What is the benefit of business agility?
The true definition of business agility is a company’s ability to adapt and respond in a dynamic marketplace. However, that should not come at the expense of business stability, as for the majority of companies, success depends on having both. Of course, business agility is required to be able to react as quickly as any given industry changes, but it’s the stability of a company that provides the necessary platform that provides the anchor that underpins its agility.
Business agility: understanding the concept
To use an analogy, agility is the antithesis of fragility. That’s because when you put sufficient stress on something fragile, it either loses any strength it had or it breaks completely. Conversely, if something is agile, it has sufficient flexibility to ‘roll with the punches’ and bend with any changes that occur within any given sector. Therefore, for a business not to be fragile and unprepared for what the future brings, it needs to be agile enough to gain a competitive advantage from situations that other, less agile organizations fear.
An agile mindset is constantly problem-solving and iterating change. Using an agile framework will transform an entire organization, from the key stakeholders and senior management to project management leaders and all team members (be that a software development team, a marketing team, a human resources team or any other function).
What are the features of business agility?
So, what exactly are the qualities required for a business to be able to call itself agile? For a company to be able to accurately described as an agile organization, it needs to be able to:
- React quickly, flexibly and decisively to customer needs and demands (having a customer-centric focus)
- Adapt rapidly, both externally and internally to market changes
- Provide leadership for change in a cost-effective manner that does not affect product or service quality (effective product management)
- Be in a near-perpetual state of competitive advantage
Typically speaking, companies that fall into the agile business category are those that adopt the agile ways of working, agile practices and value stream throughout its workforce and hierarchy. This results in favourable outcomes being achieved through the resilience of the individuals within an organisation, allowing them to work as a single cohesive unit that has the same shared goal. Instead of silos, collaborative and cross-functional teams work together. Team members are self-organizing, communicative and open.
Why adopt agile practices?
There aren’t many things in life or business that are certain, but change is one of them. Once untouchable companies that have been at the very top of their respective trees for decades are being challenged by disruptors willing to embrace new technology, initiatives, methodologies and operating models.
The future is unpredictable and standing still is effectively moving backwards. Business agility is not just desirable, it’s vital. Agile transformation keeps a business competitive, current and able to adapt. Adopting agile ways of working will transform your business model, your decision-making processes, your product development and the ways your team members work and interact. It will change your business environment, team work and user experiences entirely.
We can sum up this whole concept in just once sentence – do you want your organisation to remain relevant and still exist in 20 years? If the answer is yes, then business agility has to be the operating model strived for sooner rather than later.
Everything else is a mere footnote.