an opportunity to rethink how your company works.
The downturn is a time when the risk of change is lower.When times are good it may be possible to make things better but there is more to loose so the risk is greater. Why risk changing anything when good money is being made?
Now things are not so good there is less to loose.Change is the imperative, doing things the way they used to be done is no longer a given.As individuals and companies realise they can't keep their head in the sand forever change will occur.Whether it is embracing Agile something else, something must change.
Change has its own price - it doesn't come for free.Still, now is a good time to change.Agile has never demanded expensive tools the way some methodologies do.If you do feel the need for a tool then there is probably an Open Source solution.
Where Agile is expensive is in terms of training and consulting.While you can read the books and put the ideas into practice by yourself the change will go a lot smoother and quicker if you can afford some training and the services of an consultant - or more likely a coach - to guide you though the first few weeks or months.
Now it may be a good time to haggle on price, some training companies are experiencing a fall in demand as big companies conserve their cash.So try asking for a discount before you book.
Then there is the cost of the learning curve.There will be a temporary slowdown as staff master new practices and processes.Now is the best time to pay this price. Far better to slow down and re-skill when demand is low lowest than when demand outstrips supply.
In some ways the downturn changes little.What was good to do before the downturn is still good to do.Managing in the downturn is a lot like managing at any other time except you need to do more of it.
It is always good to reduce inventory, bring cashflow forward and minimise costs but when times are good it is easy to avoid making these decisions.Bad times sort the also-rans from the winners.
The downturn plays to Agile's strengths and makes it less risky for companies to make the switch.The real change is for those who want to promote Agile in the business.Promoters need to rethink their arguments and explain how the Agile approach can help companies ride out the downturn.
Provided you adopt the right mindset the downturn should be a great opportunity to push Agile adoption.
About the Author
Allan Kelly is a London-based consultant and interim manager specializing in Agile adoption. His first book, "Changing Software Development: Learning to be Agile" was recently published by John Wiley amp; Sons. He is a qualified Product Manager and Project Manager, and holds a BSc in computing and an MBA in management.