Agility is the Key to Success
Why business agility means much more in today`s world
`Business agility is about responding to and anticipating change in whatever form it might take - fast`
The `Winning Edge` for people is a key characteristic of `agility` in a business, is that it is infectious and can inspire other people in the organisation to have the `Winning Edge`. Above all `agility` is about a change in mindset towards engaging people and successful business/sales people are the most dynamic, agile people around.
What`s more, `agility`, as it`s now being put forward in business schools, is much more about the `right people` in an organisation and not mainly about the processes and numbers that have typically driven the older management systems. Crucially, it`s about developing power from senior level, or at least about abandoning or loosening traditional command and control management, especially for employees involved in knowledge-based activities. The future is about people/teams which are able to respond much faster to change and opportunity and which are much more engaged with the company strategy (which must be very clearly communicated, of course - that is `true` leadership).
Every day brings business a new set of rules, challenges and opportunities
New possibilities and competitors can arise from anywhere in the world. Technologies advance, and processes and systems have to evolve to keep up. Yet another social media site or cutting-edge application emerges, giving consumers and prospects new ways to research purchases, learn about a company and share experiences. So how can an organisation anticipate, adapt and respond to whatever complexity the global economy, competition and changing technologies present? Meet escalating expectations head-on and find success in a world that never sleeps? Develop the flexibility to embrace change and thrive in a world where the rules change every day?
What does it mean to be agile?
Being agile means being able to respond adequately to changes.
Why is it important to respond adequately to changes?
Because the environment we live in changes all time and it has been changing faster over the years. If we don’t respond adequately to those changes we may end up doing things inadequately, i.e., things that won’t get us to our objectives.
Agile software development
The agile software development provides some suggestions on how to respond adequately to changes in a software development project. The main idea is to deliver software frequently so we get feedback on what is being delivered and adapt accordingly. In agile software management, adequate response to changes are possible due to:
* frequent delivery of value to customers
* feedback on what is being delivered
* adaptation accordingly
As a consequence, from agile software development derived:
-->>> continuous delivery which means the frequent delivery of software in production so we can have feedback as early as possible.
-->>> feature teams which means collocating on the same team everybody needed to develop and deliver the system, including software developers, QAs, BAs, product managers, sysadmins, interface developers, interface designers, interactions designers, customer support, etc.
-->>> agile product management practices which come in many different flavours, including product discovery, customer discovery, customer development, inception, sprint 0, business model generation, etc. I’ll probably write a separate post on this topic.
However, all of this seems to be limited to the IT world, more specifically to the software design, development and operations groups. The problem with this limitation is that even though those groups are agile, i.e., are able to respond adequately to changes, the rest of the company may not be as able as those groups.
Different cycles in different groups
When companies get serious about Enterprise Agility, one area that will require major change is moving from financial cycles being the driver to focus on a product-driven (deliverables) “Short-horizon” model (that does deliver the required financial information but is not driven by that financial cycles) that is more adaptable to changing conditions.
Another suggestion for companies interested in Enterprise Agility is moving the planning and forecast process to a more agile fashion such as the `rolling forecasts`. The idea is quite simple. Instead of going through the budget process every year and make it a huge yearly event, we should review and adjust our budget every month or quarter, continuously planning and budgeting “the next 12-18 months to reflect real time changes in planning assumptions, both outside (competition and economy) and inside the company. Rolling forecasts make the budget process more agile, relevant, and useful. Rolling forecasts get managers more focused on the future and less on the past. The more practice people have with forecasting and planning the better they become.”
Agile means continuous improvement
Being able to respond adequately to changes means that we need to continuously improve the way we do things based on the feedback we gather. Even though the `Agile Manifesto` is 10 years old, the agile ideas has been around for longer than that. The idea of continuous improvement is part of the basis of the Lean Manufacturing System, which has been around since mid 1980s. In the early 1990s the term Agile Manufacturing was formulated as “a term applied to an organisation that has created the processes, tools, and training to enable it to respond quickly to customer needs and market changes while still controlling costs and quality”.
So the ability to respond adequately to changes in customer needs or market environment came originally from the `manufacturing World'.
The agile company...
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE:
The agile company | Joca on stuff
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Agility is the Key to Success