What’s the point of being an agile organization?
Blog posted by: Emer O’Sullivan – Product Marketing Manager PPM, AXELOS, 12 July 2019.
Why should organizations become agile organizations?
Recent research outlined in The Evolution of the Agile Organization report from PA Consulting among 500 business leaders suggests the “top 10% of businesses by financial performance” are “almost 30% more likely to display agile characteristics”.
This has become more important today because, as the report says, the “cycle of invention and innovation is speeding up” and “change is occurring and accelerating to an almost overwhelming rate”. To be competitivein five years’ time means operating at a velocity “almost one third” faster than today.
If this doesn’t happen, the research suggests one in six organizations “will fail because they can’t keep pace with change”.
The Evolution of the Agile Organization explores the need to speed up time to value, and liberation of your people. By speeding up innovation and launch of products – which also includes adjusting products and services in response to customer testing – the top performing businesses are achieving value more quickly.
This approach is defined by:
- A shift from launching completed products
- Testing and refining smaller batches in the market
- Identifying new demand, plugging gaps, matching competitors
- Gaining quicker returns on investment
- Reinvesting in innovation.
Along with using “rapid prototyping and iteration” the report recommends organizing teams “cross-functionally”. This means bringing together different people’s diverse skills to deliver customer value rather than working in separate silos.
If you create the conditions in which people can share new ideas and experiment, then your organization will be truly agile and bring dividends.
That means your people will be able to “pursue” the organization’s “core purpose” and deliver what the business really needs.
So, the “dimension” of “Liberate your people” involves creating a workplace that is:
- Treats employees like customers, i.e. “at the heart of what they do”.
Using technology and designing the physical space within an organization to facilitate such qualities is more likely to build a business that is authentically agile and people-focused.
Creating a culture of enterprise agility
Within the context described by PA Consulting’s report, organizations need a way to instil an agile mindset and working methods across their workforce.
This is the thinking behind AgileSHIFT, which combines guidance, training and certification designed to empower staff to operate with agility during transformational business change.
And, reflecting the “dimensions” in the report, AgileSHIFT emphasizes the knowledge and ability to:
- Accelerate innovation
- Embrace agile working and create more dynamic roles
- Break down team silos
- Enable innovative and collaborative working
- Deliver value earlier.
Organizational agility, as the report says, is “the new normal” and a “journey without end”. Equipping people and teams with the skills to adopt agile ways of working will prepare them for that journey.
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