What is an agile organisation?
Apparently everything that a good organisation should be.....
- self-organizing teams
- Customer focussed
- work is done in an iterative fashion with continuous interaction with users almost in real time.
- teams work on a common cadence, many teams can work together on large complex challenges in a coordinated fashion.
- Working smarter not harder
- Continuous collaboration among internal silos
- Ability to take opportunities in market place as they emerge
- What it's not - Unwieldy clunky slow unfriendly, set in ways, focussed on internal processes
There are 3 Laws of Agile - writes Steve Denning from Forbes -
1. The law of the small team - if you can't feed them on a pizza and a few beers on a Friday night it's too big! Characteristics of Trust, face to face , performance, nimble
2. The law of the customer
3. The law of the network - this is the lynchpin of agile - the organisation is fluid and transparent network of players that are collaborating towards a common goal of delighting customers. The organization is an organic living network of high-performance teams.
The organization operates with an interactive communication dynamic, both horizontally and vertically, writes Denning. Anyone can talk to anyone. Ideas can come from anywhere, including customers. As a network, the organization becomes a growing, learning, adapting living organism that is in constant flux to exploit new opportunities and add new value for customers.
He cites Spotify and Barclays as proponents of agile
- Spotify to provide personalized music playlists to over a hundred million users every week,
- Barclays to start becoming an Agile bank that can provide easy, quick, convenient, personalized banking at scale,
- After listening to Pip Marlow yesterday , it has enabled Microsoft to still be relevant in a rapidly changing world .
So - can Agile be embraced in a bureaucracy ?
It is not about “doing Agile.” It’s about “being Agile.”
It's about having an Agile mindset - When people in the organization had the right mindset, it hardly mattered what tools, processes and practices they were using, the Agile mindset made things come out right.
Conversely, if they didn’t have an Agile mindset, it didn’t matter if they were implementing every tool and process and practice exactly according to the book, no benefits flowed. Agile is a mindset.
So the big question is..... Can a beaurocracy have an agile mindset ?