome. This includes information from customers as well as information about changes to internal processes.

One of the most impactful feedback loops therefore occurs after delivering a piece of working software (from delivery back to discovery). The idea was put into practice – what did you learn from it? Does anything need to be changed? The constant flow of feedback ensures that more technical and business knowledge ends up in the loop. This reduces risk and increases the chance of success.

Discover the full story

We will shortly take you through a blog series about our BizDevOps vision. We believe every organization can benefit from business agility to help it truly stand out from the crowd. This is achieved by pragmatically improving the way ideas are turned into business value. Feedback loops are an important part of any agile development process. There are also other types of information that can help you respond rapidly to changing circumstances. We will discuss them in the upcoming blog articles:

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    We believe every organization can benefit from business agility to help it truly stand out from the crowd.

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