Solopreneurs who possess agile professional skills bring to the organizations with whom they work urgently needed expertise, often limited to a specific assignment and for a predetermined length of time. Agile Solopreneurs provide great insight, heightened productivity and relevant experience to countless mission-critical projects.
Agile innovation first swept through the Information Technology sector and greatly increased success rates in software development, improving product quality and speed to market. Agile management techniques are spreading to other industries and Solopreneur consultants ought to be aware of what is involved, both as regards the ways your clients and prospects may buy into agile practices and how you might incorporate certain agile methods into your consultancy.
More so than in the past, business ventures now exist in highly dynamic conditions. Customer priorities and technological advancements are known to change rapidly. Keeping a finger on the pulse of new developments and innovating or adapting as necessary the company’s products and services in response are essential. Marketing strategies, advertising buzz words and sales strategies operate on short-term cycles that fit the parameters of social media platforms. This fast-moving environment demands the stewardship of leaders who command agile skills. But what does agile mean in practice?
Agile does not mean doing the usual thing, only faster. Darrell Rigby, a partner at Bain & Company consulting and Hirotaka Takeuchi, professor of strategy at the Harvard Business School and CEO of Scrum, Inc., a consulting and training firm, describe agile business practices as containing the following elements:
- Scrum: Creative and adaptive teamwork that solves complex problems.
- Lean development: That focuses on the continual elimination of waste.
- Kanban: That focuses on reducing lead times and the amount of time needed to complete a process.
Agile management practices are particularly well-suited to strategic planning activities, marketing campaigns, resource allocation decisions and supply chain challenges. Agile works best where complex problems can be broken down into modules and assigned to specific teams. Examples of ideal conditions in which to apply agile innovation or methods include:
- When the solutions to an obstacle or challenge are unknown
- When the specifications of a product in development may be subject to change
- When the scope of work to be done on a project is not precisely known
- When cross-functional collaboration is presumed to be vital and time to market is sensitive
In order to expand (or at least maintain) one’s billable hours, Solopreneurs would be wise to acquire agile skills (books, blogs and certifications are available) and promote your proficiency when selling intangible B2B services to prospects. Decision-makers at organizations that are faced with a mission-critical project, challenge, or opportunity may feel more confident about hiring a Solopreneur who can bring agile methods and problem-solving approaches to the table.
External Solopreneur consultants must always present ourselves as being dependable, trustworthy, capable and able to meet or exceed the clients’ expectations by way of the cutting-edge skills that we possess. In this way, we make hiring managers and project sponsors feel that they’ll appear trustworthy and capable to their peers and superiors when they bring us on board. In this way we can build and sustain a viable consultancy.
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