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September 23, 2019

What CEOs need to know about agile

SM
Stephen Morris 2 minute read

What are the biggest obstacles to agility in the enterprise? Why should organisations become more agile? Is agile something you do or something you are? Adaptavist’s CEO Simon Haighton-Williams contributed to a special report in The Times newspaper this week, looking at the subject of enterprise agility.

The Enterprise Agility issue of Raconteur explores the topic of agile business. It asks what leaders need to do to compete. Beyond merely undergoing a digital transformation, Simon argues that change needs to be a constant feature of what enterprises do.

You can download the full Raconteur supplement here.

What makes a business agile?

The article covers the key factors that contribute to a highly agile business, such as innovation, better risk management and collaboration. Indeed, rather than leading in a traditional hierarchical style, CEOs must learn “how to foster ideas, feed them and allow them to grow".

Focusing on constant change

The underlying reason for focusing on perpetual change is that software is now at the heart of almost every business process in almost every organisation. Not only has this made software development core to competitive advantage, it has dramatically reduced barriers to entry in many markets. Speed to market is crucial, but so is customer experience and loyalty.

Smaller deliverables, more frequently

The concept of agile emerged as a way for software developers to deal competing demands. Often they would find that requirements were out-of-date before they had even delivered their software. In Agile, they created an approach that focused on achieving smaller-scale deliverables, much more frequently. Now this approach is being adopted right across the organisation, driving changes in culture, operations and infrastructure.

Not one-size-fits-all

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach,” warns Haighton-Williams. “It’s not about slavishly following some sort of rule book.” Organisations should focus on measuring the smaller metrics that feed into profitability. Partly because the rate of change can be so fast that the bottom line may not give a clear picture of future trajectory.

Agility is fast becoming the approach of successful enterprises. Those who do it well can respond quickly to market changes, fix issues before they become detrimental to the bottom line, and create highly relevant products and services.

You can download the full Raconteur supplement here.