Agile Operating Model & Organisation

Author: Neil Kelley


Companies continually revisit their Operational design and constantly ask “'how might we best organise and manage our resources to effectively operate our business, deliver services as intended, and meet our goals?” Over the years many different models have been deployed such as Multi-Supplier Management, but now, something that actually started in IT with Software Development is being considered as an alternative even for non-IT business areas – Agile.


The ability to respond to changing needs of the marketplace will be key to future success for many companies and by its nature, implies that they must make material changes to the way they operate. For example, in Sales, the tools, process and tactics that got the job done just ten years ago won’t enable selling or closing deals today. Customers are looking for solutions to problems and therefore you need to know your customer’s requirements and provide value and solutions based on giving customers what they need, when and how they need it. The world is now rightly obsessed with Digital and what this means for their business.


The dramatic changes in the use of Technology at Digital speed means that company’s priorities are changing, and speed and quality must be tackled differently from today. Digital delivery means that most `digital` organisations have abandoned the traditional waterfall engineering methodology, with its emphasis on formal specifications and rigid stage reviews. Instead, they adopt the agile methodology, in which development work takes place iteratively in short sprints, with the emphasis on early and continuous real-world testing and refinement.


But many haven’t just stopped there by just treating it as a DevOps opportunity only, and we can now see this agile approach being adopted by other business areas including Sales & Marketing, Contact Centres, etc. and across all business sectors. So, whilst technology plays an important role in improving business capabilities, we need to look at the ways our people work - namely, encouraging employees to work in more agile ways. Agile methods can enable companies to reconfigure their strategy, resources, and organizations quickly, so they can succeed in a rapidly changing environment.


The term “Agile” is meant to represent a business best practice in the lean business operating principles. The overall concept of agile is to drive a behavioural change in how we solution and set the table for enabling a digital core for the client. Overall it is not good enough to simply follow and adhere to the concepts of agile, it is a complete paradigm shift where our thoughts and actions should demonstrate the shift in culture to agility and its concepts to a solution and deliver a leaner business model. Agile is fundamentally about accelerating delivery through removing process barriers, empowering individuals, producing deliverables rapidly, collaborating closely with clients, and responding to (not resisting) change.


Shifting from a traditional to an agile management process is not an easy task, it takes careful planning and the success relies on the willingness of both executives and team members to adapt to a new way of thinking and doing things. And just like all major organisational changes, the first few iterations or `sprints` are going to be painful. By empowering an `Agile team`, each individual team member becomes accountable and takes responsibility and ownership over the achievement of the sprint goal. Because they all took part in setting the goals and planning ways to make it happen, the successful achievement of the goal becomes a personal quest that can boost individual morale and encourage productivity.


So, you may be planning to reinvent yourselves by establishing an agile approach that will deliver the above and highlight accountability and transparency in your organisation. In this highly disruptive world, you may want to be known for your ability to execute at speed, help customers determine clear, actionable paths by bringing them new thinking on business and technology through competitive agility. It is the right direction to pursue and many Global Consulting companies are recommending their clients consider this. For example, McKinseys have produced many recent papers on the Agile Organisation and its importance in the Digital world.


However, transformation to this new Agile way of working isn’t easy and reading whitepapers and watching videos based on software development are not going to help you get there by themselves. You need to consider the key areas very carefully including whether you have anyone internal to your organization now who has the necessary experience with Agile. You need people who have been there and help to transform companies to an agile way of working and understand all aspects of the challenges involved from obtaining executive support, to the HR impacts, to how the culture and mindset of the organisation need to change.


Change and transformation is always difficult, and NWT understands that. We have people who have helped companies, both IT and non-IT, to move to an Agile approach with amazing results. We get it and we can help. Known for our ability to execute at speed, we help clients determine clear, actionable paths by helping them take this important change into a new way of working utilising new thinking on business and technology.


Remember, you can deliver quality products for your customers faster using an Agile approach; it’s been proven time and again. However, you can’t get there without the right guidance and expertise. Let NWT advise you on where you are today, help you get a view on where you want to go and then find you the right people to make it happen.

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