We have discussed what the agile methodology is and the evolving role of agile managers, but what traits do successful agile organizations have in common? Whether you are planning a new initiative to implement the agile methodology in your business or you are trying to strengthen initiatives already in place, it is important to understand the types of characteristics and traits that lead to success. Agile is a holistic approach that should be rooted across departments and in all processes within an organization. In the past, organizations were viewed as machines with interconnected parts. However, the future of work has traded this analogy for one that views organizations as living organisms. Just like any other living organism, the goal of agile is to generate continued and sustainable growth. Here are the five traits that highly successful agile organizations have in common.
1. One United Strategy
Developing a transparent strategy is very important for continuous innovation and agile practices. The most successful agile organizations take this a step further by making sure the entire organization has a shared purpose and vision. Everyone in every department should be prepared to recognize and take advantage of any possible opportunity that might present itself. Resources and guidance from upper levels of the business should be made easily accessible to the lower levels. Together these practices make sure everyone has what they need to succeed in furthering company goals. Understanding how each individual role contributes to the overall strategy helps employees spot opportunities for innovation and further development.
2. Network of Teams
Many traditional roles are removed from agile, and instead there are structured teams. These teams should have clearly defined, accountable roles with checks and balances to make them self sufficient. The idea is to empower employees and teams with resources and guidelines so that micro-management is not needed. Open communication is an important aspect that makes these teams and the overall business successful. The collaboration of teams is equally important, and the agile environment regularly promotes teams made up of members of different departments. This creates higher employee engagement because employees are more in control of their work, and their efforts are recognized and valued.
3. Continuous Learning Cycles
The result of agile in your organization should be learning cycles that spark continuous innovation and improvement. Successful organizations drive rapid iteration and experimentation with a standard for the work done. The transparency of information is important, whether a success or a failure, so that the processes can build on one another. This creates an environment of continuous learning where action-oriented decision making is promoted. Once a process has been improved, it should be monitored and improved some more. At no point is a process or product the best that it can possibly be.
4. People-Centric Model
Engaging customers and employees equally is an important trait of highly successful agile organizations. Customers have valuable insights to offer and should always be involved in collaboration and feedback whenever possible. Likewise, it is important for employees to feel valued and safe to collaborate and contribute to open innovation initiatives. Creating a cohesive community with entrepreneurial drive is important for agile success. Although roles should always be clearly defined, adding flexible mobility to roles helps achieve this. Back to the changing analogies we discussed, people are not just cogs in your business machine. They are valued life forces in your living organism.
5. Utilizing New Technology
Technology is a powerful tool, but agile approaches require a more holistic integration of technology than its traditional support function. For the greatest success, technology should be seamlessly integrated into every aspect of the business. It should be used to enable quick reactions to both the business and stakeholders’ needs. Afterall, rapid action-oriented decision making is an important part of the continuous learning cycles. Because operating processes will need to continually and rapidly evolve, it is important to have a flexible technology architecture that is also capable of evolving.
Organizational culture plays a large part in defining how agile a company is, and these five common characteristics are found in the most successful cultures. Agile helps your business develop a culture of continuous innovation. Quick innovation health checkups are important to analyze how successful your current initiatives are and to point out where your company might be lacking. To submit your organization for a quick online Innovation Health Checkup, click here.
To learn more about Planbox’s Agile Innovation Management solutions, click here.