There is no simple way to assess whether your company is agile or not, because agile exists on a continuum. In many cases, an organization is agile in some ways while being rigid in others. Therefore, you might find yourself in a situation where you need a scale to prove or evaluate how agile your business is in order to move forward. Luckily, there are questions you can use to evaluate just how agile your company is. Regardless of company size or sector, agile has five key dimensions that apply to all businesses: a focus shared across the organization, a network of empowered teams, fast-paced decision and learning cycles, a cohesive community that ignites passion, and next-generation enabling technology. With this in mind, here are 6 questions that can help you assess your organization’s agility.
#1 Does your company put the right people in the right roles?
Leading a new idea to success requires having the right people in the right roles working on the right projects, while also hiring outside business resources when necessary. It can be tempting to combine roles. However, this can hinder employees from doing their job to the best of their ability and decrease your company’s overall operational agility. Understanding how important each agile role is to the whole system is crucial, and cutting corners will lead to a more complicated adoption of this practice. Each role in your organization also has a unique responsibility that ensures smooth innovation management. You can see Planbox’s solutions for these responsibilities and their benefits here.
#2 Do your teams successfully and fully integrate their products?
Analyzing your project success rate is a valuable tool for gauging how effective your methods are and where there might be room for agile improvement. If the overall success rate is low, then you can further pinpoint what about the process is going wrong. Agile values creating self-sufficient teams, so taking a closer look at whether or not the right people are in the right roles could be a helpful solution. Once again, it is not about the quantity of products but the quality of the process.
#3 Does your company encourage and support a collaborative environment?
One of the great benefits of agile is creating a culture of continuous innovation, and supporting a collaborative environment is key to continued improvement. Collaboration operates on the idea that sharing information is power, but if your company has a hierarchical and rigid reporting structure, then it is highly unlikely that ideas and change will be free-flowing. In our previous blog, 7 Tips for a Successful Digital Transformation, we discussed how important open communication is for promoting and integrating successful change; collaborative environments build trust, empower teams, and lead to faster project completion. Without collaboration, a company has not completely adopted agile practices.
#4 How does your company respond when a crisis or problem interrupts a deadline or goal?
At some point, things are not going to go as planned. How your organization responds when there is a crisis can be one of the best indicators of how well agile has been adopted. When a team fails to meet a set milestone, does everyone drop the agile methodology and instead use shortcut methods? Or, does your company buckle down and embrace agile during crisis? Answering these questions can help you clearly see how fully agile practices are integrated into your business. There is a commitment to the agile methodology that is required to assess your company as being completely agile.
#5 Do you utilize time boxes for projects?
According to Elizabeth and Richard Larson’s paper presented at the Project Management Institute, “a time box is a fixed duration into which an agreed amount of work is completed.” Agile teams should establish a time box for how long it takes them to complete one of their projects after working together long enough to have an understood system. Ideally, your teams should time box each iteration, but sometimes agile teams will let this go once a company adds more features to the iteration. Once time boxes become fluid, it can become difficult to plan what and how much can get done during the iteration. The benefits of time boxes include setting expectations, having a useful planning tool, and controlling scope. Examining how your teams use time boxes can help you assess if your company is agile.
#6 How does your company treat outsiders?
Agile collaboration includes gathering ideas and feedback from those within and without your organization, so it is important to maintain transparency all-around. Likewise, the foundation of an agile company is a core respect for people and treating everyone as equally important. One valuable way to gauge how well your company has achieved this is to look at how strangers are treated Does your company uphold a common respect for everyone that it deals with? Maintaining an open, collaborative environment relies on this treatment of people.
If you would like to learn more about innovation software that helps integrate agile practices in your business, get in touch with Planbox here.