Updated: Oct 30, 2021
Agile & Scrum have been buzzwords in most organisations for the last decade or so. Three common reasons for this, desire to make a significant change due to disruption or accelerating growth or just FOMO - "fear of missing out."
Adopting Agile is adopting to a new "way of work" based on its four values.
People over Processes and Tools
Working prototypes over excessive documentation
Customer collaboration over rigid contracts
Responding to change over following the plan
Here are four strong reasons why an organisation should adopt Agile.
Teams are the key focus of the change in Agile. How does agile adoption make them awesome?
Empowers project teams to work creatively and effectively.
It's an opportunity for hidden talents to emerge. At least half the employees who accounted for the most value-added collaborations in organisations hadn't been identified as high potentials. (Ref: HBR)
Retention improves because employees see an improvement in what keeps them motivated at work, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (Ref: Dan Pink)
Customer centricity is of utmost importance today. Organisations are moving away from a "we build it, and they will come" mindset. How does Agile improve this?
Customer feedback is a priority at every stage of delivery
Customer satisfaction improves as products better fit customer needs.
Every organisation needs to re-invent and compete with the Google's of the world. Innovation needs to be part of the DNA.
The agile process makes it easier to experiment.
Incorporating changes from customer and stakeholders is a lot easier. "One of the most powerful benefits of agile is the ability to recognise when things are going off course quickly and to adjust based on learning" (Ref: BCG)
Receptiveness to change improves over time as barriers reduce.
As an organisation gets larger, silos start forming between departments and sometimes within a department, making cross-collaboration difficult.
Cross collaboration between department becomes more permanent & less frictional due to the need for cross-functional teams.
Reduced bureaucracy helps with experimentation. "Only 29% of the bureaucratic respondents report following rapid iteration and experimentation, while 81% of agile respondents say the same." (Ref: Mckinsey)
Although Agile's original intent was for Software Development projects, its values can easily be adopted into non Software projects and even regular operations like Human Resources and Finance.
Here are some quick facts on adoption;
Financial Services account for 14% of Agile Software Projects (Ref: Capterra)
55% of Agile adoption is by non-IT and Software Development teams (Ref: Capterra)
Marketing teams interest in Agile is more vital than ever; 41% adopt it, and 42% plan to adopt it (Ref: AgileSherpas)
Over 68% of organisations state faster product delivery adjusted to changing customer needs as one of their critical drivers for agility (Ref: KPMG)
59% of organisations say that Culture and Performance Management are the key challenges to adoption. (Ref: KPMG)
32% of organisations will be adopting Agile on an enterprise-scale in the next three years (from 2019) (Ref: KPMG)
By the end of the transition to agile, CEO's spend four times the amount of time on strategy (10% -> 40%) while spending less time on operations management (60% -> 25%). (Ref: Harvard Business Review)
Most organisations have attempted "Agile/Scrum." Large-scale and small-scale initiatives focused on training and certification. These initiatives tend to fall short of the expectations because the results are not evident in improving the delivery of the outcome. Being aware of some of the drawbacks will help;
There is no one-size-fits-all: It's not a copy-paste solution. Application varies by team and function; having a one-size-fits-all only leads to failure.
It's not short term: As mentioned, it's a "way of work", which involves changes to many moving parts. Expecting too much from a short length of practice often leads to disappointment.
There is productivity loss in the initial stage: As with learning anything new this big, teams will lose some productivity time adapting to the new norm.
Potential loss of key employees: As much as you can retain key talents, you may also lose them to other organisations as Agile is high in demand.