The business case for agile in three points.
- To drive speed to market for customers
Agile is not just about pace in isolation but deeply understanding what customers value. Asking ‘what will they reward us for with their advocacy?’ before getting those capabilities to market with pace and quality.
As author and consultant Michael Bolton writes, agile speed is “not necessarily forward motion but the ability to turn quickly and to recover your balance quickly when something comes along to knock you off it”.
“The kind of speed allows agile teams to make quick and graceful course corrections, rather than running frantically in one directly. Frantic plus agile equals fragile.”
- To energise people and creative a collaborative work environment
We know when people operate in an agile environment, empowered and galvanised around a customer mission, they are simply more engaged.
As JEC MD and agile consultant John Eary says, by “empowering their employees to work how, where and when they choose, there is evidence [staff] increase their productivity and provide service improvements by working in a way that suits them best”.
At ANZ, we’ve spent enough time learning through doing over the years in our projects and tech spaces – where agile has long-since been more common – to know that.
A flatter structure is paramount. As Dr Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum says, a manager’s “prime directive shouldn’t be to manage, it should be to help and facilitate, to motivate and guide others around a vision”.
“In other words, what growing tech companies need are leaders, not managers.”
- To being more productive and efficient
At ANZ, by simplifying our own operating environment, eliminating waste, breaking down silos and blowing up bureaucracy we’ve increased the metabolic rate of the organisation - and frankly made it easier to get stuff done.
According to Harvard Business Review, using agile techniques helped machinery group John Deere compress its project cycle speeds in some cases by more than 75 per cent. One particular working prototype was developed in about eight months.
“If everything went perfectly in a traditional process,” a Deere executive told HBR, “it would be a year and a half at best. And it could be as much as two and a half or three years.”