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Agile means a lot of things to a lot of people, so how would you define an agile company today?

Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

No chairs.
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
Comment
Do you mean "no PERSONAL chairs"? - like hot-desk?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 2 months ago
I was thinking back to this time last year where a Big Four had a daily stand-up with a Fortune 500 with twenty-four attendees every morning. Where the Fortune 500 is paying $175/hr for a fresh-out-of-college rugrat from the Big Four consultancy to scribe the standup.

Weekly burn rate was $250k, they've been in there two years and generated hundreds of presos. I prognosticated Q2 2017 before I left as the time when the F500 kicked the consultancy to the curb with nothing to show for it. ;)
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 2 months ago
Couldn't help answering that because this morning I bumped into this old articl again:

http://anti-agile.blogspot.nl/2010/06/day-1-why-i-hate-agile-methodologies.html

"Because we all know that highly educated professionals turn into five-year-olds with the attention span of a carrot when permitted to assume a seated position." always makes me smile
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 2 months ago
Ahhh... good times.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 2 months ago
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Walter Bril Accepted Answer

Agile is everything that empowers
[i]organizational ability[/i]
. Not so much as in "company." Or in plain English: We still use mental models of organizations in the form of companies with certain rule sets and (reporting) structure. Let go of that, define (human) capabilities + means as the smalles part which execute (partly) process.


 
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Iterative, incremental, visible, transparent. We're building to desired functionality, not a budget or date, and we throw it over the fence when the product owner says "that has enough functional business value for me to pull the trigger."
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  3. # 3

The majority of changes are done in the following way:


Business to IT: We would like you implement this new improvement, please.


IT to business: We have anticipated it and it is already implemented and deployed but not activated yet. Please use this control to activate/deactivate it in accordance with your needs.


Thanks,


AS
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  3. # 4

Able to anticipate and roll with the punches.


From boxing "from the literal meaning
[i]roll with the punches[/i]
(step back or to one side as you are being hit), so that you do not receive the full force of the attack"
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  3. # 5
David Chassels Accepted Answer

Related to IT support for business...... Disillusioned, frustrated but hopeful it must surely get better....?.
Comment
In the area of IT, it seems that many of the references to "agile" have to do with software development and I suppose that includes "customization".

Agile has no value if the system or application architecture is not right.

For me "architecture" means having in place a roadmap.

From Lewis Carroll, (1865),

Alice: 'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
Cat: "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to"
Alice: "I don't much care where"
Cat: "Then it doesn't matter which way you go"
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 2 months ago
I've seen a lot of bad Agile in the past two decades, mostly Scrum, but whether it's Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban or SAFe I've seen it done well by one org - business and IT - once. Most everyone, everywhere else were mostly about lip service saying they were Agile, but actually hewing to their corporate bureaucracy and predefined projects' budgets.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 2 months ago
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  3. # 6
George Chast Accepted Answer

I see what you did there. You put a business question in a assumed-technical forum...


Market changes come from two things, technology changes and preference changes. Even competitive & entrant forces fit into those categories.


So, a company needs to see things as early as possible. Have the reserves to plan & prepare to change themselves soon enough and the freedom and ability to execute in time on those changes. it may be adopting new technology. It may be changing to the market preferences.


Two examples are Cloud and Mobile. Cloud technology is enabling fast changes. Mobile is a preference change for customers and employees.


Bringing it back to a process perspective, it may not be about changing the process flow at all.


Today, it is more about exposing processes to Mobile users & through APIs! Perhaps, using partner services instead of internal ones
[i] in the process?[/i]

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Amit Kothari Accepted Answer

I would define it as a company that can swap out systems and apps whenever they please to enable higher productivity for everyone. In addition, due to this hot swapping, they are able to change and respond to market needs and plug into new needs as needed - without needing a consultant or IT army.


Another very important aspect of an agile company is that their tools are incredibly simple for everyone to understand, use and get value out of.


As a next-generation company, I would define an agile company as digital-native from day 1. Everything would work on phones (to work on the move), in the cloud (to scale) and maintenance-free (eliminating back-office costs).


