Agile Methods Aren’t Just for Startups

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The very definition of agile is the ability to move quickly, make changes, and adapt as needed to changing circumstances. Agile is a frequented term in the development of software and startups, but these principles can also be used to improve the quality and outcomes of life. More importantly, it is the incremental improvement of processes and procedures to ensure these desired goals.

Like any good product or business plan, its best to start out with goals. These can be career, life, financial, etc. Don’t be too broad when brainstorming. Making concise steps in a to-do list, creating a mind map or decision tree are all excellent methods in putting out there what it is you want to accomplish.

The best-seller, Startup Weekend, talks about how to take a concept of a product and bring it to fruition. Iteration, adaptability, and replicability are all important when it comes to scale. A major principle of agile states that its best to fail quickly, pick up the pieces, and move on to change tactics, however, don’t take too much time as the world moves quickly and any strategy could be undermined by competition.

In one’s life goals, competition can be seen as others who want the same career, time, technological changes, or economic fundamentals. While each situation is different, the ability to adapt is paramount in making this strategy work. Do not be afraid to fail, be open minded, and most important; brainstorm ideas & changes through networking.

Iterating on changes can be achieved by crowdsourcing, beta testing, and focus groups. While this is true for business or concepts, it can still be done on an individual level. Using social networks like Linkedin, or Workplace for Facebook are great methods for putting ideas out there for subjection, and receiving quick feedback to see if the right route is being taken.  If not, then pivot.

Fine tuning any strategy to achieve career or personal goals is by no means a simple task. It must take a lot of strategizing and stretching outside of comfort zones to know what will work. Achievable tasks, the ability to fail quickly, and an open mind are the most important considerations when using agile principles in everyday life.  

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