The term Agility
is not new. In an ever-changing era, the Agile concept has helped organizations understand that:
- Technology constantly defines and redefines what is possible, creating opportunities that didn’t exist even a few months ago.
- Achieving customer satisfaction is more and more complex. It is necessary to anticipate the target audience’s needs and create innovative solutions to maintain a loyal customer relationship.
- Adaptability to the environment and a digital and organizational transformation are the cornerstones to survival in a competitive environment.
Those experienced in the IT industry understand, are familiar with or have at least heard of Agile and any of its frameworks (Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc.), which provide the ability to offer solutions best suited to customer needs.
In an agile culture, naturally more adaptable, flexible, and innovative teams can more efficiently manage uncertainty.
In recent years, organizations discussed some forms of scaled
Agile –the extension of Agile principles and approaches to programs and portfolio levels of organizations, setting up functions beyond project execution. But there is another environment that organizations may not be familiar with: Business Agility.
According to the Agile Business Consortium, business agility is the capacity of an organization to:
- Adapt quickly to internal and external market changes
- Respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands
- Adapt and lead change productively and profitably without compromising on quality
- Think continuously in keeping a competitive edge.
Business agility deals with the evolution of values, behaviors, and capabilities. These help companies and people be more adaptable, creative, and resilient when faced with complexity, uncertainty, and change leading to greater well-being and better results. At the heart of organizational agility is the acknowledgment that companies evolve continuously.
The framework for Business Agility
It is important to note that there is no single path to being “Agile.” Agility is not about a kitchen recipe with only one way to adopt it. However, there are guidelines to help organizations become more resilient, not fear failure, and work in iterative periods. Although there are multiple ways to adapt to the environment, agility is one of the most precise ways organizations should take into account to achieve effective resilience.
The agile framework
illustrates the elements and steps an organization can take to adopt business agility.
The framework above seeks to execute projects and business operations agilely, for which a strategy aligned with agile principles is necessary.
Keys to adopting business agility
- Rethink organizational models
Bureaucracy and vertical organizational structures make it challenging to adopt agile processes. The desire to create innovative solutions is not enough when organizational patterns are not broken. Self-leadership, the feeling of achievement, and the evolutionary impulse are elements that agile organizations have managed to encourage and develop throughout the organization. Although it is not about eliminating hierarchies, it is about giving the organization meaning and freedom so that its members remain motivated and can self-manage their tasks, working collaboratively.
- Evaluate the organization’s current objectives and draw a roadmap
Roadmaps are an effective method to visualize short- and medium-term objectives and establish concrete actions that lead the company to achieve its purpose. However, this roadmap must leave the directors’ offices to be integrated into the entire organization. This ensures that teams are on the same page and have a better understanding of the action plan and the role they play in it.
Leadership methods are being redefined. It is no longer enough to establish a good relationship between CEOs and the board of directors; now, leaders need to develop a closer relationship with the teams and members of the organization. At her conference Sony’s Servant Leadership Journey
, Nadya Ichinomiya talks about the keys for leaders to create a cultural change in their teams, implement agility on a day-to-day basis, and create more meaningful connections with their peers.
- Cultivate a culture of continuous learning
By having the opportunity to interact with agile leaders, teams will be able to develop the necessary hard and soft skills to face an agile environment and will be more autonomous and empowered. The company should not only focus on getting new talent with skills to drive agility but also allow its existing teams to train and learn business agility
. After the pandemic, the concept of business agility is much more related to resilience. Amid a context of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), business agility allows companies to focus on the customer more efficiently, create innovative solutions and respond quickly to opportunities and threats that arise in their internal and external environments (whether commercial, legal, technological, social, moral or political).