In the face of industry disruption, incumbent organisations are starting to pay close attention to the techniques used by the disruptors in order to rapidly evolve and respond to change. What began as an agile movement outside of IT has now become way more focused on business agility and a new business model is emerging.
While each organisation will have unique traits and so the emphasis on certain aspects will be greater, there appears to be some common elements that organisations will need to face in order to respond. The following is a snapshot of these elements. I hope you see it as evolutionary not revolutionary.
It still starts with understanding purpose as defined by the customer and how the work we do contributes to that.
Focusing on Purpose is how we identify value, what it is and how to measure it. A great metaphor for this in the banking industry is to think in terms of delivering homes not mortgages. It also helps to align the organization to a common cause by:
Define Outcomes to Progress you Toward Purpose
These are the things we believe we need to achieve to progress toward purpose. To know this we need to understand demand, what is being asked of us, how capable are we of doing it and how do we know when we have delivered on that? With this understanding we now know what to measure and can streamline the organisations to improve these measures rather optimising on milestones, scope, capacity, money or time.
Identify the Best People to Deliver the Outcomes
Thinking more broadly in terms of who has knowledge to contribute, who is impacted and who has the skills creates a far richer input and ideation. Getting this right will help to align people to the work, creating stable teams and stable teams lead to high performing teams as it:
Shrink work loads
Build flexibility in by having smaller chunks of work so you can stop or change more easily and make it safer to fail. If we are wrong, let's not be wrong for long and at minimal cost.
Change leadership style
Understanding the new role of a leader can be a difficult transition to make but also rewarding. Some conscious effort must go into helping leaders understand the value they add but also how to avoid getting in the way or constraining the flow of value.
Identify the measures that matter
It remains true, however, that change is constant and scaling is a moving beast as learning occurs and teams begin to self organise and identify new ways to optimise the flow of value to end customers. There is no one single answer to agility at scale; principles are far more important that process. Giving teams the minimum set of constraints within which to operate, decide, innovate and improve is the key to sustainable change.
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.