Strategic Planning in Times of Uncertainty; Let’s Be “Agile”

· Blog

It seems that the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic are behind us. Even though it has not completely become a thing of the past yet, the easing of sanitary measures we have experienced during the summer months have done us a world of

Despite a somewhat easier last few months, we know that businesses will always face a certain amount of uncertainty. Everything changes so rapidly in the world today!  

The competitors, the unforeseen events, the crises, and the market volatility are all factors that can impact a business. That is where strategic agility comes into play. 

Are some projects giving you a hard time, despite all the effort and time that you put into them? Is crisis management difficult, and are issues ruining your plans? Has your strategic plan been put on the back burner and is no longer current?

Having a strategy is good but bringing it to life is even better!

What is a strategic plan?

Regardless of the size of a company, it is in their best interest to develop a strategic plan.

Generally, a strategic plan includes:

  • An overview of the company’s current situation.
  • The objectives needed to reach the desired results.
  • The necessary steps to fulfill the objectives.

Creating a strategic plan helps us stick to the company’s mission while overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities. In other words, a strategic plan helps to elaborate the business’s vision to achieve its fundamental goals.

Some types of strategic planning might or might not suit your business. An expert on the topic could help bring clarity and assist you in choosing a strategic plan that is adapted to your situation.

The Agile methodology

You might have heard of this project management method through a colleague or an acquaintance because of its frequent use in IT companies and the technological industry.

What is the Agile methodology exactly? One can use this project management method for some projects as it allows one to plan over a much longer-term while maximizing positive impacts for the company and its clients. It stems from development methods brought to life in the 70s and 80s by visionary companies in Japan, like Toyota, Fuji and Honda.

The Agile methodology goes beyond traditional techniques. More flexible and efficient, it enables companies to perform a better tasks division, to assign them to those who are most qualified and able, all while prioritizing the most important tasks at every step of the process.

The fundamental principles of this methodology are based on collaboration, autonomy, continuous improvement, and flexibility.

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Why should you choose the Agile method?

Although there are many ways of conducting strategic planning, not all of these were created equal. For example, there is the “waterfall” approach, where tasks follow one another. There is a certain number of tasks that need to be completed before the project can carry on.

This approach tends to be less effective when unplanned issues arise because its implementation follows a very strict chronology. Everything is already planned and calculated under a contract. Therefore, needing to make changes like adding more resources are not considered. But yet, we know it all too well, reality is anything but linear.

In the real world, exceedances are almost inevitable, which means that adjustments can be necessary at every project step. Being too rigid and bureaucratic can be a major obstacle for the implementation of a company’s strategy, whatever the scope of activities, especially during uncertainty.

Working with the Agile method means intervening incrementally as the project’s steps progress. We proceed to a breakdown of the project in several short cycles or sprints that should not last longer than 2 to 4 weeks.

Therefore, the objectives and deliverables are validated at the end of these cycles, and the team can start planning the next cycle.

And in times of uncertainty?

Going through multiple steps and numerous levels is not strategic during times of uncertainty. For a project to work during a turbulent period or a complex transition, you must avoid sticking to a rigid framework. Being innovative and flexible will provide way better results!

With shorter cycles, the management of your projects will suffer less of a set-back if an unplanned issue arises. After completing a phase and before starting a new one, the team should reflect on what went right and what could be improved, by making the necessary tweaks.

Planning does not have to be linear. You have to adapt! Indeed, by utilizing strategic agility, companies assure their competitiveness in their professional field and can adapt themselves better to the new realities of a forever-changing market.

Are you nimble? Are you working with the Agile method? At Capital-Image, our professionals can guide you through implementing your strategic plan and recommend the best methods for Agile project management. Contact us to discuss your needs.