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Step-by-step: but without rhythm, agile working becomes a flop

Agile working is a popular working method. We scrum like crazy because we want to be more competitive and respond faster to change. But agile working can only be successful if you work in a rhythm of short, clear and repetitive cycles. If that is not there, then agile working is pointless and leads to problems and failed projects.

Agile working was first applied in software development in the 1990s to deliver software faster and more flexibly. Around the year 2000, the idea arose to make agility a condition for survival in business at all. The rapid pace of technological development, the increasing frequency of market disruptions and the bursting dot-com bubble of the early 2000s, showed companies that they needed to be able to react more quickly to changes in the market in order to remain competitive. Agility became the magic word and agile working was used in as many parts of the company as possible.

But how does agile working work in practice?

An example of working Agile in marketing is using the Scrum method for developing marketing campaigns. The team can break the campaign into short sprints and work on specific elements of the campaign during each sprint, such as developing ads, creating social media posts, creating a landing page or setting up email marketing. By working agile, the team is fast and flexible and can respond to changes in the market and customer needs. In addition, the campaign is continuously improved and optimised based on customer feedback. Ultimately, this leads to a more effective marketing campaign.

How does rhythm play a role in this?

Rhythm for clarity

In agile working there is a fixed and clear work rhythm in cycles of 1 to 2 weeks. Short, structured and therefore very recognisable for the team members. The goals are also very clear. They know what is expected of them and when. That helps to set the right priorities and to bring focus.

Rhythm for confidence

The clear rhythm also helps to build trust within the agile team and between that team and its stakeholders. Because by communicating and delivering on a regular basis, the team can meet, or even better... exceed the expectations of the stakeholders.

Rhythm for quality

Finally, a clear rhythm ensures that the team continuously improves itself. By regularly reflecting and giving feedback, the team learns from mistakes made and improves itself. This process of continuous improvement is an important aspect of agile working

In our publication 'Everything has a rhythm' it became clear that people naturally need rhythm. It provides relaxation and confidence. In 'Slave to the Rhythm' we see four ways in which organizations can introduce 'rhythmic working' so that employees perform better. We go one step further with agile working. Rhythm is essential for success. It helps to prioritize, build trust and continuously improve the team. Without a clear rhythm, the benefits of agile working are lost.


Our percussion workshop is a good example of agile working. Here too, we develop the piece of music that we will eventually play together in small steps. We determine which percussion instruments are needed and learn to play these instruments. We learn to play specific patterns and especially to play together. During this entire process we look back and improve our performance where necessary. This is how we work Step-by-Step towards the final performance of the piece of music.

Written with input by Marcel Geurtsen

Step by Step / Whitney Houston / 1997


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