Agility for business recovery

by Glenn San Luis | Philippine Daily Inquirer

As we are all aware, many small and medium businesses were affected by the pandemic. But with the arrival of vaccines, many are daring to plan for business recovery, which hopefully will be soon. We have heard the term “agile” as a possible framework or tool which could be helpful for all businesses.

We asked Mennen Aracid, our resource person on agility and management, to enlighten us:

Agile is a work philosophy used in information technology (IT) and software development. It was created to help IT and software businesses develop and market products quickly. Agile principles propose that software can be built incrementally and launched right away instead of delivering it all at the very end. Each project is broken down into smaller, bite-sized tasks and are prioritized, continuously worked on and delivered over 1-2 weeks. Over time, this framework has become applicable across every industry. So how could agility or agile principles help businesses recover? First, smaller initiatives do not require a lot of investment but can reap results quickly. A lot of home-based entrepreneurs at the start of the lockdown experimented with recipes they can prepare and deliver around their respective neighborhoods. When the entrepreneurs received requests for other products, they repeated the same procedure.

Second, follow the customer. Customers are stakeholders. The more they are involved and/or listened to, the more our products and services are attuned to their needs. More often than not, businesses will tend to offer a product or service based on their capability. But the pandemic also allowed this principle to flourish.

Third, agility saves money. By lowering risk, listening to the customer, and instituting incremental changes, businesses save resources and offer exactly what the market needs at that point in time.

Other examples: A friend was retrenched last year. When he sensed he could no longer find work, he turned to his first love: cooking. He prepared meals for his family and included extra servings to sell to his neighbors. His neighbors loved his cooking and requested him to prepare new menus.

He now has a staff of five and a dedicated rider who delivers food around the subdivision where he lives. He has also developed his menu to include packaged meals for small group gatherings. He recently registered his business already. For the past few weeks, I have been working with a government agency with an aim to improve its service. We applied the same agile principles to decrease waiting time and to ensure faster turnaround times. Instead of embarking on huge projects, this agency chose to focus first on the services that its customers complain about. To those who would spend a long time waiting in line, this has become a huge relief. Aracid will conduct a virtual workshop on “Agility for Business Recovery: Driving Results through Agile Tools and Principles” on April 14-15.

For your online learning needs, Inquirer Academy could assist you in designing and facilitating a webinar or virtual workshop for your organization.

For more information, please email, or send SMS at these numbers 0945-2158935 / 0998-9641731.

The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.