TODAY, COMPANIES HAVE BECOME MUCH MORE DEMANDING: WE ARE WITNESSING SUDDEN CHANGES IN DIRECTION, HABITS AND EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO SPECIFIC PRODUCTS THAT OFTEN BELONG TO HIGHLY TECHNOLOGICAL TARGET MARKETS. CONSEQUENTLY, THOSE OPERATING IN THESE MARKETS MUST ADAPT QUICKLY TO NEW CHALLENGES THAT IMPLY GREAT RESPONSIVENESS AND COMPETITIVENESS VIS-À-VIS OTHER PLAYERS. THESE CHARACTERISTICS ARE ALL THE MORE EFFECTIVE WHEN THE CORPORATE CULTURE IS LEAN, FLEXIBLE AND ABLE TO ABSORB AND SUPPORT CHANGE: MORE AGILE.
It can now be said that innovation, aided by the adoption of the Agile culture, has become an integral part of the common language of many companies and is among the most strategic objectives for generating innovation in an uncertain and unpredictable environment.
The rules of this new way of doing innovation, consistent with its name, are few and clear, but need to be applied with discipline.
Due to this main characteristic, simplicity, Agile has spread rapidly around the world, arriving in Europe and Italy. However, this growth has led to the proliferation of what we might call ‘bad agile‘ practice, i.e. the practical and unconscious application of a new way of doing things, but without having internalised its founding cultural concepts. There is a clear difference between doing Agile, being Agile and ultimately living Agile.
To be able to call oneself Agile, one must first learn to recognise what Agile is and what it isn’t. Starting from internalisation and then applying the right concepts leads to the achievement of tangible and measurable benefits, unlike the reverse process.
Since Agile is a combination of methods, discipline and mindset, it is important for any company that decides to apply it to also recognise the need to update its mindset: no longer planning in detail, but adapting quickly to the circumstances and context; no more impositions from above, but rather the co-creation of value.
In order to innovate and be competitive in an ever-changing market, many companies are starting to rethink their organisational principles to transform a traditional organisation based on endless bureaucracies into a leaner and more responsive one.
The uncertainty of the environment that surrounds us pushes us to learn the use of ever-changing rules, putting us in a position to make decisions about the future even though we do not have all the necessary information: precise and detailed planning without any flexibility can be an obstacle.
The aptitude for change, as a response to the reactivity and entropy of the reference market, has therefore become an obligatory path and no longer a simple choice. Those who do not change lose competitiveness and appeal and risk having products that do not meet business expectations or a business environment that is less attractive to new generations and talent.
Changing is an act of trust in a corporate vision that knows how to move away from self-referential processes, created slowly and over time and which respond precisely to ‘that’ time, while having lost touch with the language of ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’.
It is an act of courage: the most dangerous phrase you can say in a company is ‘we have always done it this way’. Being courageous is having the audacity to explore new, perhaps untrodden paths.
It is an act of knowledge and awareness: we cannot explore new paths without knowing how to tackle unexplored terrain. We must prepare ourselves emotionally and technically for a journey that requires radical discipline.
One of the methodologies created precisely to respond to change is the Agile one and, as anticipated, there is a profound difference between doing Agile, being Agile and, ultimately, living Agile.
Doing agile without first being agile can be compared to handing a bicycle to a child who has not yet learnt to pedal. He is likely to get hurt. The same parallelism can be made with the Agile Mindset. Doing Agile without first understanding, adapting, internalising and experiencing the principles of the Agile concept is equally dangerous.
A number of specific methodologies exist to apply the principles in practice, through which terms such as SCRUM, Sprint, DevOps, Kanban Board (and many others) have become part of the vocabulary of many organisations.
However, although these are useful, they are still mere tools, which in themselves can only make a limited contribution to the spread of agility. If the principles for which they were conceived are not internalised, they will not be able to make an effective contribution to the organisational transformation that companies strive to achieve. As is often the case, without an adequate understanding of the principles and without a broad dissemination of agile behaviour – at individual, team and organisational level – the mere application of methods and tools leads to decidedly unsatisfactory results.
At SCAI Fast we are firmly convinced that in order to meet the challenges of today’s fast-changing market, we need to be able to change before the market does, we need to be reactive. In order to be responsive, we need to adapt (streamline, change, optimise) working methods, processes and tools.
In conclusion, it can be said that the Agile Mindset, if correctly understood, internalised, adopted and adapted in any organisation, by finding fertile ground in a Business & Digital Transformation path, will enable companies to be prepared to enter tomorrow’s world, knowing from today exactly what and how to do to make their customers increasingly satisfied.