Agile practices have a vital part to play in the rapid delivery and continuous maintenance of software-driven products and services.
When software is ubiquitous, agile needs to be likewise. It’s no use having technology that’s responsive to the business if the business can’t respond to technology and the demands coming from its customers.
A recent global survey of almost 1,300 IT and business leaders found companies are keenly aware of the importance of agile. Around three-quarters of executives in the survey, sponsored by CA Technologies, said that it can play a crucial role in delivering the right products and services, accelerating decision-making and speed to market, while also improving the customer experience and staying ahead of the competition.
Most companies report that while there is some use of agile practices throughout the organization, implementation is not broad or deep. However, the report found one group, the Agility Masters, who have been able to leverage agile throughout their company, reporting 60 percent higher revenue and profit growth than the rest of the organizations surveyed.
Agile Adoption Goes beyond IT and Development to Other Organizations in the Business
Most organizations reported that they are embracing agile within the software development area: Eight out of ten organizations have committed to adopting it. More than half (55 percent) are in the process of doing so, while a quarter have already put it into practice.
But deployment of agile is still in pockets in many organizations. The report said that 44 percent of companies report that agile practices are widely used within the development team, and 41 percent say the same thing for IT operations, leaving a significant percentage still using it in pockets, or not at all.
But in the digital economy, it’s no longer enough to simply practice agile development. Businesses need agility throughout the organization, and a truly agile business needs every department—from research and development to sales and marketing, product and operations, and even HR and finance—to adopt an agile mindset.
So it’s encouraging that 78 percent believe their organization is benefiting from (or could benefit from) agile working across the company.
In fact, around four-fifths of survey respondents say they’re using agile in some form in all of the principal business functions:
- R&D (83 percent)
- Production and operations (82 percent)
- Customer service and support (79 percent)
- Marketing and communications (79 percent)
- Sales (78 percent)
- HR, finance, and administration (78 percent)
Significantly, three-quarters say they are embracing agile ways of working among different groups and departments.
Who Are the Agility Masters
However, it’s one thing to say you are “doing agile”; it’s another to ensure it is implemented broadly, deeply, and consistently across the organization. Respondents were asked to rate their usage of agile across these three dimensions on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.
Less than a fifth of firms gave themselves the top rating in achieving the breadth (13 percent), depth (13 percent), or consistency (18 percent) of use needed to unleash its full potential.
The survey scored each organization based on its rating for both agile and DevOps practices, and identified the top 18 percent globally that they call the Agility Masters.
The Agility Masters have a number of traits in common when compared to the mainstream. They are 4.1 times more likely to have the right vision and strategy, and 2.3. times more likely to have a culture to support risk-taking.
From a talent and skills perspective, they are 2.3 times more likely to provide training for continuous skill development and 2.9 times more likely to have teams skilled in the latest tools and trends.
The fact that they’re also achieving 60 percent higher revenue and profit growth than the rest builds a strong case for embedding agile broadly throughout the organization.
Business Agility – The Path Forward
Modern ways of working are crucial to building the kind of IT environment that’s required to compete in the digital age. But an organization can only be as agile as its least flexible unit.
Making the whole business agile will mean bridging the gap between IT and the rest of the firm. IT teams will need to proactively engage with other areas of the business. And in return, those areas will need to bring IT into their initiatives early on. Meanwhile, this culture of enhanced collaboration must be underpinned by meaningful, cross-functional communication at all levels of the company.
The IT and development teams will therefore have an influential role in creating the truly agile business. Their experience will be key to helping businesses embrace the agile way to ensure customer success and stay competitive in this market.
You can download the full report How Agile and DevOps Enable Digital Readiness and Transformation. If your organization is ready to move to a more modern business model with agile, then download How Modern Businesses Scale with Agile and get started.
Source: Harward Business