Organisations are always looking ways to improve ways of working, adapt to changes in the market and attain sustainable competitive advantage. All of this is only possible if organisations achieve business agility which means embracing lean practices.
Picture below clearly explains how employees at each level are responding to become agile (ref agilityhealthradar.com). Also this depicts the perception of mainly LOB/division leaders who wanted to embrace agility but being in the middle it becomes very difficult to manoeuvre as they lack support on both sides.
It is really in the hands of top level management to embrace lean practices and ensure they embed lean as one of the core principle for the organisation. Again this does mean it has to always start from top level management ie.. C-Level but can be promoted in a bottom-up approach as well. In general lean practices are already being used by technology teams such as software development and support teams using DevOps, data teams using DataOps etc.. These practices should be promoted to next level so that they see the benefit of embracing lean practices and this should be showcased to the top management as well. Business agility can start at a team level as a trail to see the benefits and can then be expanded to next level and so forth. It is very important for organisations to be able to measure their maturity towards business agility and this can be done by using Business Agility Self-Assessment. This is one of the tool available from Scaled Agile.
The report published by agilityhealthradar.com clearly shows the business agility is correlated to the size of the company. It is very clear from the report that organisations that have more than 10,000 employees are struggling to become completely agile when compared to organisations of size less than 50. The key reason being some of the practices are so engrained into the culture and habits of the executives and employees. Leadership teams should start embracing lean practices to become agile. There are various key steps that need to be performed for businesses to become agile including
- Embrace Lean Practices (SAFe, LeSS etc..)
- Promote Design Thinking mindset
- Encourage Innovation by prototyping more often
- Collaborate often
- OKR’s instead of KPI’s
- Continuous learning culture
- Agile product delivery
Organisations might have already been using some of these practices internally either within the teams or across the teams but this should now go beyond from single or multiple teams to all teams. Leadership teams has to take a stand and start promoting lean practices across using various means including conducting roadshows, creating communities of practice, setup centre of excellence etc.. Mostly importantly this should be measured before the journey and throughout the journey to understand the maturity.