Three steps to business agility for beginners

Wondering why your business should adopt agility, and how to get started? Here’s why.

Organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity, streamline internal processes and respond to customers quicker. This has been true from the industrial revolution through to the boom in manufacturing and into the era of dot.com’s and the on-demand economy.

And while business trends come and go, the latest discipline organizations of all sizes are adopting – Business Agility – looks to be here to stay. Business Agility is a company’s ability to sense and respond to change, quickly and confidently, and as a matter of everyday business. It is a discipline of adopting qualities that allow organizations to anticipate and quickly react to changes in the internal and external environment without losing momentum or vision.

So why Business Agility? Isn’t this a fad?

We don’t blame you for wondering, but can assure you it is no fad. If your business is solely relying on proven methods and not looking at innovating, your competition will eat your lunch and steal your customers while you’re still deciding which product you want to build.

Understandably, business agility isn’t something that can be adopted immediately overnight, and the ramp-up period is important. But for businesses that want to get started with an agile transformation, here are three steps to consider:

  1. Ensure executive support

This is an often-overlooked component, but people and culture is very important. If an organization’s leaders understand how agile can benefit the company, give it their full support, and truly embody agile principles, employees will follow. For this to be successful, leaders need to be less focused on managing people and more focused on the environment and its constraints.

By empowering staff to make in-the-moment decisions and providing autonomy, leaders are setting up organizational health. From a cultural perspective, if everyone understands the reason behind a shift to agile processes and pulls in the same direction, leaders will see a noticeable change in staff satisfaction and performance.

  1. Break the silos

Departmental silos are the antithesis of Business Agility. Organizations should be looking to organize teams into value streams, focusing on skills set and pairing where employees can add value. And as the silos fall, so should barriers to collaboration.

Development teams and business stakeholders need to have line of sight into each other’s priorities and talk regularly to ensure they align their visions with the company’s direction, and during each iteration of product development, teams must make time to review each milestone event in a concise but comprehensive fashion. This is contrast to the ‘old-school’ approach of doing a review before launch, when the process is almost complete and starting again would be costly and time consuming.

  1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

The most important thing to realize is that implementing an agile strategy is a journey, and not a destination. Even the most agile of organizations find it takes time to deploy the mindset and act accordingly. It’s not “when do we get Business Agility” but “how much agility do we have to respond to change?”

If you want to learn more about what it means to be agile, we urge you to revisit the Agile Management channel on CA Highlight, which focuses on everything you need to know to be successful with agile at all levels of the organization. For more tips on Business Agility, check out “A CIO’s Guide: Five Steps to Business Agility.” CA Technologies also offers extensive resources for businesses wanting to investigate Agile Management for their organization. Visit the company website to find out more.

 


Jim’s current passion is helping clients build their own agile centers of excellence. As a…

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