The Agile Approach to Nonprofit Management
Agile software development is a concept of the 21st century that emerged as a result of the rapid events in business and technology environments. Software developers and IT experts are advocating for a new generation of software development strategies such as scrum and extreme programming (Cooper, 2017). Agile development is adequate for organizations as it works to reduce wastage, enhance consumer satisfaction, reduce defect rates, and accelerate the process of evolution. Principles and practices of the agile method have become useful guides for software development. The traditions of different agile methods may vary. However, characteristics such as iterative processes, self-organizing teams, emerging technologies, dynamic interactions and communication, reducing wastages, and incremental system development are common among agile methods.
. Developing a high-performing organization encompasses enacting the mindset of adaptability and flexibility that are in line with the ever-changing challenges and opportunities. At GlenMatch, the fraternity has made conscious efforts to become adaptable and flexible with planning and organization. A large team of developers and product managers are dedicated to applying and functionalizing the agile method of software development within the organization. An essential principle of the agile approach is shifting the focus from creating a plan to actual planning. While creating a plan may suggest an incomplete product, planning suggests being flexible, coming up with estimates, and responding to the demands and conditions of the market environment (Engelmann, 2017). The agile methodology is based on plan-adapt-plan-adapt compared to traditional methods that follow the plan-plan-plan-do strategy. Besides being outdated, critics of the latter argue that developers only find out that a system is ineffective when it is already too late.
The key to success for a high-performing organization is based on its ability to adapt to various situations and market demands. Characteristically, high performing organizations are very different. The measure of one organization might be output, impacts, and others synoptic leaps in efficiency. A dynamic political and environmental environment poses distress among high-performing organizations compelling them to adjust, change, and adapt accordingly. The GlenMatch organization fits the description of a high performing organization and is continually facing challenges of continuous learning and demands for adaptation to the problems of operating in different cities and nations while focusing on its mission of becoming the nexus of providing healthcare and hospice services to alleviate the suffering of the aged persons.
Sometime last year, over thirty executive directors of local and international GlenMatch affiliates responded to several questions around the prevailing economic and political environments and the challenges they encounter. The responses varied greatly but captured constraints and adaptation strategies of constituent members in geographically separate areas. The success of GlenMatch organization rests on a system based on adaptation and replication of small-scale, volunteer models operating in multiple cities and states enduring varying economic and political domains. The agile method comes allows the development team to break down the project into brief, clearly stated, 2-week intervals commonly called sprints. Each sprint contains many deliverables at the end of each range. Adopting this strategy has enabled the software development team to learn and make changes to the organization’s campaigns and projects at a high frequency based on real time data.
First, the developers enable a roadmap app in the project. The application creates a roadmap unit to the scrum main menu. All users can access the roadmap features from this icon. Roadmaps are crucial as they indicate the evolution of traits over time helping the developer to define and share the organization’s mission with stakeholders (Ottenhoff, 2011). Anyone with access to the website can access and study these features. Each roadmap bears a name and a unique code that is used to create a URL. The elements in a roadmap are included in a dedicated tab lists that allows one to hide irrelevant data. Ideally, roadmaps can be shared as PNG images outside the Scrum.
Some of the basic principles in setting up an agile marketing and fundraising framework at a non-profit organization include conducting regular sprint planning meetings. Sprint planning sessions allow a team to plan work for the next two weeks (Engelmann, 2017). Sprint planning becomes a clear work plan with specific tasks and task owners in line with the organization’s goal. Regular sprint meetings enhance innovations among team members. Secondly, each team member should demonstrate the variables from the previous sessions. Mostly, this can be done on a whiteboard or computer screen to enable members to show their works to other members. This brings in an aspect of accountability and instant feedback for desired changes.
Different tasks assigned to the team during sprint planning should be simplified to discrete unions and given time estimates for completion. The prominent features of user stories include a definite period and ownership status and a statement of how a task directly serves the stakeholders interests and its relation to the organization’s objectives. Sticky notes are useful as they allow developers to plan and prioritize tasks by moving notes accordingly. Each story in sprint planning should directly pursue goals that propel the organization’s agenda forward.
The agile method at GlenMatch encompasses more than just the core practices; it includes advanced ideas of the organization’s operation. The agile way introduces a system with no traditional hierarchy, but teams are working towards particular objectives. The method does not include performance evaluation processes (Ottenhoff, 2011). Instead, the teams talk to each other and provide instant feedback where possible. The agile way of planning creates and rides on the spirit of collaboration by creating an environment where everyone is involved in what everyone else is doing and the presenting challenges. Workplace collaboration invites new ideas and innovative thinking.
Migrating to the agile approach of planning and scheduling can be challenging for high-operation organizations. Organizations should begin with a simple single plan to gauge the suitability of agile method in a particular nonprofit organization. If a team sees the results of one complete task, it becomes easier for them to integrate and shift to agile designs and culture. Incorporating agile methods together with other constant factors can place an organization at a strategic position to achieve organizational goals including creating a strong organizational culture, capacity, and ability to execute tasks to completion, rapid financial growth, as well as strong financial performance
Cooper, G. (2017). 4 Agile Startup Practices Empowering Nonprofits – Virtuous Nonprofit Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.virtuouscrm.com/innovation/4-agile-startup-practices-applied-nonprofits/
Engelmann, E. (2017). Building an agile nonprofit. Retrieved from https://medium.com/newboco/building-an-agile-nonprofit-9fc88feb2103
Ottenhoff, B. (2011). The Agile Approach to Nonprofit Management. Retrieved from https://trust.guidestar.org/blog/2011/07/13/the-agile-approach-to-nonprofit-management/