Organizational Agility – What Is It and Why It Will Change Your Job

If you work within a technology company, or a company that uses technology to produce goods or services, you probably have already been exposed to Agile software development, most likely Scrum. You may have been part of a Scrum team already and understand the basics of how to use the various events of Scrum. You may have also served as a Product Owner or a Scrum Master, and likely have achieved a lot of success. All this is positive news for you and your company. However, the game of “Agile” has just begun.Organizational Agility

For years, companies have struggled with applying basic Agile practices and frameworks such as Scrum for a variety of reasons. Cultural resistance or traditional processes can easily get in the way of adapting said practices. However, industry trends show that this is changing, as big companies such as Netflix and Amazon lead the way and offer a level of confidence that Agile DOES work!

So, what’s next? Isn’t it enough that your team can predictably deliver results faster than ever before? The short answer is: “Not anymore”. As organizations begin to master Agile techniques, the bar has now been raised to new heights. This means that what used to be “good enough” is no longer. What can your company do about this?

This is where organizational agility comes into play. Various proponents of Agile methods such as Scaled Agile Inc. and Scrum Inc. have caught onto this demand from the market to evolve from an “Agile engineering organization” to an “Agile business organization”. You may be wondering what the difference is. At its core, Organizational Agility can pivot quickly without significant loss in productivity and efficiency. This is the new frontier; this is the “next big thing” for the world of Agile.

If you don’t believe me, that’s okay. Companies are starting to embrace this, and it may take a few years to reach your organization, but by that time, it may be too late. Becoming an Agile organization means more than practicing Agile or Scrum; it means a cultural and mindset shift. It will need the people to change how they think about work. It will require organizations to see and optimize the whole. Our jobs will likely change due to the shift in our interactions and the way we collaborate. How this will occur will be unique to your organizational context, but change is coming, and it may have already arrived.

As professionals, we will likely benefit from this type of evolution if we can find a way to embrace change. Look for ways we can align ourselves to the business. Learn new skills along the way that will help us fit into the new domain. That is how we will help our organization embrace change and triumph.

A Group of Agile Teams ≠ Organizational Agility

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Eugene Lai
Eugene Lai