5 Bold Moves

What it takes to work with agility

There’s a lot of confusion about what ‘agility’ really is, and what it takes to do it right. Since the agile manifesto was launched, it’s built cult-like status amongst digital evangelists and whole industries have been created around maintaining its mystique.

But there is a simpler, more human, and much more practical way of thinking about what it means and what it takes to really embrace its potential. An approach that changes cultures, and ensures your solutions will be much more effective, impactful and will create a happier, inspired, and connected workforce.

And we know its magic lies in the rub between mindset and methodology. We don’t pretend to have invented these principles, but we are convinced they are the cornerstones of a more responsive, customer-centric, impact-obsessed culture.

So, here are our “5 Bold Moves”. A set of practical things you can do to create more value faster in your organisation.

1. Create ‘good trouble’

Sometimes we need to break rules to make the world better. If we really want to unleash the power of people in our organisations, we’re going to have to challenge the status quo — not to be needlessly disruptive, but with good intent — driving our new plan in order to see our vision realised.

What does that mean for me?

Being brave and challenging ‘the way things get done around here’. Devising your own bold plan to get things done differently — and being bullish about seeing it through to completion.

2. Move from big programmes to small, nimble teams

As humans we place importance on scale. The big boss of the big team with the big budget often gets first seat at the table. But adding more people to a team makes communication harder, and ultimately slows you down. A small, nimble, connected and empowered team can move fast to a valuable solution without wasting time aligning.

What does that mean for me?

Set up a small team with a clear goal, and get out of their way. Empower them to make decisions as they go.

3. Move from decision-making by seniority to by customer needs

Our leaders are too often dictating what solutions get made based on secondary data and business need, not real customer insight. When a senior person dictates a solution, we jump to implementation and fail to stop and check whether it actually meets a customer need. And that’s why solutions fail. Product teams should be live insight machines, constantly talking to real humans, not just relying on reports and data to uncover deep unmet needs and creating new solutions to meet them.

What does that mean for me?

Ask, where’s the customer evidence? Make sure your teams are rich with real life customer stories, and it becomes a regular heartbeat activity, not just a one off at the start of the project.

4. Stop launching ideas and start experimenting with them

Our leaders are too often dictating what solutions get made based on secondary data and business need, not real customer insight. When a senior person dictates a solution, we jump to implementation and fail to stop and check whether it actually meets a customer need. And that’s why solutions fail. Product teams should be live insight machines, constantly talking to real humans, not just relying on reports and data to uncover deep unmet needs and creating new solutions to meet them.

What does that mean for me?

See above!

5. Rebalance ‘managing’ and ‘making

Managing is the essential work of alignment and communication we have to do to keep things moving in organisations. Making is the work that creates value — experimenting, learning, creating solutions. The structure of our organisations means we spend most of our time managing and are often doing the making after hours. We need to rebalance this — being disciplined about our time, and reorganising our diaries so the act of Making is given enough space and time for our solutions to gain traction.

What does that mean for me?

Defend your team’s time to make by setting up a repeatable rhythm to streamline the managing whilst clearing space for the team to make. Managing meetings should share progress, not plans.

It’s tempting for leaders operating in hierarchical environments to default to tightening control, especially in times of ambiguity. But as counterintuitive as it sounds, leaders should continually do the exact opposite if they’re to unleash the power of their workforce. They need to give people support, build the right playground and provide just enough direction.

Making such a drastic change demands genuine commitment and buy-in from top to bottom. It always feels messy at first — but be brave, be smart, and be the visionary that stays the course — you’ll never look back

If you want your organisation to become more agile and create more value, then please get in touch with &us. We’d love to show you our moves.