Becoming an Agile organization

Agile, a concept borrowed from software development, is now helping organizations in nearly every industry become innovative in their digital transformation. Agile approaches can transform processes, management approaches and even how people do their work.

Looking to make your organization Agile? Here are several ways to get started:

Change culture: Agile organizations use collaborative teams and empowering tools, and they focus on both internal learning and serving customer needs. Trusted collaborative teams — a core component of Agile — can enable your organization to leverage its culture and strengthen resolve, adapt to disruptions and seize new opportunities.

Agile teams often involve new ways of organizing both workers — including fancifully named “tribes,” “chapters” and “guilds” — and the work itself.

Change processes: For example, most mortgage applications screen for the “edge cases” with the highest risk. As a result, all applicants are required to endure a long, drawn-out process. But what if, instead, the process looked first for those with the lowest risk? Those applicants could be greenlighted quickly, and spared the long, drawn-out application.

Create a culture of learning: This involves not only a greater openness to new ideas, but also a willingness to tolerate failure, so long as it is followed up with learning and new responses. This marks a dramatic departure from traditional management approaches that typically disdain failure, thus discouraging experimentation.

By contrast, Agile projects are characterized by a great deal of small-scale, low-risk experimentation, often involving multiple approaches to innovation. Honesty is a related attribute, as is accountability.

In an Agile culture, failures not only happen, but are also okay. What’s not okay is hiding failures, failing to take responsibility for them as a team, or refusing to learn for the future.

Add training: Agile approaches require employees to gain new skills, such as design thinking. Agile also involves new ways of training: not just formal classroom training, but also learning by doing. Agile training can also include peer coaching and “learning to learn” approaches.

Become customer-centric: Develop a sharp focus on your customers’ changing demands, requests, needs and feedback. Any of these may require you to either modify or adapt older products, services and processes — or create new ones from scratch. Done right, this should improve customer attraction, satisfaction and retention.

Ensure free-flowing information: Results, measures and trends — whether positive or not — need to be recorded, shared, learned from and acted upon. The ultimate goal: supporting fast decisions at the point of the problem. This may require tearing down old information silos, building new communications networks, establishing new practices and mindsets, and more. Organizations also need “product-organized” digital platforms in which IT systems clearly support business products.

Ready to become Agile? Take these measures, and watch the innovation follow.

Chris Rogers works in the Global Architecture team at DXC Technology. He focuses on digital transformation capabilities for business solutions that help clients address digitization in a rapidly changing business ecosystem. Chris works across the entire delivery life cycle, driving improved agility in areas that include systems architecture, solution assurance and Lean Six Sigma optimization. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.



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  1. Great post Chris! Congrats!

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