The hardest part of going agile

Whenever companies undergo a major transformation there are always challenges, Project Management Institute’s Stephen Townsend says.

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bluenotes recently sat down with the Director for Network Programs to discuss agile ways of working, steady states of technology and the importance of change management.

"How do we make sure we're focused on helping our team members continue to build and invest in developing new skills capabilities?” - Townsend

Townsend says there are three key challenges for organisations wanting to move to agile. 

He also says change management is key to ensuring staff stay engaged as they change at different paces.

Townsend explains agile starts with putting the customer at the center of everything – including your internal customers.

“It could be the customer who is coming to your bank for business transactions but it could also be an internal business unit customer who needs the same type of service and focus,” he says. 

Agile hurdles

1. Mindset

Traditional, top-down management styles make it difficult to change how people think about how they work.

“The mindset has to be one that focuses enabling collaborative work… and [coming] together in different ways to focus on the customer and deliver results,” Townsend says.

2. Environment

It’s easy to create an effective, collaborative environment when your whole company is co-located so there is a challenge to develop new ways to help people collaborate and communicate across borders to deliver results.

3. Standing still

While agile may be the hot topic at the moment, there will always be something else coming down the pipeline later.

“How do we make sure we're focused on helping our team members continue to build and invest in developing new skills capabilities, new ways of approaching problems and challenges, and new ways of collaborating across the organisation?” Townsend says.

Townsend says organisations need to be mindful that there is no such thing as steady state any more.

“Technology is always going to be changing and adapting," he says. "[So] we need to help people [because] we don't want anybody dropping off in the process.”

Watch the video above to hear the full conversation.

Alicia Aitken and Greg Szopa are bluenotes contributors

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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