ag·ile – ADJECTIVE - able to move quickly and easily – that is a great definition.
I like to call ag·ile the “new math” of business enablement and technology delivery. Let me explain what I mean by “new math.” I had a revelation while assisting my daughter with her math homework not long ago. As a baby boomer, I solve math equations in my head and write down the answer. She said, “No, Dad. We have to document the process we went through to get the answer—in addition to giving the answer.” Then it hit me—I had no idea how to do that. She and this new math thing taught me that if I understand the process, I will understand the answer. New math has merit.
Agile, like new math, has merit. Agile changed the business enablement and technology delivery model by allowing for faster business enablement and increased team collaboration. Agile speeds business enablement and uses the collective brain power of a team to deliver better, higher-quality solutions.
When I began working in IT, teams would sit down with business partners, collect a heap of requirements and, albeit effectively, work independently for six to nine months. Each team member would do their work, meet the requirements and hand off their finished product to testing. One of the key challenges was that the requirements changed over those months both in content and priority. The final product took too long to complete and would already be out-of-date by the time it was transitioned to the testing phase. Agile changed the model by having a higher frequency of smaller and more focused deliveries.
For my generation, business enablement and technology delivery was mostly an individual sport; I go into my cube, work for a few weeks or months and pop out with the answer. Under an Agile model, I am in a collaborative workspace, surrounded by people focused on the same products, business and technology. I focus on specific requests selected from a demand backlog. If I have questions, I ask and get answers immediately. If I need help, I ask and get help immediately. Fewer roadblocks, delays and focus points yield faster business enablement and technology delivery.
The Agile mindset drives an outcome that values the following:
- Individuals and interactions more than processes and tools
- Working software more than comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration more than contract negotiation
- Responding to change more than following a plan
Ruan Transportation Management Services is a technology-driven company applying Agile methodology to achieve our Guiding Principles of Safety Focus, People First and Exceptional Performance. Agile is a pragmatic way to bring our teams together, minimize the overhead and enable the business incrementally with greater alignment. Ruan is taking full advantage of Agile to maximize our business and customer impact through speedy capability delivery.
Case in point: The rate at which we enable mobile technology. Ruan, a leader in the application of mobile technologies, has mobile applications that support multiple fleet business segments. We have equipped our business and customers with feature-rich mobile applications for more than a decade. Our agile development process allows us to adapt to both business and customer needs in a timely manner. The world changes quickly, and Ruan is up to the challenge-rapidly tailoring our solutions when our customers need it. We listen to their needs and expedite the development of unique solutions, allowing their day-to-day operations to continue without interruption.
Using Agile methodology, our team has the capability to provide our dedicated contract transportation customers with a mobile app that closely matches their specific company processes and information. The customized app is deployed to Ruan professional drivers, creating a cohesive operating platform. The Agile team at Ruan has a solution that is readily available, exceedingly fast and offers capabilities beyond what is commonly available in the market today.