5 Ways To Implement Agile Methods In B2B Enterprises

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Around 19 years ago, a group of software developers came up with a unique software development framework called the Agile methodology. Ever since then, it’s become one of the most commonly-used strategies by many enterprises. While Agile methodology is a bit difficult to grasp, many enterprises have enjoyed its benefits by following its core principles, which are: 

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
  • Working software over exhaustive documentation 
  • Responding to change over simply following a plan
  • Customer collaboration over a contract negotiation 

These principles are what drives the Agile methodology and any strategies that may be related to it. And although it originally initially meant for software development, it can also improve an enterprise’s project management, product development, and sales processes. 

For that reason, B2B enterprises, in particular, would benefit greatly from the implementation of Agile methodology, but the question is—how should you go about implementing the Agile methodology on your B2B enterprise? Listed below are five of the most effective ways to integrate Agile methods into your B2B enterprise. 

  • Use Planning Poker In Meetings 

One of the core principles of Agile is built around the that individuals and interactions should be prioritized over processes and tools. This basically means Agile encourages interactions between team members and other individuals. For that reason, meetings are regularly conducted for several purposes, one of which is decision-making. Naturally, each individual would have to pitch in to reach a consensus. While there are several ways to approach this, using cards is perhaps one of the most creative ways to implement Agile methodology into your system. This is what experts call planning poker. 

Planning poker involves the use of cards to express a person’s opinions. For instance, if a team is deciding on what the best next step is, each individual would use cards to give their input. 

This allows them to reach a consensus in an objective manner as everyone would have no way of knowing others’ opinions, eliminating any bias that may result from peer pressure. Simply put, planning poker would greatly improve the overall decisions made within your B2B enterprise. If you want to know more about this particular approach, you can learn more here

  • Assign Team Roles 

While everyone’s opinion matters in a meeting, that’s not to say everyone would have the same role. In an Agile framework, each team member would work differently, and the impact of their opinions may vary according to the role they play. If you want to implement Agile methodology in your B2B enterprise, you should at least include the following roles: 

  • Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is responsible for managing sprints, facilitating meetings, monitoring progress, and dealing with user stories. They’re pretty much the one who ensures the welfare of the Agile framework. 
  • Project Manager: The project manager is the one who deals with other administrative tasks like managing the backlog and engaging with the company’s audience
  • Team Members: The team members include everyone who accomplishes the tasks given by both the project manager and Scrum Master. 
  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders are present in other types of projects, and not just in an Agile-driven project. Basically, they’re the reason the project started in the first place. 

 

  • Break Down The Project Into Sprints 

Sprints are one of the core components of Agile methodology. These are short cycles of development that aim to make as much progress as possible while addressing current issues. Software development teams create sprints to break down a single project into multiple phases. 

By splitting the project into multiple parts, they can address issues seen in the previous sprint. For that reason, upon finishing one sprint, the team will conduct a meeting to discuss the necessary details. They would then continue with the next sprint until the project is 100% complete. In other words, it mainly tackles the third core principle: ‘responding to change over simply following a plan.’ Since you’ll be planning sprints a lot, preparing ready-made templates is one of the best ways to implement Agile methodology in your B2B enterprise. 

Typically, a sprint lasts for one to four weeks, but the length will vary according to the difficulty of the task. As such, it’s essential to identify what tasks should be done for the next sprint, and for that, another component of Agile methodology is used, and that would be user stories. 

  • Create Informational User Stories 

Another core principle of the Agile methodology is knowing the importance of putting effort on working software over an exhaustive documentation, which only means the team must focus on improving their software before doing documentation. One of the many ways developers do this is by creating user stories, yet another core component of Agile, before starting software development. 

User stories are short stories that may include the who, what, and why of a project. A user story would usually look like this: ‘As a [who], I can [what] so that I can [why].’ 

With that said, an example of a user story for a B2B enterprise would be: ‘As a [vendor], I can [monitor my inventory] so that I can [easily restock the inventory].’

The primary purpose of creating a user story is to make sure you’re on the right track when progressing through a project. It also allows you to determine what must be done to achieve the optimal results in a project. That’s why user stories are extremely crucial when planning sprints as it gives you an estimate as to how long the sprint should take. 

  • Establish An Agile Board 

You should know very well that a dashboard is extremely helpful, and for several reasons. One, you can get some insights into the current status of the project. Two, you can streamline your workflows and utilize resources efficiently. Lastly, it organizes the necessary information in a simplified manner. If you’re planning on implementing Agile methodology in your B2B enterprise, then you might as well establish an Agile dashboard for your team. 

An Agile dashboard shows various information on your screen that can help you with the project. These may include sitemaps, user stories, and planned sprints. 

Wrapping Up 

People often assume the Agile methodology only works with companies in the IT industry, but that’s not the case. Companies in other sectors, like B2B enterprises, can also benefit significantly from the implementation of Agile into their system. One problem, however, with these scenarios is you’ll have to determine the best way to implement the methodology. With these tips, that should no longer be much of a problem, but it’s still important to consult with others before implementing the framework, preferably those experienced in Agile.

 

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Adam Tanton

Adam Tanton

Adam is a partner in B2BNN with over 15 years experience in the enterprise technology field.