February was the month selected for the first Business Agility Conference. In the core, authentic short stories and deep dive sessions focusing on organization design, marker disruption, product innovation and agile leadership. I want to share some highlights from both days that have caught my attention as well some interesting insights after eight deep dive sessions.
Introducing Business Agility
Steve Denning has opened up the conference with a very powerful insight: Agile is a mindset. That is it! In addition, Steve has explained about the friction that exist when you try to move forward with your agile team surrounded by a ton of bureaucracy making all transformation efforts being not sustainable. He has shared stories from big tech companies that have embraced agile in the core (mindset) and now these companies are thriving their way focusing on delighting customers. Using the Copernican example to illustrate how clients becomes the center of every decisions, Steve highlighted the importance of the agile culture that enable companies to move from a centric view to client centric view, surrounding their clients looking for ways to inspect and adapt their strategies into tactical plans that are based 100% on client’s needs.
Phil Abernathy has presented the maze and madness! Great insights on how structuring your business for agility. In other words, get rid of the madness and the maze! Phil has provided thoughts and examples on how such business structure looks like. First, understand the size and complexity of your maze: several hierarchical levels cross management systems, dozens of communication layers and complex metric systems. Then, here we are! Lost in the maze, trying to find maze runners that can help in finding the way out. The outputs (not outcomes)? Spending millions on isolated transformation initiatives, new buzz leadership roles and new departments organized in the same way but with fancy names and the madness is back again. Phil proposes a structured way to understand the impacts (unhappy customers, shareholders, and employees), symptoms and then the real root causes (complex organization structure, lack of trust and transparency, leadership talent). Start with big goals such as 40% reduction of time to market, 70 to 500% cycle time improvement, 30% cost reduction then test your hypotheses via pilots, inspect and adapt, course corrections and make it big from the core. Continue reading