‘Agile’ is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment. It focuses on understanding the environment today, the uncertainties, and on finding solutions which can be adapted as they are developed.
An agile mindset can boost transformation efforts, as it places an emphasis on learning from failures and encourages different perspectives and diversity of thought. It does however require that teams are operating within an ecosystem of psychological safety to make the level of collaboration required possible. It also requires that they have a clear understanding of the core vision and strategy to remain fully aligned through each development iteration.
From the perspective of organisational transformation, it would be worth considering whether your leadership is strong enough to maintain the strategic consistency necessary for cohesive action across the organisation.
- Breaks down silos and reinforces collaboration.
- Creates momentum through short-term planning, sprints and rapid delivery.
- The need for change is implicit in the methodology and so allows for very flexible change management.
- The lack of practical boundaries and reactive, ad-hoc nature can make budgeting and working to timelines challenging.
- The focus on reacting, adapting and improving in real time can be detrimental to structured planning.
- The overall cohesion required for any transformation can be difficult when using the agile approach. While it is perfectly possible to be both agile and cohesive, it takes strong leadership and a consistent strategy to keep everyone and every increment working towards the same vision.
The five trademarks of agile organizations; McKinsey & Company; 2018.01.22