How can I be agile without going Agile?

People in meeting

Written by John Edmonds, PPM Portfolio Development Manager at AXELOS

Agile – it’s such a simple word but one that can cause so much misunderstanding.

More and more of us are being asked to ‘be more agile’ in the way we work. We’re being called to be more adaptable, show greater agility, and to be more responsive. And it’s easy to see why, as most organizations are seeking to transform the way they operate in the face of a rapidly changing environment. Many sectors are having to respond to disruption, volatile markets, new technologies and uncertain futures.

But this call to be more agile has, in many cases, resulted in the inappropriate adoption of one or more Agile frameworks, and many teams, departments and individuals have been subject to practices and terminology that not only means little to them, but actually results in less efficient ways of working.

Yet, ‘to be more agile’ at both individual and enterprise levels, will help prepare for the journey of transformation and equip everyone to have a greater chance of success.

This is the rationale behind AgileSHIFT®, a new guidance from AXELOS. In the move towards enterprise agility there is not one single approach that fits all organizations and situations. For that reason, AgileSHIFT is based on five principles, universal characteristics that will always be applicable if you are seeking agility in the way you work.

These principles are the fundamental attitudes and behaviours, the guiding obligations for successful transformation. They are:

  • Change will happen, so embrace it
    Change is an inevitable part of our working lives today, and it is vital that we all learn to see it as part of what we do rather than something that is imposed on us. Every one of us should share the responsibility for change and feel empowered to help bring it about successfully.
  • Focus on co-creation of customer value
    Focusing on customer value is a challenge for the entire organization as it is about serving the customer in the most appropriate way at all times. Yet value is not something that an organization simply creates and then passes on to the customer. The close involvement of the customer is essential if we wish to optimize the value that we create.
  • Develop an environment where everybody adds value
    It is vital that everybody in an organization is empowered to make their contributions to the creation of value. Organizational leadership should make it a priority to ensure that everyone is appropriately equipped, trained and enabled to offer optimum value.
  • Challenge the status quo
    It is quite easy for an organization to become complacent with their position in the market, which can often result in it being vulnerable to disruption and new market entrants. It is therefore important that everyone within that organization is encouraged to ask questions (particularly the question “Why?”) and to challenge established ways of working.
  • Tailor your approach
    Different parts of an organization will perform best in a variety of different ways. As stated above, there is no ‘one best way’. The approach must be tailored to the team, the scale, and the nature of the work being undertaken. Rigid adherence to just one method will produce ways of working that are far from agile.

The AgileSHIFT principles are important because they create a reference point whenever something is in doubt and you need to make a decision on a specific course of action. They are essential guides for individual and organizational agility.

Originally posted here 

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