Five Tips to Becoming a More Agile Business - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
DevOps
Commentary
11/21/2018
06:00 AM
Kenan Rodrigues, Head of Business Transformation for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, JPMorgan Chase
Kenan Rodrigues, Head of Business Transformation for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, JPMorgan Chase
Commentary
50%
50%

Five Tips to Becoming a More Agile Business

Companies across every industry will need to become more nimble and responsive to remain competitive in today's fast changing marketplace.

In today’s increasingly fast-paced and technology-enabled environment, improving speed to market can be a business's defining moment between winning versus irrelevance, making organizational agility more crucial than ever before. Most business executives recognize that being agile can play an important role in driving revenue, improving the customer experience and getting ahead of the competition. Yet, most organizations struggle to drive and scale business agility. So why all the hype around agile, and how do companies build true business agility across their organizations?

Agile is a set of values and principles that encourage fast and flexible response to change in delivery. Agile processes put the customer or end-user at the center of everything. Product development becomes ongoing, with frequent updates aimed at better addressing user needs.    

Most industry disruptors follow this continuous delivery model. Companies like Spotify actively listen to customer feedback and respond quickly with new services and features that directly address their needs. Customers start using the new services or features, provide feedback and the cycle continues to constantly improve the experience.

Starting and scaling agile necessitates meaningful change across the organization, including changes to processes, governance, workspace, culture, tools and technology; and the benefits can be significant. Employees are more engaged, teams are more collaborative and productive and new products or services arrive faster, with greater responsiveness to the customer. While it may not make sense to apply agile to every part of a business, most companies have significant headroom to operate with increased agility and create a culture that is more adaptive and collaborative.

To become a more agile business

1. Create multidisciplinary teams: In a traditional hierarchal structure, teams are organized primarily by function, and decisions are brought to senior management or tabled until the next executive committee meeting, often increasing cycle time. Agile teams are multidisciplinary and include talent across product, technology, customer service, operations and other relevant parts of the business. Agile teams are self-governing, empowered, more engaged and focused on a shared goal.

2. Deliver constant value to the customer: Traditional product development can take years. By the time a company gets a new product into customers’ hands, their needs may have changed, or a competitor may have beaten them to the punch. Agile teams focus on delivering a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly to customers and continually refining it based on customer feedback. This approach dramatically shrinks time to market and also ensures that the evolved product is more aligned with customer needs.

3. Encourage taking risks and failing fast: Innovation requires taking risks, potentially failing and quickly learning from that failure, or “failing fast.” Most organizations view risk taking and failure to be taboo, however agile supports constant innovation, requiring an environment where empowerment, taking risks and failing fast is encouraged by senior leaders.

4. Implement a culture of collaboration: Agile requires organizations to change mindsets, behaviors and even physical workspaces. This includes pivoting individuals from focusing on their functional silo to focusing collectively on the customer need, embracing agile ceremonies, such as stand-ups and retrospectives, and ensuring that agile teams are collocated in workspaces designed for seamless collaboration.

5. Lead by example: C-suite executives play a crucial role in pushing for agile adoption and providing necessary funding, training, empowerment and support. Leaders need to communicate a clear vision about embracing agile, ensure that the first few agile project successes are shared across the company, and then scale the agile model over time. Senior leaders should visibly immerse themselves in the agile model by visiting agile workspaces, reviewing output and providing ongoing thought leadership to their teams.

Companies across every industry will need to become more nimble and responsive to remain competitive in today’s fast changing marketplace, and business agility is a key enabling mechanism to doing so. The benefits of agile include improved time to market, client experience, employee engagement and efficiency, all critical components to achieving long-term success.

Kenan Rodrigues is Head of Business Transformation for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, JPMorgan Chase.

The InformationWeek community brings together IT practitioners and industry experts with IT advice, education, and opinions. We strive to highlight technology executives and subject matter experts and use their knowledge and experiences to help our audience of IT ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Edge Computing
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  10/15/2019
News
Rethinking IT: Tech Investments that Drive Business Growth
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/3/2019
Slideshows
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll