AgileSHIFT Online Learning
The course is part of this learning path
This module looks at the importance of effective working methods across an organization to enable the threat of market disruptors to be effectively challenged and the advantages of AgileSHIFT to be realized. It defines the terms agile, Agile and agility to provide the basis for introducing the concept of enterprise agility. It then investigates the importance of change being everybody’s responsibility and suggests methods through which individuals can be accountable for value creation. Finally, it looks at why AgileSHIFT is important to an organization, and how it can be introduced in different ways across the business to facilitate multimodal working.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- The difference between agile, Agile and agility
- Delivering value – run the organization and change the organization
- The advantages of being agile
- Multimodal working
The target audience for the AgileSHIFT qualification is any employee of an organization that intends to adopt AgileSHIFT. This includes people who will become champions of the new working practice and employees from any part of the business who will contribute to the incremental improvements that will make up the wider change the organization requires.
There are no specific prerequisites to study the AgileSHIFT course or for entry to the examination.
We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think.
Agile and agile and agility
Ever thought about the difference between Agile with a capital ‘A’ and agile with a small ‘a’?
Well, Agile with a capital ‘A’ is about Agile methods of working using a set of tools, techniques and processes to deliver new products, services or outputs – things like Scrum and Kanban. agile with a small ‘a’ on the other hand is more about the mindset an organization has about how they meet changing customer needs through their people, technology and other assets.
An organization might use Agile (capital ‘A’) methods with an agile (small ‘a’) mindset but it can be agile (small ‘a’) without using Agile (capital ‘A’) techniques.
Agility is then about being able to change direction and satisfy customer needs quickly and efficiently. The ability to move and adapt quickly across the entire organization is known as enterprise agility.
Here’s Ady Dike, Principal Agile Learning Consultant at QA giving us her take on what agility means to an organization.
The best metaphor that I can think of for business agility is one that compares a bull in a Spanish bull-fighting ring to a cheetah on an African plain. No one would argue with the sheer strength and brute force of the bull, but dexterity isn’t necessarily its strongest suit. The cheetah on the other hand is nimble, has speed and exceptionally keen eyesight which means it is able to scan horizons and change direction rapidly to catch its prey.
This is very much the situation in today’s business environment where things change extremely rapidly and market conditions are infinitely more complex than they were several decades ago. Agility is very much a business’s ability to interpret what its environment is saying and respond in ways that give it a competitive advantage.
In todays business context, blue-chips who previously had the monopoly are finding that they’re being disrupted by much smaller organizations – across sectors, which are coming to the market with innovative business models and far superior digital capability. Examples of this are Airbnb and Uber which are now worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Therefore organizations today that don’t embrace agile run the very real risk of being disrupted by organizations that do.
Organizations have always used standard frameworks for delivering and managing change, following formal portfolio, programme and project management methods. These were successful but Agile methods have meant that organizations could change their approach.
Some larger organizations copied start-ups by creating ‘innovation hubs’ which used Agile approaches to generate new ideas and ways of working. These innovations would then be scaled up and rolled out across the entire organization.
However, separating innovation from the main part of the business creates two distinct groups in an organization – those who ‘run the organization’ and those who ‘change the organization’. The people who run the organization often have to accept the changes imposed on them and integrate them into the ‘business as usual’ activities. As a result, change can be a major upheaval, take a long time and be seen as negative.
Consciously separating RTO and CTO is now considered an outdated model (unless the industry is very static) and can pose a major risk to organizations who face change at an accelerating pace.
AgileSHIFT is about organizational agility, so CTO can’t be separated from RTO. Although each individual has a distinct role, everybody is responsible for ensuring that value is delivered and should contribute to identifying, planning and implementing change to deliver that value. CTO is an integral part of RTO.
Although large scale change might still be managed through transformational change managers, they should be supported by groups that can identify and deliver smaller, local change. The culture of the organization needs to support this approach by:
Ensuring change is part of everybody’s role;
Encouraging everyone to feel responsible for identifying change opportunities, owning the improvement and optimizing value; and
Ensuring established change management approaches like MSP and Agile enable individual contribution.
However, some RTO functions might have a different primary focus – for example, support teams might value stability to make their jobs easier. They can become blockers to front line teams who need to work in a more agile way to overcome customer challenges and disruptions.
This is known as a ‘silo’ mentality and should be avoided. Silos restrict the effectiveness of communication between teams and limit what can be achieved. For enterprise agility, the whole organization needs to be one entity.
Before you move on, why not try the Enterprise Agility: Benefits and Barriers reflective activity to help you think about enterprise agility and your organization.
You’ll also find some useful case studies and examples in the Making it Real guide.
About the Author
Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting and Project/Programme Management working with public, private and third sector organisations.
He has helped organisations to design and create process and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider utilising a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.
As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.
Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Programme and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers and worked at Director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.