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Leading with Priorities: A Fresh Perspective on Agile Delivery

September 14, 2023

As the landscape of work continues to evolve, so too does the need to adapt our approach to managing workloads. Traditional models that hinge on fixed deadlines and commitments often fail to account for the fluid and complex nature of today's work environment. The Agile framework offers an alternative that prioritizes adaptability over predictability. But how do you manage workload in an Agile context? The answer might lie in the realm of priorities rather than deadlines.

Dave, our CEO, provides an invaluable perspective on this topic. Drawing from his extensive experience in steering organizations through tumultuous waters, Dave promotes a leadership ideology that transcends traditional confines. His belief isn't just grounded in an ethical standpoint but emerges from an understanding of the competitive edge that a people-centric approach can provide. To gain firsthand knowledge of Dave's expert perspective, you are invited to watch his detailed explanation in this IncrementOne Video.  

The Metaphor of Team Sports: A Lesson in Priorities

If you've ever followed a team sport—let's take soccer as an example—you'll notice that it's virtually impossible to predict when a goal will be scored. The team knows they need to score, but merely focusing on that end result doesn't help them achieve it. Instead, coaches focus on tactics, positioning, and a myriad of other factors that contribute to the opportunity to score a goal.

Translating Sports to Work Environment

Much like the soccer team, work teams are well aware of the deadlines they face. Hammering home the urgency of deadlines only serves to increase stress and, often, decreases productivity. In complex work environments, where plans are liable to change at a moment's notice, it's important to provide teams with a different focus: setting priorities.

The Power of Priorities Over Deadlines

Setting priorities offers several advantages over fixed deadlines. Here's why:

  1. Flexibility in Decision-making: Priorities allow teams to be more agile in their decision-making process. When unexpected challenges arise, teams can make immediate trade-offs based on priorities, allowing them to focus on what is most crucial at any given moment.
  2. Adapting to Unknown Unknowns: In a world where "unknown unknowns" are inevitable, a focus on priorities rather than deadlines empowers teams to adapt in real-time. When everything is constantly changing, a rigid commitment can be more hindrance than help.
  3. Maximizing Value in Adverse Conditions: By sticking to a prioritized list, even when faced with setbacks or challenges, teams are equipped to deliver the most valuable output under any circumstances.

Agile isn't just a framework; it's a mindset that values adaptability and responsiveness to change. In an increasingly complex world, fixed deadlines and commitments often serve as blunt instruments, unsuited for the delicate task of modern project management. By contrast, setting priorities offers a more nuanced, flexible approach that is more in tune with the complexities and uncertainties that characterize today's work environment. When we lead with priorities, we set our teams—and ourselves—up for success, regardless of what challenges come our way.

Reach Out to IncrementOne for Expert Guidance

If you're intrigued by the ideas presented here and are looking for ways to better manage workload and project delivery in an Agile context, don't hesitate to reach out to us at IncrementOne. With years of experience in steering organizations through the complexities of modern work, we are more than equipped to assist you in implementing effective, people-centric strategies that not only meet business objectives but also foster a healthy work environment.

Interested in becoming a catalyst for positive change in your organization?