I have had the joy of working in many different teams from Finance, IT, support, Software Development to Sales. In each area, the successful teams have been Agile, even if they didn’t call it that.
It’s a Manifesto created by some software developers who have years of experience implementing successful projects.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
So how does this apply to the finance team?
Collaboration, real human collaboration. Finance teams who fail are locked to their desk. They spend little to no time working with the others in the business. They don’t understand the human issues, their clients, or the business in enough detail to do their job properly.
Finance teams who succeed work with the business, in the business - because they are Agile Finance teams. They interact often, talking to at least 3 people about what those people are doing every day. Chasing expenses doesn’t count. But that’s a waste of time I hear you say... I bet it saves you time.
Try it out for 1 week. Talk to 3 different people for at least 10 minutes per day about what’s affecting them. Ask them:
“What’s the best part of your job?”
“What’s the worst part of your job?”
“How can I help you better?”.
Listen after each question, don’t get defensive, and repeat what they said in your words so they know you understand.
When we work with finance teams as we implement CALUMO, the finance team is forced to talk to the business. We do this gently by asking the finance team: "What reports do you share with people?" We are delivered so many reports in such large spreadsheets, PDF's and printouts, it's confusing. We then work with the finance team and talk to the people they send the reports to and ask what reports are used, what information is most and least useful and what's missing. It can be a tough exercise because you have been churning out all the reports and only a small number are used! Even worse, sometimes, people take the reports, type numbers into their own spreadsheets for a report they better understand.
The result is always excellent. You will have a very clear understanding of what people really want to drive the business and you will stop doing things that don't help. People will thank you.
With a tool like CALUMO, you can also monitor who is using the reports you create so you can further refine this process.
Go forth now and communicate!