Seizing the benefits of Lean-Agile methodologies

This is the first in a series of three blogs that discusses the role of Lean-Agile methodologies in the implementation and scaling of enterprise-wide planning technologies.

Business agility—how quickly a company can adapt to market changes and consumer demand—is a cornerstone of product and platform development. As a catalyst that turns decisions from reactive to proactive, it can translate into the difference between success and failure in dynamic business environments.

What’s more, as products become increasingly software-driven and converged, the most successful enterprises are those that not only innovate, but also expand upon innovation throughout the entire organization—rapidly and with ease. Companies with long product planning phases, high R&D and overhead costs, and limited ability for change must pivot now, or simply get left behind.

The way forward: employing Lean-Agile methodologies.

Lean-Agile methodologies are a unique hybrid of both Lean and Agile software development approaches. They’ve been heralded for fostering the development of next-generation products and platforms, including Anaplan’s Connected Planning platform, which summons agile-inspired principles.

Lean-Agile approaches are not exclusive to software development alone. In fact, organizations can use agile-inspired principles to adopt, implement, and sustain new planning models and enterprise technologies. For these implementations to work at scale, companies must be able to synchronize the various technology delivery frequencies involved in getting a product or platform to market.

What’s needed is an organization-wide approach that breaks through traditional silos and is championed by leadership.

In this three-part blog series, we take a closer look at Lean-Agile methodologies to understand their business benefits and how they can successfully be employed at scale during (and after) the implementation of enterprise planning technology.


Lean-Agile methodologies: What are they and why they matter

Lean-Agile methodologies are rooted in the underlying principles of both Agile and Lean development approaches. Agile methodology combines values and principles that encourage better ways of developing software—centering on individuals and interactions, capable technology, customer collaboration, and embracing change.

Lean Product Development (LPD) is an approach that addresses challenges in product development, such as a lack of innovation. Its approach focuses on reducing long development cycles and high development and production costs. Adopting an LPD approach helps businesses strive for continuous innovation and iteration.

In turn, Lean-Agile methodologies fuse principles of both approaches. It focuses on a respect for people and culture, flow of work, innovation, and a quest for relentless improvement. Its implementation and application have been so successful in product and platform engineering that many enterprises are keen to scale these methodologies throughout their broader (respective) organisations—from marketing and sales departments to human resources, accounting, purchasing, and other teams.

When used outside the realm of product development, the application of Lean-Agile methodologies can help businesses make continuous, incremental changes to internal processes that drive ongoing operational improvements and deliver higher efficiencies.

The combination of Lean thinking and the Agile Manifesto ultimately summon what has been termed the Lean-Agile Mindset. In effect, Lean and Agile complement each other to yield better results in the shortest sustainable time with the highest level of delivery.


The business benefits of Lean-Agile approaches

The business benefits of Lean-Agile methodologies are now well-established and will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent blog posts in this series. They include:

  • Accelerated time-to-market
  • Increased implementation transparency and visibility
  • Reduced risk and costs from testing early (and often)
  • Improved ability to address unclear or evolving requirements
  • Improved collaboration through alignment of management, IT, and vendor teams



Scaling Lean-Agile methodologies

Disruption, uncertainty, and a seemingly omnipresent need to evolve business models are no longer vague corporate expectations—they’re realities for virtually all enterprises. Adopting Lean-Agile approaches across business operations allow cross-functional teams to act quickly, exhaust fewer resources, work more collaboratively, and deliver results that pack a greater punch.

However, large-scale employment of these methodologies is often daunting, but very necessary and common for industries such as software, aerospace and defence, automotive, and others where large solutions—not portfolio governance—is a primary concern. Successfully scaling Lean-Agile entails a focus on agile technology implementations and the ability to extend those applications—through capable tech platforms—throughout the entire enterprise.

In subsequent posts in this series, we’ll dive deeper into the business benefits that leaders can realise through today’s best-of-breed planning technology.