We wrote a post about this (in references) on this post - see the McKinsey post too.






References
  1. http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/grow-fast-or-die-slow
  2. https://tallyfy.com/cloud-process-management/
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John Reynolds Accepted Answer

An agile company is one that can rapidly respond to threats and rapidly capitalize on new opportunities...


The agility of a company's systems play a huge role in making business agility possible, so there's likely a strong correlation between the architecture of their systems, and their processes for updating those systems, and their true business agility.


 
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

To me, an agile company is the one that takes any decisions
[u][quote][b]fast[/b]
[/u][/quote].


For that to happen, its decision support assets (rules, processes, data) must be:


1/ explicitly architected;


2/ instantly available;


3/ immediately and transparently editable.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
Great emphasis on decisioning; otherwise, why do managers exist? And sensibly you have included as an assumption in-place decision support assets. I suggest though that successful agility includes additional management activities as explicit parts of an agile company programme, especially identity maintenance, corporate strategy and project alternative generation. Per my comments below we want to avoid opportunism if at all possible.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
Thanks, Walter, that's why I wrote "any decisions". Genuine agility is exercised at all levels.
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 months ago
Sure, and it's important to keep in mind that there are two levels of decision-making in corporations i.e.strategic and operational

See " Good Decision-Making - The Basics and Beyond (2014-09-12)
http://wp.me/pzzpB-Ay
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 2 months ago
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Good, and worthwhile, I suspect, to point out that decision-making is the process of converting information into action (Russell Ackoff?); that knowledge is a precursor to information and, from Donald Rumsfeld, that there are four categories of information (i.e. known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns and unknown unknowns).


Rumsfeld actually only spoke about three of these, I recall reading an article by the person who added the 4th.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_
[b]known[/b]
_
[b]knowns[/b]

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Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

"The only constant are quotes that say that change is the only constant"

 

Agility is about change.

 

Agility is about being able to change when needed.

 

And I am not sure the concept of a company is a concept build for change.

 

A company. You could define that as a collection of processes that are made out of workflows, people, data, supplies, supporting gadgets, a style of managing, etc.

 

Companies are most of the times formed to create some structure to be able to deliver some sustainable results. Resources are brought together in a company to organize things. And organizing things most of the times leads to standards, bureaucrazy and variationfobia; all with the desire to create stability.

 

So, when you organize things, I am wondering if you really want change. I'm doubting that. I think you want something to stay the way it is. In that way the things you organized, keep their value. You want stability, not change.

 

If I knew for sure a million people will buy 10 boxes of apples a day at me for the next 50 years, I would invest heavily in creating structure and efficient processes to grow and deliver those apples. That allows me to keep my customers happy and become more profitable over time.

 

In a predictable world, we don't need agility.

 

But shit happens. On different levels and caused by yourself or by the outside world.

 

Assume people still want the apples, but a big hail storm ruined a part of of my crop. How agile am I to deliver to my customers? Can I buy apples somewhere else? Am I prepared for these changes and kept a big part of last year's harvest in the freezer? In that way my processes are flexible to act on change. But it's still the same process result. (I would call this flexibility). Like I wrote [url="http://procesje.blogspot.nl/2016/06/our-processes-are-very-flexiblein-doing.html"]here[/url]

 

Agility can also means you initiate yourself to do something new (and develop new processes for that). Although everyone might still like apples, I can try to change that behaviour because I see more and more competition on the Apple market.

 

I might have done some investigation and found out that wallnuts are much healthier and hipster than apples. So I can set up a small production line for wallnuts and test. If people like it, I might be the Apple market disruptor. If people don't like it; I still got my apples.

 

This level of agility is about being able to try out new things and try to do new things.

 

But not everyone will be the Uber or Netflix of Applestan, so change might also come by surprise.

 

Maybe somewhere on the world someone started a #applesareevil campaign and it picks up fast. Everyone is canceling it's orders and the apple market is dead within weeks. How fast can I act?

