Businesses adopting Agile approach still face challenges

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As Singapore’s economy continues to recover, companies are adopting the Agile approach in order to transform and adapt to the unpredictable business climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than four in five (83%) of Singapore employers agree that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of Agile methodology and also believe that Agile skills are key in preparing workers for the digital age.

However, more than half of employers (57%) face the challenge of adopting the Agile methodology due to the lack of teams’ understanding of methodology requirements.

These are some of the key findings from NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)’s Industry Insights Survey 2021 report on Agile in Singapore. The report is based on a survey with 300 senior and middle management employers across industries in Singapore and an interview with Shane Hastie, ICAgile’s Director of Community Development.

Despite the rise of Agile, employers face several challenges in implementing the Agile methodology into the workplace. The main challenge is the lack of team coordination, where ‘not everybody on the team understands the requirements’ (57%) and ‘a lot of time and commitment is needed to collaborate among the team’ (55%).

The new mode of working also poses an issue in the adoption of Agile, with 48% of employers indicating that ‘work-from-home arrangements make team communication more challenging’.

Although obstacles abound, adopting an Agile mindset is crucial, especially in today’s world of constant change and uncertainty. Almost two quarters (71%) of employers currently using the Agile methodology chose to do so due to the ability to adapt and respond to rapid changes.

Many of these employers (75%) also believe that the Agile methodology has helped employees in their efficacy and productivity at work.

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LHUB’s Head of Infocomm Technology, Isa Nasser, says, “In 2021, where only uncertainty is certain, we must brace for a ‘never normal’. The key to survival is strategic planning and an Agile approach to how we operate and adapt to new challenges.

“An Agile-ready workforce is more likely to triumph over any adversity as it can swiftly adapt and adjust to operate successfully compared to non-Agile teams. Employers and employees must work together to make the organisational shift to Agile through upskilling.”

“Agile skill set is rising in demand across industries. We recommend that individuals start taking the initiative to upskill in Agile, in order to work in cross-functional teams and effectively respond to changes at the workplace,” adds Isa.  

“Having this ability to be creative and innovate solutions will boost their overall employability, as job roles are constantly evolving with digitalisation.”

Shane Hastie, Director of Community Development, ICAgile, comments, “A learning organisation is what is needed for the 21st century because evolution is necessary to respond to the constant change around us. Relentless learning will be a differentiating factor for both companies and workers. If businesses don’t evolve, they will rapidly become irrelevant and disappear.”