As the world navigates an ever-changing “new normal,” agility has never been more important for tech leaders. Businesses everywhere must be ready to modify or change course at the drop of a hat, but this is especially true in the tech sector, as both companies and consumers increasingly rely on technology to carry out everyday tasks.

Tech leaders will need to be prepared to be flexible and agile when mapping out Q42020 tech plans. To help, the members of Forbes Technology Council share 13 important considerations to keep in mind.

1. Don’t assume Q4 will be ‘normal.’

Tech leaders need to understand that their assumptions regarding a “normal” Q4 are not relevant anymore. They should do a weekly evaluation of the situation and make business decisions as if they were product decisions—in short cycles and in an agile way. Now more than ever before, every plan should be treated as a basis for change. – Omer Carmi, Sixgill

2. Aim for fast, thoughtful execution.

Execute thoughtfully and with speed. This goes beyond Q4 and what many leaders focus on. Fundamentally, execution is a result of strategy, operations and people. Having clear metrics across your organization allows you to have a pulse on what matters most—building and shipping beautiful products and serving your customers while remaining agile. – Chet Kapoor, DataStax


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3. Look closely at the competitive landscape.

The competitive landscape has changed significantly. Q4 tech planning should look closely at the current state of affairs both within and outside the organization, revalidate the product vision and goal and then prioritize the epics and backlog. – Phani Kumar Bhogaraju, Groupon

4. Remember remote work brings more cyber risks.

With employee workplaces shifting to outside the office, internal business data is being accessed from outside office premises more frequently. There is a higher risk of data leaks, hacking or systems being exposed to ransomware and malware. Tech leadership should take this into account and plan to fund efforts to ramp up online security, disaster recovery and business continuance practices. – Ravi Goyal, Sureline Systems

5. Focus on business strategy over technology.

Technology is an ever-changing trend. Leaders need to focus on the business and strategy and not the technology. Technology should be treated as an enabler for business, and leaders shouldn’t worry too much about the tech. Rather, they should focus on their customer experience and solution, which will help them focus on picking the right technology. – Asokan Ashok, UnfoldLabs Inc.

6. Evaluate your systems’ flexibility.

Heading into Q4, tech leaders should evaluate their current systems to understand if they’re flexible enough for coming changes. For example, new security legislation, such as the California Privacy Rights Act, may require additional areas of compliance that might interrupt established workflows. The software must be agile enough to accommodate changes quickly and without huge investments of time or capital. – Matt Kunkel, LogicGate

7. Be ready to support remote employees.

During Covid-19, many companies have struggled to secure enterprise data on mobile devices, grant secure access to business resources and provide remote IT support. In Q4, companies must stamp out these challenges and implement technologies to support employees as they work from anywhere. As part of this, companies must create secure workspaces on mobile devices and provide secure connectivity. – Simon Biddiscombe, MobileIron

8. Double down on customer satisfaction.

Agility and the ability to quickly respond to critical customer needs as well as pursuing today’s market opportunities has never been more crucial. When mapping out Q4 plans, tech teams should double down on using the current market conditions to accelerate customer satisfaction by meeting critical needs that other solutions can’t provide. – Craig Powell, Motus, LLC

9. Pay attention to employee well-being.

When mapping out Q4 tech plans tech leaders need to pay more attention to the well-being of their employees and help them manage their re-entry anxiety. Anxiety is universal right now, so helping our employees manage their mental health must be our top priority. – Elaine Montilla, The Graduate Center, CUNY

10. Shorten your payback windows.

Q4 tech plans require short payback windows, flexibility and responsiveness. Plans need to generate small, easy victories, not 18-month payback periods. Between the U.S. election, the continuing pandemic and the limited availability of government funding to support struggling world economies, there is currently significant volatility. It is critical that plans are flexible and responsive to the business. – Neelan Choksi, Tasktop Technologies

11. Focus on a people-centric strategy.

To remain agile, shift your focus away from KPIs and toward a people-centric strategy. Your people and culture will be your differentiators in handling large disruptions both today and in the future. Trusting teams and a constructive culture have multiplying effects on business outcomes. – Maddison Long, CloudOps

12. Prioritize customer service and revenue.

Because we don’t know what is going to happen with Covid-19, tech leaders will need contingency plans for everything. However, customer service and revenue will be critical in Q4. Many businesses and sectors are struggling to stay afloat due to the economic damage caused by Covid-19. Retaining customers and growing revenue just to survive until Covid-19 is under control is everyone’s top priority. – William O’Connor, TigerConnect

13. Invest in objectives and key results.

Agility in this context means being able to move fast and adapt quickly as you go along. Investing in OKRs is a fast way of getting a measurable, fully aligned strategy across the company, and since outcomes and progress are clear to everybody, adapting tends to be a much smoother process with fewer headaches. – Marcelo Wiermann, Lucidity

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