Closing the gap: making business agility more than a want

Most companies want the benefits of business agility, but face similar challenges

From startups to established companies, it’s a common problem: how can a business stay ahead despite constantly changing environments and increasing complexities? For many, the answer comes in Business Agility—a company’s way to sense and respond to change proactively and with confidence to deliver business value, as a matter of everyday business.

In CA’s State of Business Agility report 75% of respondents reported wanting to move towards business agility, yet only 12% of organizations are on the path to actually achieving business agility—a high disparity between want and action.

Moving from goals of business agility to reality

Implementing agile business processes isn’t easy. The widespread organizational change can make teams feel unprepared and the cultural transformation necessary seems unattainable. This is natural; a true agile transformation pushes the boundaries of existing organizational hierarchies. From our experience, we’ve noticed some recurring challenges.

  1. Taking a leap: When asking leaders why they hesitate to adopt agile business practices and make large changes in their organization, most feel the burden of responsibility to protect their organization’s market standing and financial performance. It is only when they recognize the threat of disruption, that they become more likely to embrace business agility and the significant change it will entail. It is equally important to appeal to the pragmatists who want to see proven results with this new way of thinking. There are already results to point to. 70% of respondents in CA’s State of Business Agility report know that agile organizations respond quickly to dynamic business conditions and CA has already helped facilitate transformations with proven results.
  2. What really is business agility: business agility is new and with that comes confusion. It’s not simply having agile software delivery, or agile trained management. These are all steps to a wider goal. A truly agile business has one heartbeat. It senses and responds to market disruption as a matter of everyday business. It’s a new way of operating for these executives and integrating the business operations and software sides of the house to pivot together.
  3. The right advisors: I’ve heard my share of complaints about agile coaches communicating with executives. However, the Agile consulting industry is continuing to evolve. As Agile becomes more mainstream it’s important to utilize consultants that have experience in both Agile and business and leadership practices.

 

These challenges can stop some organizations from implementing agile throughout their teams. However, doing so isn’t realizing the true benefits. Resiliency and adaptability need to be part of every team and functional silos must disappear to minimize dependencies, increase collaboration, and respond to environmental changes efficiently.

Overcoming these challenges can make you an early adopter of crucial practices—giving you an opportunity to help shape the space and, most importantly, enable your organization to pivot on a dime. It’s no longer enough to simply implement agile in software development. Agility is necessary throughout the entire organization. Implementing agile business practices will enable the right people to access the right information at the right time.

To hear more of about the state of business agility, common challenges in creating an agile business, and practical tips to overcome them come see my session at Agile 2018!


Deema Dajani
Deema’s agile journey started 15 years ago at a fast-growth startup that turned out to…

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