Why Agile is more important than ever

    Nov 18, 2021 | Posted by Emma de-la-Haye


    The past few month of supporting customers to achieve successful change, in the midst of a pandemic, have reinforced for me how important it is for our organisations to be agile, and that an Agile approach can help with this. Isn't this a bit circular, I hear you say? Did she really mean to write agile and Agile? Aren't they the same thing?

    Prosci® defines organisational agility as an embedded attribute, characterised by durability, resilience, speed, flexibility, attunement and preparedness. I often describe it as organisational “bounce-backability”. Organisations that are agile describe it as a value, a core competence and clearly see it as a competitive differentiator, allowing them to get goods and services to market faster than the competition. Compare this to Agile, an iterative development approach utilising collaborative effort through self-organising teams. Agile project management, as it is often known, originated in software development in the early years of this Millennium, and has since been extended into various project execution approaches.

    I have heard 2020 described as a prime example of our increasingly VUCA world. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity facing governments and organisations attempting not just to survive, but to thrive, in a “Covid-compliant” world and the anticipated economic recession it will face, are legion. Working as and with leaders to build organisational resilience – becoming agile – is critical. Among other things, it calls for: investment in analysis and evaluation to anticipate and track volatility; resilience, options and dexterity for when the uncertain, the unknowable, materialise; systems and processes that are fleet of foot and responsive in the most complex of circumstances; risk management strategies attuned to equivocal, changeable and ambiguous conditions. And the constant in all of this is the need for our people to have the right skills, competences, mindsets and behaviours; the transformation so many of our organisations are now facing are likely to be the most people-dependent changes they have ever encountered.

    Agile project management, with its fundamental expectation that the requirement will evolve and change during the course of the project, is well positioned to support achievement of organisational outcomes as we head towards the final quarter of 2020. A quick glance at the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto reveals how central people are to what it means and what it offers: customer collaboration, responding to change, customer satisfaction, self-organising teams, regular adaptation.

    For those of us who work on people-dependent changes and changes aimed at building organisational resilience and that bounce-backability I mentioned earlier, understanding how we attune our change management practice for both agile and Agile has never been more important. How best can we prepare, equip and support individuals, from the most senior to the most junior, as work begins to build organisational agility? What does it mean for our change practice if that work, at least in part, is being developed iteratively under the banner of an Agile development? Whether it is a move to agile or working in Agile, mobilising our people to achieve outcomes and deliver results has never been of greater imperative.

    Prosci has taken a deep-dive into the Intersection of Agile and Change Management. Take a look at the executive summary of their report or enrol your team on our in-house, highly interactive Agile and Change Management workshop to review the findings of this Prosci research and to explore what it means for your change management practice. We offer the private training virtually or in-person to your organisation. Contact us to to find out more.

    Topics: change management, Prosci