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BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation

New Report from BRP Explains Why an Agile Approach to Operations, Technology and Implementations is the New Retail Imperative

Boston, MA – November 13, 2018 – With the swift pace of disruption occurring today, retail winners need to accelerate the transformation of their business processes, organization and technology to align with the demands of their customers.  Adopting an Agile mindset allows organizations to quickly respond to changing customer demands. The BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation report provides valuable information on how to employ an Agile mindset and approach within your organization.

“Retailers need to quickly adapt to constantly changing and elevated customer expectations, and traditional approaches to technology and processes are not nimble enough – traditional waterfall approaches deliver last year’s requirements today,” said Ken Morris, principal, BRP.  “With an Agile approach, retailers can accelerate project completion times, reduce the associated risks, match today’s requirements and lower costs throughout the lifecycle of the project.”

Agile’s emphasis on continuously gathering customer feedback for inclusion in upcoming functionality allows retailers to ensure they’re always working on the latest and most valuable functionality for the business. Retailers can increase their return on investment while delivering high quality products that meet and exceed customers’ ever-changing demands via Agile’s emphasis on small value-added increments. By implementing an Agile mindset and providing team members with a collaborative environment where they’re empowered to innovate and learn from their mistakes, retailers are taking the right steps towards surviving the retail transformation.

The BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformation report is a helpful resource for understanding what an Agile approach entails, the benefits of Agile and how to adopt an Agile mindset.

To download the BRP Insights: Agile – The Key to Accelerating your Retail Transformationreport, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-brp-insights-agile/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

AGILE IN ACTION: Achieving 50% Faster Implementation Times

With traditional IT projects, requirements are typically defined up front (sometimes 12-18 months before go-live), and are rarely revisited during the project implementation. However, by adopting an Agile mindset, organizations can quickly respond to changing customer demands, which is essential for today’s retailers.   An Agile approach allows organizations to easily revisit their requirements during the entire project implementation in order to keep up with a dynamic set of business drivers. In addition, by employing an Agile methodology, retailers are able to greatly reduce the disconnect between business unit expectations and project delivery, as there are constant iterations of incremental delivery which can be reviewed and accepted by project sponsors. As retailers are pressured to do more with less and quickly adapt to new retail realities, and an agile approach makes this possible.

I recently participated in a large and complex point of sale (POS) software implementation project using BRP’s Agile Approach for Retail, and the benefits of this approach really are remarkable. Our team successfully launched the POS solution in a pilot store in less than six months, which is about 50% faster than a standard implementation. The successful launch of this minimally viable product (MVP) approach was instrumental in not only obtaining store feedback as quickly as possible, but also in building credibility for the project team around the overall approach and efforts.

This retailer was now able to recognize the many business benefits of this POS solution much quicker than they would have with a traditional waterfall project approach. For example, the retailer can now offer personalized customer service by providing its associates easy access to information required to satisfy shopper expectations, from product and promotion data to customer purchase history. The store managers and sales associates now have instant, on-the-go access to the tools they need to enhance service and productivity by completing end-to-end POS transactions, looking up items, locating stock and much more, without ever leaving the customer’s side.

And we were able to help deliver these benefits in less than six months.

With the swift pace of disruption occurring in the industry, retailers need to accelerate the transformation of their organization, business processes and technology to align with customer demands, and an Agile approach to technology and operations can mean the difference between successful operations and bankruptcy.

If you have not already explored an Agile Approach for your implementation projects, I suggest you consider this option – the benefits are too great to ignore.  BRP’s Agile Approach for Retail offers forward-thinking retailers an accelerated and flexible method for tackling enterprise projects, and if you would like some help understanding and implementing an Agile Approach, BRP can help assess your Agile readiness and accelerate your implementation time.

I welcome your thoughts on Agile and any insights from projects where you had success with an Agile Approach.  Please share your comments below.

Ryan

Embracing and Applying the Agile Mindset (Part 3 of Agile Blog Series)

As mentioned in Part 2 of our Agile blog series – Surviving the Retail Apocalypse with an Agile Approach post, we can implement as many Agile processes and tools as we want, but if an Agile mindset is not also adapted it will be extremely difficult to achieve a successful Agile implementation. According to the 12thAnnual State of Agile Reportconducted by VersionOne, 53% of respondents cited “company philosophy or culture at odds with core Agile values” as the biggest challenge when it comes to adopting and scaling Agile. This challenge is especially prevalent in the retail industry where waterfall methodology has dominated the scene for as long as we can remember.

By definition, a mindset is “the established set of attitudes held by someone.” Therefore, implementing an Agile mindset involves establishing a company culture that embraces and applies the 4 guiding values of the Agile Manifesto. Implementing an Agile mindset allows individual team members to understand why an Agile transformation is taking place as well as the benefits from implementing this drastic, but necessary change.

Here are 5 tips to help retailers embrace and apply the Agile mindset:

  1. Hire an Agile coach

The best way for organizations to successful implement an Agile mindset is to hire an Agile coach. It’s no secret that people are reluctant to change, so having an experienced Agile coach who has the ability to analyze the current company culture and design an iterative strategy will help the organization take the right steps towards a successful Agile implementation. The Agile coach should ideally be someone who has worked in your domain and thus understands the nuances of the industry. They should be able to guide the team to quickly develop an Agile mindset by helping them understand the why behind the Agile values and principles.

  1. Begin with implementing an Agile mindset at the executive level

Top-down support at the executive level is an essential component to a successful Agile implementation. C-level executives should have a deep understanding of how Agile projects are tracked and budgeted, what metrics are used, and what the metrics mean. They should understand that Agile projects focus on delivering a minimum viable product (MVP) followed by small incremental deliveries. This means that the initial product is limited in scope, but then grows organically through added features and enhancements every couple weeks. Breaking down the work like this helps the organization respond to changes in customer needs as well as the direction of the market and helps keep customers engaged. They also need to understand that roadmaps will replace project plans and that team velocity and releases will replace traditional performance metrics such as percentage complete. Upper management should provide an environment where team members feel empowered, trusted, and free to make (and learn) from their mistakes.

  1. Pick an Agile framework

One of the benefits of using Agile is that your team is constantly inspecting and adapting. This means that if a couple of months down the road your team realizes that the selected Agile framework isn’t working for them; Agile is flexible enough to allow you to change an aspect of the framework or try a completely new framework. Since there are many different Agile frameworks (such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, Scrumban, Scrum/XP hybrid, etc.), it’s important for organizations to analyze the scope/complexity of the project, the level of uncertainty of the project, and the skills of your team members to determine which framework will work best for your team. Just because you choose one framework over another doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with it for the rest of the project.

  1. Set up Agile workshops for the team

Agile workshops ensure that everyone on your team understands the core concepts, implementation strategy and terminology that will be used by your organization. If possible, it’s best to train all of your team members at once to make sure that everyone receives the same message and is aligned on expectations. Agile workshops also allow your team to be exposed to different frameworks, tools, and techniques commonly used by Agile teams. Even though you probably won’t be utilizing all of them, it’s important that your team is familiarized with them in case they need to be utilized in the future.

  1. Inspect and adapt!

If at any point you see that your team is struggling to embrace an Agile mindset with the selected framework, tools, and/or techniques; take a moment, as a team, to reflect on how you can improve and come up with an action plan to make any necessary adjustments. Although it may take months, or even years for your team to successfully “be Agile,” by ensuring that your organization understands, applies, and embraces an Agile mindset you will reap the benefits of Agile from the start.

Please feel free to share any comments, questions, or concerns you may have below. We’d love to hear from you.

Best,

Hellen