The concept of agility has been developed since the 90s in the field of project management, and more particularly in IT projects including development. But we are now talking more and more about an agile company. Can agility really apply to running a business? What exactly does this imply? Let’s try to define business agility together.

What Is Agility?

In the 1990s, as the complexity of IT projects grew, classical project management methods began to show their limits. The tunnel effect induced by traditional management of the full specification type followed by developments considerably increases the risk of slippages, whether in terms of time milestones or the budget. The introduction of agility in project management has made it possible to bring more flexibility into the processes. The use of an agile method makes it possible to adapt the organization of the project and to make it evolve according to the needs. The use of short iterations associated with a continuous improvement process makes it possible to anticipate and react quickly, and thus avoid any overshoot. Agility therefore consists in establishing a relationship of trust within teams while maintaining a permanent questioning of developments and processes, in order to improve them.

Is There An Agile Mindset?

Agility in business requires total trust between the various stakeholders, because it induces full collaboration, in complete transparency. This is the only way to deal with increasingly complex projects or problems. The constant questioning of actions and processes advocated by agility also requires this confidence. Implementing an agile approach in a company means making many changes, on a very regular basis. The advantage of this approach is that it is easier to get many small, regular changes accepted, not each having a big impact, than to make big changes, but more rarely. It is also less risky, the impacts of these changes being less important, there is less chance of slippage.

What Can An Agile Business Look Like?

The agility applied to projects would therefore make it possible to adapt more easily to changes, to better control end-to-end processes, and ultimately, to increase both customer satisfaction and that of an agile development team. The task will naturally be easier for a young company. On the other hand, in a company that has existed for several years, even decades, the ways of reasoning, the management methods and the habits are well anchored. Becoming an agile company will require everyone to abandon these benchmarks set up over the years, to create new ones. Adopting an agile approach will not only consist in implementing agile tools and methods. It is not just a question of technique, because the main changes to be made are human-related.

Becoming an agile company therefore requires a real transformation, because the culture of the company will have to evolve. We will therefore have to change not only his way of working, but especially his way of being, and think totally differently. This is why, before embarking on such an adventure, it is very important to be accompanied by someone who already has this experience of transformation.

Adaptability, flexibility and responsiveness will become the three pillars of the company. The continuous improvement process will be integrated at all levels, be it management or development, so as to always be able to meet specific and complex needs and give the best. The culture of the individual will be abandoned in favor of collaborative culture, thereby promoting the development of potential. Innovation will be encouraged, new opportunities will emerge and it will be easier to meet customer needs in a more personalized way.

If setting up a feature doesn’t save a lot of customers or money, but has a very positive impact on the image of the company, then it should be a top priority. . Providing an operational product, responding positively to a customer’s request is the best way forward. We must not be afraid of change, but on the contrary, welcome it and support it.

Teams will have to learn to adapt and react quickly to customer requests. The organization needs to be there to help its teams embrace change, including rewarding creativity rather than putting rigid processes in place. Supporting change also means questioning yourself regularly. It is necessary to ensure that the expectations of the company and of the employees are in phase, in particular by ensuring that the needs for skills and the possible blocking points are regularly raised and taken into account.

The collaborative way of working must become the norm. Success comes from the fact that everyone works together. Information must be transparent at all levels of the company. We no longer see a manager who makes a decision involving his teams alone in his corner in an agile company. Everyone can have their say and things to contribute before a decision is made. It will also be much more easily accepted in this way, since it is understood by all. On the other hand, the agile company favors direct, face-to-face exchanges to communicate.

There is nothing like an avalanche of emails to drown out information and make it impersonal. If an exchange of information requires the exchange of more than three messages, then a meeting is generally necessary.

Another advantage of collaborative work is the involvement of employees. If they feel supported and confident, they will stay motivated and thus more easily achieve the goals set. Likewise, with transparent communication, everyone keeps in view the course set by the company, the objectives set, and thus becomes more involved in their achievement. Agility in a company therefore allows great flexibility at the level of teams in terms of their organization, and the modification of their organization according to needs. Therefore, teams need autonomy, and must be able to manage themselves. The members of the teams all having the same vision of the company, and a precise vision of the projects in progress, they are the most able to define their own needs. They must therefore be able to request reinforcements if necessary, call on subcontractors when the skills are not available internally, obtain training and obtain the right tools to work. Managers are no longer there to control what is done and lead the teams, but to help them, make things easier for them and maintain cohesion.

Finally, to be truly autonomous, teams must be able to question themselves regularly, in order to identify what is wrong and which must be corrected, which can be improved. Solutions are proposed, then implemented in order to improve the functioning of the whole. For more information on business agility and development of an agile team, check out: