A process that accommodates for these points of deviation is a process that requires the buy-in from all teams and team members involved. We cease to be nimble if each team involved in a project works in a silo. When teams readily communicate and collaborate across department lines, all parties stay informed and engaged, making it possible to pivot quickly when (not if) the need arises.
A culture of adaptability thrives when the following are in place:
start with the “why” before the “how.”
Getting the team on board with the purpose for change is just as important as the process within which you execute it.
establish a workflow that is both a process and a framework.
We don’t do cookie-cutter work, and a cookie-cutter process creates unnecessary hurdles when it’s time to pivot quickly.
Considering your workflow as a rigid template creates blinders that make it difficult to identify potential risks. A workflow that establishes both process and framework allows the team to see the steps needed to accomplish the goal and creates a format within which they can problem solve.
Establish a list for your team that helps to evaluate not only the scoped deliverables, but also the potential risks in your initial project plan alongside those on diverging paths, too.
For example, if we changed the target demographic for a campaign based on a client’s request, we would consider the following (which we also considered at the start of the project):
- What results can we expect from this audience based on past data?
- On which platforms is this audience active?
- What copy or messaging resonates with this audience?
- What design considerations should our team keep in mind for this audience?
While the path to your destination may be unclear in the face of rapid change, having a workflow engineered to help you find solutions will continue to move your team forward.
cross-organizational connections are championed.
Utilizing project management and communication tools, like Workfront and Slack, allow for real-time communication across department lines.
Documents, tasks and overall project progress are visible to the full team, and everyone is in the know about the current state of a project. The smallest detail may be relevant to the largest number of people, and everyone has equal access.
there is an established rhythm of communication.
Knowing there are touchpoints throughout a project lifecycle reduces the panic inherent to navigating change. Providing a regular, set time for all project teammates to come together affords everyone the opportunity for their voice to be heard. These meetings help pivoting feel less like something that is happening “to” us and more like something happening “with” our input.
you work in iterations (where it is productive for your team).
Thinking big often means starting small. Making micro-moves and analyzing the results allows data to tell you what your next move should be.
Teams and clients alike benefit from a culture of adaptability as it allows and empowers teams to pivot to find the best possible solutions to roadblocks or changes in consumer narrative as they arise. Starting with the “why” gives the team purpose which is, in turn, supported by a workflow that allows for both flexibility and a clear path forward – ultimately helping to build your culture of adaptability.