Agile innovation teams are more productive, higher in morale and faster to market. Andrew Noble, a partner with Bain’s Organization practice, discusses three steps leadership teams need to get right in order to reap the full benefits of Agile at scale.
Read the article: Agile at Scale (Harvard Business Review)
Read the transcript below.
ANDREW NOBLE: When Agile teams are implemented successfully, it can make a company faster, more flexible and much more customer-focused. So it's really compelling to think about what if a company launched hundreds, or even thousands, of Agile teams. But just to be clear, Agile at scale at that level is very challenging, and so there are a few things you need to make sure you do right to get the full results of that transformation.
The first is that the company's leadership team needs to act like an Agile team themselves. They need to set clear priorities for themselves and the rest of the organization, and they really need to roll up their sleeves and remove the roadblocks of the Agile parts of their organization.
The second is that the leadership team needs to create a clear taxonomy of teams, with clear accountabilities and ownership—a taxonomy of teams that are aligned against customer experiences, with clear owners of end-to-end customer experiences and parts of the customer experience; a taxonomy of teams around internal business processes; and a taxonomy of teams against technology systems that map and align against those business processes and those customer experiences.
And last, you need to sequence the transition thoughtfully. There are a few examples of companies out there that have done big bang transitions and rolled out Agile all at once. But for most companies, the better path will be a thoughtful, sequenced set of steps in rolling out Agile and making sure you process through all of the organizational enablers to get Agile right.
You need to make sure that the broader organization embraces Agile principles—even those employees that are not on Agile teams themselves. You need to rethink your entire talent management system—how you acquire, measure, develop and reward your employees. And you need to think through your planning and budgeting cycles and make them much faster and more dynamic.
Now, this is all a lot of work. But the rewards of Agile at scale—a faster, more responsive, more customer-focused company—are well worth it.