AEG's Sales team holds a standup.

Agile in action: How AEG has embraced agile principles

Agile, originally created in the early 2000s as a project management strategy for the software development world, has been implemented by many organizations as a business mindset to help prioritize work, improve execution, and continually deliver results. American Enterprise Group (AEG) has adopted the agile mindset at varying levels and continues to make strides in its agile initiatives with the help of Organizational Change Coach April King.

King was hired in November 2019 to assist the organization-wide implementation of agile at AEG. King says agile is an important aspect of AEG’s culture of betterment because it’s rooted in the 3T's: trust, teamwork, and transparency.

Although agile may appear differently in each department, agile principles have been implemented across teams, including working agreements and daily standups. Working agreements contain the shared understanding of what it means to work as a team. And daily standups are short meetings, no more than 15 minutes, where members discuss progress, impediments, and commitments for the future. Both principles help improve communication and transparency, which leads to improved teamwork and trust within teams.

King says the digital strategy and new business teams were early adopters and have successfully used agile principles to streamline their work. She says previously siloed departments are now meeting as teams to break down barriers and formulate communication plans to help each department optimize workflow.

AEG’s internal committees also have embraced agile principles by utilizing Kanban boards that allow them to organize and prioritize their agendas. These committees also began working cross-functionally to meet their individual committee goals, together.

When it comes to organizational change of any kind, it can be easy to fall into the category of all talk and no walk. So being able to measure agile progress is important, King says. AEG primarily measures agile growth through annual employee engagement surveys, the number of new employee agile trainings completed within the first three months of employment, and the number of employee trainings overall. King offers three agile development classes per quarter with multiple sessions per class.
As AEG becomes more agile, King hopes that this constant transformation will become less about the term "agile" and be simply a working component within AEG's culture of betterment.