Benefits of Business Agility in a Post-Covid World

According to multiple articles, Organizations that are Agile have been able to pivot much more easily during the Covid era than Organizations that are not Agile. 

In our recent webinar, we outlined the benefits of Business Agility as well as the three circles of an Agile Transformation. 

The benefits of business agility

  1. The freedom, flexibility, and resilience to achieve your purpose
  2. Agile organizations are designed to be fast, resilient, and adaptable
    1. The ability to create and respond to change
    2. The willingness to inspect and adapt and challenge the status quo
  3. Greater collaboration and communication throughout the Organization, allowing Teams to have faster decision making as things rapidly change
  4. Empowered Teams who are comfortable making decisions and taking accountability
    1. Empowering cross-functional Teams at the lowest level to step up and make decisions allows for senior leadership to focus on steering the company
  5. Reprioritization comes naturally to Agile companies and allows Teams to focus on changing customer needs
    1. Reduces speed to market
  6. Innovation is encouraged—it’s safe to try new things and fail

The Three Circles of Agile Transformation

Mindset—It all starts with the mindset. This is where the organization’s culture matters the most. The buy-in from senior leadership is imperative. The ultimate ask is to break old habits and embrace new ways of working, which is problematic because it cuts through all types of change.

Framework—Choosing the framework for delivery is a crucial part of the Agile transformation journey. It defines the product/service development team’s operating rhythm. Most large corporations want to move quickly in their Agile journey and are looking for a silver bullet. First, you have to learn how to walk before starting to jog or run. The silver bullet approach results in low team morale and an unhappy workforce. The key to success here is to start with a small framework and progressively go bigger.

Business Agility—Large corporations, especially in the financial services sector, are risk-averse. Most businesses adopt counter-productive mitigations as a risk avoidance technique – they put in controls and governance overheads to constantly monitor and manage risks and contingencies. Agile teachings promote knowledge acquisition as a contingency for risks, such as working with customers & experiments to learn the potential outcomes and adapt accordingly.

Pitfalls Of Agile Transformation Failures

One key reason an Agile transformation will fail is when all the focus is concentrated in just one of the three circles – we want to operate in all three circles, but it is hard to find balance.

Suppose we are working in the mindset and framework circles and trying to build a perfect product with perfect architecture. Spending too much time making things perfect, we are likely to miss the market window, or run into financial difficulties.

Similarly, if we operate in the mindset and business agility circles, for example, it could be great for the short term to get a prototype to market quickly, but we will be drowning in technical debt in the long run.

Or, imagine that we operate in the framework and business agility circle to build a perfect hotel for our customers — we could miss the fact that they really need a bed-and-breakfast, not a hotel, by not considering the mindset circle. All three perspectives are essential, so to maximize the efficiencies, we need to keep finding the balance