The Agile Wings

Thursday, August 4, 2011 | comments

Today’s digitized and decentralized global economic environment not only proves “Change is the only constant” even more true than ever, but also the speed of change has been accelerated exponentially, agile imperative is  strategic priority for every progressive, forward-looking organization in the new decade of 21st century.

What is Agile/Agility?
Agility is the ability of an organization to sense opportunity or threat, prioritize its potential responses, and act efficiently and effectively.  More specifically, Agile means to delight customer with the optimized service and speed, to enchant employees with open leadership & communication, and to lead & manage the operation with the agile mindset, methodology and technology.

What are the potential agile wings to lift up the organizations and to fly ahead of competitions?

1.     Agile Business Process Management

Agile BPM vs. Traditional BPM
Traditional BPM is more about improving the efficiency and reducing cost via automating the structured micro-processes, so the problem is relentless emphasis on back-office operational processes that aren’t differentiating, and don’t ultimately create strategic value such as innovation or customer satisfaction., etc.

The Agile BPM focuses on human centric process optimization, process intelligence or process innovation, in pursuit of simplicity-the ultimate of sophistication, and unleash the corporate potential.

Agile BPM is about Effectiveness: which need holistic view of business and cross-silo data and processes, to deliver the outside-in customer perspective, with potential to build up the game-changing business model and processes, even create new revenue stream.

Agile BPM is also about Employee Engagement and Open Communication:
The latest technologies such as Cloud/Social/Mobile/Analytics empower the modern enterprise, like the wind to lift agile wings, employees should no longer be managed via mechanical command-control only management discipline, Agile BPM could help reinvent our working flowing process, to inspire the innovation and communication

2.     Agile BI/Analytics

Tradition BI vs. Agile Analytics
Traditional Business Intelligence is more about operational hindsight or insight via  analyzing the historical operational data/patterns, it helps organization implement certain level of efficiency via visual dashboard or scoreboard. However, more than 70% of BI projects have not achieved the expected goals and results.

The next generation of Agile BI such as Social BI/Cloud BI/Mobile BI., etc, which are web-based, self-service, to deliver the insight or even foresight more dynamically, it helps organization to make the right decision via recognizing both opportunities and threats and responding to the customers' request more promptly; it will also help cultivate the organization-based analytical culture, the persona-based BI user interface will not only  enable executives to make the effective decisions, but also empower the front-line employees to delight customers and entrust partners.

3.     Agile Software Development

Agile vs. Waterfall        
Waterfall is a proven software development approach to fit in more static (assume no dramatic changes within 3 to 5 year period), hierarchical organizational structure (just like the shape of waterfall) with clear company boundary (very limited communication with customers and partners) in 20th century, yesterday’s stabilization may become today’s biggest obstacle such as inertia to change, cultural barriers., etc.

Agile development, although also being there for a while,  at many organization is still the second class citizen compare to Waterfall , or CMMI, ITIL with cross-industry adoption and standard, but Agile enterprise need agile methodology/management, it should be the trend for customer-centric, decentralized working environment, communication, interaction are the key to Agile's success, for the large software projects, the full Agile framework and support system need be well-designed to scale up the team, enforce the standard and enhance the communication.

Timing is everything! Agile enterprises need agile methodology and management, with the right wings such as Social/Cloud/Mobile tools, Agile will emerge as the mainstream management to adapt to the change promptly.

4. Agile Structure, Culture and Mindset

The Agile process, methodology and technology we discussed above may flatten out the organizational structure and breakdown the traditionally hierarchical pyramid and career ladder, so what is the ideal agile shape: Lattice or Cascade?

The agile culture and mindset, such as entrepreneurial attitude, lens of diversity, learning and analytic capability, cross-disciplined thinking, tolerance of ambiguity, need be cultivated and inspired.

As Mike-one of the Agile coach pointed out: “Agile is all about delivering the value, a more agile world view, including things like servant leadership, responsibility, empowerment, emergence, uncertainty, and respect for people.”

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