 

Can I turn my expertise into growing other food? Or can I sell the wood of the trees as timber for Rolls royce dashboards and start a campsite on the empty orchards?

 

It's all about change. Agility is how you cope with it. And I think the nature of an organization is not change. But the better you are in dealing with it, the more agile you might be labeled by the Agility Accreditation Authority.

 

Happy Agilizing!

 
Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
Comment
+ "Agility is about being able to change with the needed pace."

Agree that different companies may need different levels of agility.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 2 months ago
Agree, Alexander
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 2 months ago
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 12
John Morris Accepted Answer

What is an "agile company"? A few possible answers:


1)
[b]A CHARACTERISTIC OF GOOD ENTERPRISE GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT:[/b]
Agile defines the capability of adapting effectively to change. This might be especially important now that rates of change are higher now (although this perception is exaggerated). (Consider "adaptation" as goal and "agile" as method.)


2)
[b]AN UNTHINKING GOAL OF MANAGEMENT: [/b]
The "idea of agile" is also a construct in current managerial and technical discourse, to the point of "fetishization".


3)
[b]A POSSIBLE ROAD TO OBLIVION:[/b]
Agility is too often the
[u]mask of opportunism[/u]
. Organizational evolution should be
[u]a guided journey[/u]
and a successful journey is built on
[u]confidence in enterprise identity[/u]
. Lacking a foundation in identity though, change becomes opportunism. And
[u]opportunism, in turn, becomes a random walk[/u]
.


Corporate strategy as random walk is highly correlated to evolutionary disaster.


"We need to adapt" is a common justification for a programme of agility.


And adaptability is good! But for whom?


Certainly

[u]adaptability describes successful populations[/u]
of rapidly evolving actors (think insect swarms). What corporate leaders in love with adaptability forget however is that adaptation, while great for the population, is often
[u]bad for individuals[/u]
.
[u]Individual actors get selected out if random changes prove unsuitable[/u]
. You might win. Or you might lose. The death rate of Fortune 1000 companies may be in part explained by this.


Opportunism doesn't work well for individual actors. And if agile is only opportunism in disguise,

[u]an ideology of change that ignores domain knowledge and identity[/u]
, agile is therefore no blessing.


Here's a quote I've shared previously:


[url="http://www.strategy-business.com/article/cs00008"]You Can’t Build a Winning Strategy If You Don’t Know Who You Are[/url]


by [url="http://www.strategy-business.com/author?author=Ken+Favaro"]Ken Favaro[/url] with Paul Leinwand and Nadia Kubis


[b]strategy+business[/b]
, June 10, 2013


“In fact, the questions of where to grow, how to acquire, and what should be in the portfolio are mere tactics in the context of more existential questions: Who are we? What are we better at than any other company? How do we create value for our customers and shareholdersIf you don’t start here, your growth, M&A, and portfolio decisions will add up to

[u]nothing more than a random walk through the countryside[/u]
. Sooner or later you’ll lose your identity, and then your way. In other words, you can’t build a winning strategy if you don’t know who you are.”
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Stuart Chandler Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Simple and said in before posts- An agile company can shift quickly like a chameleon and make money. This topic is a year long course if not a long term businessin its self, and I would argue that the whole agile topic needs to morph to a company topic not a technology design/development discussion. The des/dev can't be affective unless the whole culture of the organization and its business capability is agile. Sure, people can develop projects in agile fashion successfully but the real success is bigger than that. Organizations have to shift quickly today andmorph and technology is only one component. How about change management? talk about something that is absolutely struggling as a discipline and another piece of the bigger puzzle......a whole other can of worms.............
Comment
YES!
  1. Amit Kothari
  2. 2 months ago
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Guest Accepted Answer

Quick moving, adaptable and strong firm fit for fast reaction to unforeseen difficulties, occasions, and openings. Based on strategies and procedures that encourage speed and change, it means to accomplish persistent upper hand in serving its clients. Spry ventures utilize diffused power and level hierarchical structure to accelerate data streams among various offices, and grow close, trust-based associations with their clients and providers.
References
  1. https://www.docup.in/
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