Agile organizations - The new normal: Agility
In this blog series, "Agile organizations - The new normal," we dig into some of the big trends that will result in the new normal of building and leading organizations in the future. This first text is about agility.
One of the biggest trends that are affecting today's business world is agility. «Agile» has arguably become the hottest buzzword in the last decade. Since the publishing of the Agile Manifesto in 2001, we have seen a vast spread of new methods and ways of building and leading organizations (Gustavsson, 2016).
Even though the agile manifesto was made primarily for and by software developers, the values and mindset of the manifesto have inspired people involved in different aspects of modern business.
Agile is, at its core, a way of working characterized by frequent and incremental delivery of improvements and ongoing reassessment and adaptation of plans (Glavenski, 2016). In an agile way of thinking, you are always customer-centered, wanting constant feedback from customers, and always ready to change solutions based on that feedback.
Different agile methods have emerged as a result of this thinking, all based on the agile manifesto. These methods involve multiple iterations, small teams, short timelines, constant validation, and inspections before iterations (Dutton, 2018). Studies have shown that implementing agile methods empowers the employees, granting them more autonomy in decision making, which again boosts creativity (Rigby, Sutherland, and Noble, 2018).
Speed more important than size
As the world is changing more rapidly than ever before, agile working is becoming the new normal. The turbulent markets we see today, where established companies are constantly battling assaults from insurgent competitors, demand that the big companies keep up with the tempo of the challengers. Stalk, and Stewart (2019) claims in their article “Fast Execution Needs Fast Strategy» that «.. across the business landscape, speed is becoming more important than size, and the basis of competition is shifting from scale to pace or tempo» (Stalk & Stewart, 2019). They continue to state that the traditional annual strategic planning process doesn't work to build fast and agile organizations.
What modern companies need is continuous strategic change based on fresh marketplace insight. To develop a high level of agility, managers need tools and models that stimulate agile behavior throughout the organization.
If you want to read more about fast and agile organizations, we recommend these articles:
- "Fast Execution Needs Fast Strategy," by BCG Henderson Institute
- "Agile at Scale," in Harvard Business Review
- "Benefits of Agile Project Management," by Thomas Gustavsson, in PM World Journal
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