Building MAO – The Minimum Agile Organization

New ways of working for a new era of work or how to build true agility in organizations?
Part III 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 seven 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. Controlling these factors brings definitive benefits, which we described in part II. 

Here in part III, we want to focus on the quick hacks that ensure MAO – minimum agility in the organization. Because we believe that when we speak about agility – a little goes a long way. And while there is no silver bullet or one-fits-all recipe, these are our tips extracted from years of work with innovative companies like Acccenture, ING, Roche and many others around the world.

  • Effective meetings: It sounds easier than it is, but a small investment of time in understanding what type of meetings you run most often can give you a huge ROI. Especially if you use this knowledge to design effective scripts for them. We all know that a sprint planning meeting is different from a monthly planning meeting. A retrospective is different from a feedback meeting. A social meeting is in a category of its own. Yet we run them in almost the same way. Meeting typography could lead to having different scripts for different types of meetings. These scripts should include adequate meeting activities, roles and timeframe in order to give you the minimum agile edge you’re looking for. 
  • Effective platforms: It is important to spend some time to identify what platforms you need in order to ensure transparency of communication and tasks. Specifically some kanban management platforms for individual projects is a must. To do, doing, done goes a long way when we speak of agility.
  • Effective teams: Not all organizations are in a position to reorganize their project methodology and start running effective sprints. The minimum we can do is to at least add a “challenger” from a different team to the project. If you’re working on a new digital product, add someone from marketing from the very start of the project. If on the other hand you’re working on improvement of call centre service, add someone from product development. This will add the minimum diversity which on the other hand makes your project more agile.
  • Effective research: Not all organizations are in a position to spend days in customer research. A quick hack though is to create a database of customers with which you can quickly verify new product features or marketing messages. Also you might want to create a central database with elaborate customer profiles and needs and communicate to everyone in the company. This will synchronize efforts in different departments that don’t typically work together.
  • Effective communication: As leaders we can help our organizations adopt small changes every day. We have to avoid big transformation messages which can sound threatening and vague. Also we have to acknowledge that the organization is not fully rigid. All companies have some agility – otherwise they cannot exist. The question is how to increase it. As leaders we can give examples by doing pilots. We can delegate decision making at first on some projects where we simply indicatie what is it we would consider success and let people decide how to get there. By doing so in a small controlled experiment, we can give the organization an extra dose of agility.

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 and a more creative, engaged and aligned workforce that works in sync with leadership. However to become an agile organization we have to first become MAO – minimum agile organization.

 

At launchlabs Sofia we do just that – we guide companies through business redesign and make them agile – 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.