Introducing a genuinely Agile way of working can be a severe struggle for corporates with their complex processes, inflexible IT, and control-based mindset, but the method offers many advantages. Below I will describe 4 steps to embrace the Agile mindset.

As we all know, processes in large organizations can be tedious. The projects have a long duration, and there is a lot of talking but not much action. Furthermore, there is too little focus because everything is done at the same time. The results are dire: innovations don’t become feasible, and in the end, only the old business propositions stay successful. This state of things is the reason why the Agile way of working was introduced.

What Is Agile?

Organizations are continually seeking new and different ways to reinvent their product delivery. During the past several years, the development areas of organizations have begun to feel the benefits of working with an “Agile Way of Thinking.” This methodology encompasses the processes, tools, and training required to be able to respond quickly to customer needs and market changes, all while controlling costs and quality.

The following 3 characteristics are at the core of the Agile methodology:

  • Flexibility: it is vital to be able to respond quickly to changes in the market.
  • Multidisciplinary teams: employees are taken out of their functional silos and put in self-managed and customer-focused units.
  • Short cycles: These are crucial to react proactively to changes in the market and customer feedback.

Agile has the following advantages:

  • You can respond rapidly to changes in the market.
  • The method is cost-efficient.
  • Because of the customer-centricity, your clients will love it!

Companies that Benefited from Agile

Agile works. Just an example: as part of its digital IT strategy, the Cisco Cloud and Software IT (CSIT) organization wanted to replace periodic major releases with continuous delivery of new features. To accomplish this, an Agile development process was adopted. The results were amazing! Cisco became more efficient, and products were delivered on time.

Or take Ericsson, the Swedish, multinational networking and telecommunications company. In 2011, one of Ericsson’s R&D departments embraced Agile. It was the department that builds systems with which the world’s telecommunications companies manage networks. Before that time, systems for telecoms would be developed on a five-year cycle. With Agile management, Ericsson has over 100 small teams working in three-week cycles resulting in faster development that is better tailored to the specific needs of the customers.

How to Become Agile: 4 Steps

Introducing a truly Agile way of working can be a serious struggle for corporates with their complex processes, inflexible IT, and control-based mindset. At RevelX, I have learned that “changing the system” can best be started by changing people’s mindset. I would recommend taking the following rules of thumb into account:

  1. Don’t try to control your people but enable them to accomplish great things.
  2. It is not about the individual employee anymore; self-steering teams are the future.
  3. The management should not be the ultimate judge of all things. That is left to the customer.
  4. Celebrate failures; you will learn from them.

Now that the right mindset is in place, setting up an innovation lab outside the corporate structures is often a good first step. Start experimenting in such a controlled environment by developing solutions for innovation challenges you have failed to crack in the past years by applying an Agile way of working. Once you have established that this works well, the next step is to scale up and gradually adopt the principles in your core business organization.

Do you need help to transition to the Agile way of working? Stay tuned. We will bring you soon our new DARE mindset. A new mindset for innovators in the digital age.