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How Kaizen Agile Development Boosts Team Performance

Kaizen Agile Development combines two operational methodologies for process flow and results-achievement. It is mainly used in software development but is somewhat applicable in all aspects of life, such as business and team development.

Kaizen is a Japanese term for improvement that stems from two Kanji characters: “Kai” for change, and “Zen” for good. It is the principle that combats the sometimes destructive desire for immediate radical innovation with small achievements that focus on the quality of work and waste reduction.

Agile, on the other hand, is a development principle that leans heavily in team collaboration and a non-linear process that involves a lot of back-and-forth between steps during product development or goal achievement. This type of approach allows wins within every step of the process instead of only achieving something at the end of the entire process.

Combining the two principles produces Kaizen Agile Development. This hybrid allows the two to cross out some of each other’s blind spots and boosts each other’s best assets. At the same time, they are two principles that adequately complement and mirror each other at the same time. As a result, when applying Kaizen Agile Development, you can expect your team to:

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Relish in bite-sized accomplishments

Kaizen Agile Development allows your team to reap a handful of harvests now and then. This idea is particularly helpful if you have a long-running project where one can quickly feel that there is no end in sight. Having little pings of accomplishment now and then adds a sense of value to the team’s efforts and make everybody feel that the group is moving forward.

Be resistance-free

Since we are talking small steps instead of big leaps, there is less likely to be any resistance because changes are going to be virtually unnoticeable instead of utterly drastic and life-changing. Not everyone is a fan of change, so inching towards reorganization instead of an all-out revolution might be more well-received.

Learn validation

In Kaizen Agile Development, teams are tightly interlocked and collaborations are life and blood. Everything from conceptualization, planning, initiation, testing, evaluation, and finalization is validated, and this is done at every step of the way and with almost everyone.

Have better employee morale

Extremes in environment and situations stimulate stress and a fight or flight response in just about anyone. That being said, applying Kaizen Agile in the workplace eliminates extremism while still getting things done. As a result, employees are much more optimistic and determined to give it their best. Because they feel secure in work situations, they are likely to be more progressive in their respective jobs. It also helps ensure that the entire process includes each member of the team, so they get a sense of value and inclusion.

Foster teamwork and collaboration

Since processes are quite transparent for the Agile principle to induce collaboration, teamwork is also likely to improve. Considering that your people are more involved with every step of the process, they start thinking and seeing beyond their scope of responsibility. They initiate to cross-check the work of their teammates and to help mitigate any misses.

Produce less waste, make fewer mistakes

Taking on big tasks with multiple complicated steps all at once gives you a more considerable margin of error. Errors produce a lot of waste in terms of resources, materials, time, human resources, and even motivation. The Kaizen Agile Development principle makes sure that there is as little waste as possible. Waste management is achieved through transparency, teamwork, and the overall concept of taking one step at a time. This is done while ensuring that each step is as steady and as clear as possible before pushing through with other activities. 

Focus more on the client

You will find that this concept allows everyone to focus more on the client since it will enable as much client involvement as possible. Whether you’re developing a product or organizing a major event, with Agile, each step of the way, and each mini accomplishment can be viewed and reviewed by the client. This allows the team to produce the best possible result there is. In this manner, the product at the end of the entire process is precisely what the client needs instead of just some resolution to an end-goal for the team.

Improve constantly

What you can mainly bank on with the Kaizen Agile Development principle is that you will have constant improvements. You don’t have to wait for that grand deadline to see what the team has achieved. Achievements are measured in small increments that are attainable on the regular. Weekly or even daily assessments can be done, depending on the goals that your team is working on.

Act upon short and long term goals daily

As mentioned above, manageable increments are how improvements are measured, such that accomplishments or goals can take place even daily. Try to picture out your company’s long term goal in five years and then try to chop it up into one-year increments–then dice it further into monthly targets. After that, you can mince it also into weekly or even daily achievements. If you look at what you need to achieve in those minced pieces, your long term goal might not be so daunting after all.

Evaluate the process

Another thing that the Kaizen Agile principle allows each member of the team is the opportunity to assess the performance of the process itself and not just the output of the group. The collaboration encourages an openness that empowers each and everyone to communicate effectively. Every member of the team can feel safe to say “stop” if they assess that the process is not helping performance at all.

Overall, applying Kaizen Agile Development to your business can reap great rewards in the long term. It will encourage a stronger professional relationship within the team with the help of transparency and collaboration. Consequentially, this will allow you to save on cost and effort by reducing your waste on time and resources. As a result you and your people an overall sense of satisfaction in your everyday tasks upon seeing your achievements now and then.

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About The Author

Vanessa R.

Vanessa R.

Vanessa has been a freelance writer for eight years, providing content independently and through various online platforms. Having worn many hats—a former student journalist, a registered nurse, an aspiring mom-blogger, plus six years of pharmaceutical sales experience under her belt, she adopts a broad range of approaches to tackling different subjects in personal and professional development. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two rowdy boys around the house.