The Benefits of Agile Organizations
New ways of working for a new era of work or how to build true agility in organizations?
Part II of III
How to quickly create agility in your organization and use it to get out of the crisis? What are the new ways of working we need to adopt now for the new era? How could these new ways of working help us be competitive in the new era? These are the questions on our minds right now at launchlabs Sofia and in this article we want to share our knowhow gathered in the last 7 years through working with multiple organizations to implement agile ways of working.
There are multiple factors impacting companies in the current situation from the type of industry they are in and the national governance under which they operate to the reserves they have and the size and type of their market they have. And while these external factors impact the outcome, there are five internal factors, which we described in part I, that organizations can control in order to build more agility. These are leadership, project methodology, team rituals, spaces and platforms used. The question now is how does this benefit the organization?
Again there is no definitive list of benefits from implementing new ways of working in an organization, but here is what we at launchlabs Sofia observed from working with hundreds of organizations in the last seven years. These are gains we have identified across various types and sizes of businesses – from really large and innovative IT consultancies like Accenture to international banks, telecoms and pharma companies like RaiffeisenBank, A1 and Roche to local SMEs.
- Faster turnaround on projects: we have noticed that organizations who apply agile ways of working – shorten their project lifecycles (sometimes tenfold) and suffer from less “waste production” – designing unnecessary products and services. Best results are achieved when companies use a mix of instruments from methodologies like design thinking, scrum and service design to manage their backlog, team communication and client needs validation.
- Channeled creativity: organizations that have adopted agile ways of working enjoy leadership who is truly leading and not managing or worse micromanaging and this too helps individuals and teams to be more creative. Agile activities like field research, customer interviews or rapid prototyping also contribute to increased levels of creativity and in the right direction i.e. for solving the right problems. Of course well designed agile spaces and digital platforms, where they exist, contribute significantly to an influx of creative energy.
- Improved confidence and independence: we have worked with many agile teams and we have noticed how they grow after the first couple of sprints. They become more confident scoping projects, talking to customers, brainstorming out of the box and modifying their solution to fit the customer needs. Yes, the first sprints are usually very hard – there are so many things going on – new team dynamics, steep learning curve about new methods, high expectations. That is the reason why we recommend that teams work with an experienced coach who can help build confidence and independence in the team so that they could promise (and deliver) innovative results on future projects.
- More engaged workforce: there are two drivers of this – one is that agile mindsets require deeper focus on customer needs. This allows employees to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. The meaning that they find in the job engages them much stronger than any employee benefits. The second driver is the freedom, not total freedom, but within a framework of clear goals, employees can decide how to do the job and ask for help when needed. This also contributes to higher engagement levels.
- Expanded understanding of the business: involvement in sprints gives a very wide perspective to business issues, processes and stakeholders in a very short amount of time. This helps employees to see the big picture. This is of great value to leadership as they can more constructively discuss business challenges and communicate new strategic decisions, even unpopular ones. Knowledge it turns out is empathy.
Building agile organizations is the only sustainable way for companies to get out of the crisis and be ready for the inevitable next Business as Unusual situation. Agility gives organizations faster and better market solutions, more creative, engaged and aligned workforce that works in sync with leadership. At launchlabs Sofia we do just that – we guide companies through business redesign and make them ready for the business as unusual. We provide team training, leadership support and coaching on real sprints, as well as workspace design. We have worked with hundreds of organizations around the world to help them redesign their businesses into more agile, creative and successful organizations. Interested? Join us for an hour of free consultation here.