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Agile Innovation vs. Agile Organization: Building the Right Team for Each

Agile Innovation vs. Agile Organization: Building the Right Team for Each

Agile teams can help improve an organization’s operations as well as its innovation, but they don’t always follow the same blueprint.

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Agile Innovation vs. Agile Organization: Building the Right Team for Each

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Q: On the “taxonomy of teams” concept, does that primarily apply to customer-focused innovation functions, as opposed to operational functions? 

Author Steve Berez and Fabian Delava respond: We do typically refer to taxonomy of teams when discussing how to best organize teams focused on innovation (i.e., changing the business) as opposed to operations (or running the business). The objective of the taxonomy is to make clear the boundaries and interdependencies among teams and to help them deliver maximum value. It’s applicable not only when innovation involves customer experiences, but also when it focuses on capabilities (for example, a retailer’s supply chain) and products (such as building a car chassis).

Any organization must achieve two broad operational objectives: (1) effectively integrate operations and innovation, and (2) ensure operational processes have low variability and high efficiency. Achieving No. 1 typically involves part-time or full-time staff from operations joining Agile innovation teams, teams that would be guided by a taxonomy. These operations experts provide input into the innovation process and help ensure successful implementation of the Agile teams’ operational designs when they are complete. The second objective is typically achieved by deploying Agile practices such as lean production systems within the operations, reducing inventory and wait time, and maximizing throughput. While operations teams typically don’t work exclusively in a Scrum manner, they can find value in some Scrum practices, such as daily meetings and periodic retrospectives, and in the tools that make work progress visible.


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