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Achieve Seamless Agility by Evading These 7 Pitfalls

Agile transformation is most certainly challenging, but if organizations escape the most common pitfalls, they can easily find a way to smooth transformation.

In this article at McKinsey & Company, a group of authors cite agility as the key driving factor of growth and disruption at Silicon Valley.

The Path to Unfailing Agility

As the term agile has expanded its roots in the corporate world, organizations need to prioritize ‘test-and-learn’ methodology over comprehensive planning. Based on their experience across several transformations, the authors suggest these common mistakes to avoid while adopting agility:

  • Lack of Alignment: Often organizations embark on agile transformation without aligning their leaders’ aspiration and value with the same objective. This lack of alignment gives very less time to the teams to think and track the value their efforts would deliver. Hence, the outcome is failure.
  • The Absence of Strategic Priority: Many firms limit agility to pilots within a small portion of the organization, with a bunch of leaders. Even though the pilot is successful, the impact of agility remains restricted to only a bunch of leaders. This limited nature of the pilot prevents the higher authorities to gain far-reaching impact and strategic value of agile transformation.
  • Not Putting Culture First: Sometimes organizations make the biggest mistake of ignoring the agile cultural and change management implications. For a successful transformation, the executive level must change the conventional methods and operate in an agile way.
  • Miss on Investing in Talent: To become agile, organizations must hunt for talented candidates who have worked in agile organizations before. The talented candidate will act as fuel to empower agile transformation.
  • Pace & Strategy: Scaling agility across a broad cross-section requires up-front planning. The organizations must think about resourcing constraints, leadership bandwidth, and the pace to plan and execute the agile transformation. Adjust your plans through learning and implementation.
  • Lack of Stable Backbone: Agile is considered as an approach to manage multiple projects at the same time. Thereby, it is essential to identify the changes required to the core management processes and the supporting tools for the teams to operate agile methodology. The absence of changes to core management processes may make it difficult for the team to execute rapid innovation.
  • Lack of Experimentation: The rigid application of scaled frameworks limits the team’s potential to experiment. Often companies make this mistake of forcing the teams to focus on the right framework. While frameworks can be valuable in providing structure to the agile transformation, it is important not to be rigid in its adoption.

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