After Agile, Business Agility

Insights | 06 March 2018

The topic of Agile continues to stimulate debate, and we believe that’s a good thing. It means it’s becoming tried, tested and adopted. It also means agile is succeeding, failing and being adapted. This in itself is at the core of the agile principle of test-learn-adapt.

We touched on embedding an agile mindset in a recent article, and here we will explore where to next for agile. The next 12 – 24 months will prove interesting in the evolution of agile, and we believe it’s this trend that is contributing to the outcome and value we support and drive in our partnerships and engagements – Business Agility.

Business Agility builds on agile principles, and like agile, focusses on outcomes and value delivery, rather than output and project delivery. Tweet: Business Agility builds on agile principles, and like agile, focusses on outcomes and value delivery, rather than output and project delivery. @PMPartners The label may be new, but the concept is a back to basics business outcomes mindset.

For example, Business Agility considers questions such as; how do you structure your organisation from the top down to simplify complexity? How can you be more outward looking and more responsive to change? How can you react and pivot to be more customer centric and focussed?

Appropriate business management approaches set up the foundations of attaining business agility. Some typical indicators that we look out for include:

  1. Are there agile practitioners in the organisation who have moved into senior roles, and which senior executives have been exposed to agile? This combination is powerful because it brings the right skills, experience and mindset to the top of the organisation.
  2. Is the organisation ready culturally? Is this ushering in change for change’s sake? Is there change fatigue? Is the right talent in place? You can’t just drop agile on top of an already dysfunctional organisation. The implementation of appropriate change management principles is crucial.
  3. Is agile actually appropriate for the business, department, programme or project or is a non-agile approach in fact the best method? Agile is not a silver bullet for every project. Examples may include businesses in law, technology or finance with very rigid processes that need to be upheld, perhaps for standardisation, compliance or risk mitigation purposes, where a non-agile or hybrid approach may be more appropriate.
  4. Does the organisation know when to be patient and when to be bullish? Established cultural mindsets can’t (and won’t) change overnight if they’ve been in place for decades. Sometimes these need a deliberate push in the right direction, and that isn’t always easy.
  5. Are there obvious places to carve off pilot areas to use as a repeatable example? This approach can drive new innovative projects and be used as proof points within the organisation. This can then be emulated to deliver high value outcomes, faster and at scale.

These are some of the signs that business agility is an achievable and appropriate goal. It’s worth considering if the time is right to build upon agile principles, nurture an agile mindset and embark upon your unique path to Business Agility.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about how we can help your business, or for more information on our Agile Transformation services please contact us on 1300 70 13 14.

About The Author

Matt Sharpe, Agile Principal Consultant and Practice Lead at PM-Partners group

Matt is our Agile Principal Consultant and Practice Lead, with significant experience in advisory and consulting, strategic transformation, project, programme and portfolio management. Matt is a Certified Scrum Professional, with over 15 years’ experience working in the Agile space across Europe, The US, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

Matt has worked at all levels of project delivery in both Waterfall and Agile modes ranging from single sprint deliverables through to multi-year agile portfolios exceeding $100m, as well as the design, planning, execution and management of agile transformations and capability uplifts in several organisations and industries across the world.

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