- Update June 2020
- In light of world events, I've been reflecting on the need for flexibility in our businesses, as well as in our tools and processes. The NIMBLE approach was borne out of a desire to adapt and respond to change, and feels more relevant now than ever.
I’ve mentioned our NIMBLE approach before but not yet had the time or space to explain exactly what it is, or how we came to the conclusion it was how we wanted our business to be shaped.
It feels to me like it could be of value to others, so I wanted to share an overview here.
Introducing our NIMBLE approach.
At its core, NIMBLE is about flexibility. Every business has an element of flexibility within it, otherwise it wouldn't stand the test of time. But our NIMBLE methodology goes beyond that. It’s not just a willingness to change course, but also a way to start projects, how to deliver them, and how to develop good working relationships.
It’s doing business differently in a way that benefits both your customers and the people within your team itself.
So what does NIMBLE stand for?
Slightly confusingly, it’s not an acronym. Rather, it’s about three key areas that focus on being flexible beyond the delivery of a project itself. It’s also about a mindset and that mindset is centred on acting like a start-up.
What do you mean by ‘acting like a start-up’?
I believe in small teams - teams that can move fast and evolve together. That’s a key part of the NIMBLE process, and that means actively choosing not to get too big as a company.
Once you move beyond a handful of people, you simply cannot act in a NIMBLE manner. There’s red tape and process and bureaucracy, and with an increasingly complex hierarchy, it becomes evermore difficult to make final decisions. I wrote more about this small team mindset in my previous blog post.
What are the three key areas?
Firstly, we start simple. We minimise risk by creating the most simple version of a solution and seeing how our audience responds. This allows us to gain greater understanding before we’ve invested huge amounts of time (and the client’s money). We are far more interested in quality over quantity. Creating ten solutions isn’t as impressive as creating one solution that truly works.
Next, we move fast. We choose our tools and processes carefully, with the aim of getting working solutions in the hands of real users as rapidly as possible. More often than not, what users say they need and what they actually need are different. By moving fast, we create a cycle of continuous deployment, feedback, and improvement that helps us give our clients what they actually need, when they need it.
Lastly, we evolve together. We strive to build partnerships with our clients: being open, learning from each other, and creatively approaching new challenges with the benefit of a shared history. By sharing common goals and a common work ‘language’ with our customers, we can continue to learn from each other through our own specialisms, skills, and experience. Our own team dynamic is also a high priority, as the relationships we build with clients are backed by the strong internal relationships we have forged over years of working together.
It sounds complicated!
Any change to a business practice is going to add a layer of complexity to your life, because any change is an overhaul of habits and processes.
But I have learned from years of leading teams and securing business that whenever we’ve seen success, it has in part been due to our NIMBLE mindset.
No matter what the project - its size, delivery date, budget, or audience - once you break down the process using the three NIMBLE areas, you start to gain a clearer and more flexible understanding of how to deliver great work without complexity bringing in time delays or budget requirements.
No business is perfect, and no business strategy can be (or should be) applied blindly to everything that you come across. It could be that our approach doesn’t work for you, or your clients, or your team.
I’m not here to preach my way above all others. But if there’s something missing in your strategy, and you can see that there is room for improvement, a more NIMBLE approach may well be the answer. It has enabled us to deliver with vision in a way that brings value to our clients, and it pervades everything that we do.
And what if I want to learn more?