by Gadi Lemberg, VP, Customer Experience and Professional Services, Clarizen
We live in uncertain times for businesses across the globe: Brexit, the threat of international trade wars, ongoing digital transformation, the introduction of disruptive technologies, the threat of climate change and the potential for a future economic downturn all mean that organisations need to be prepared to adapt on the fly to deal with changes that put their success at risk.
Companies that are “business agile” are able to rapidly adjust tactics, resourcing, personnel, management, asset deployment, capital investment, or whatever element needs to be corrected to keep projects and all operations on track when business conditions shift dramatically. Building in strong flexibility ensures that teams can stay on course to achieve strategic goals and overall business objectives.
Indeed, ensuring enterprises have the strategy and infrastructure in place to provide the business agility they need has become business critical. When it comes to project management specifically, PMOs and PMs are increasingly having to deal with change management projects that need a high degree of visibility, cooperation and adaptability.
Increasingly, however, we are seeing people at every level and function in the business dealing with change management initiatives that require greater fluidity and collaboration. It has become crucial for people across an enterprise to be able to quickly understand changes in their markets and have the tools to adapt rapidly – from rank-and-file employees to team leaders and project managers, to senior management and directors, up to C-suite executives. And there are clear ways to make this level of business agility a reality.
The evolution of business agility
Being “agile” may have started as a specific approach to project management, but it has evolved into a strategy that permeates entire organisations. Being “business agile” encompasses the ability to quickly understand how a marketplace and the needs of its customers can change and be able to respond swiftly. It ensures organisations can move faster than ever in terms of their portfolios, programmes, projects and deliveries.
Enterprises that embrace business agility often find that their work and decision-making processes become quicker and more efficient, enabling innovation and out-of-the-cubicle thinking that may not otherwise have been possible.
Research indicates, however, that many organisations still have far to go when it comes to being truly agile. The Business Agility Institute commissioned its first global survey last year to gauge how companies rate their own performance and how far along they believe they are in integrating business agile principles into their operations: 69 per cent said they need to be more agile. The survey also showed that over 60 per cent said their market was being disrupted or was unpredictable.
The figures are daunting, but there are straightforward steps organisations can take to develop the business agility they need. Employing bold strategies, new ways of working and business tools that offer greater flexibility enable enterprises to develop the agility to meet future challenges.
Making a whole team business agile
Developing agility across PM teams and other areas calls for collaboration, information sharing and project visibility. It also requires an all-in approach with employee tools that ensure each person is able to communicate in the context of team and organisation-wide objectives, understand where and when adjustments are needed, and see what others are working on and how things are progressing.
Ultimately, business agility depends on teams across organisations being able to make adjustments together. There are three key components that enable this:
• Alignment: breaking down silos within an organisation is vital in overcoming poor workplace collaboration, missed opportunities, misaligned goals, duplicated work processes and incompatible systems. Establish and communicate one unified vision. Managers should use this vision as a reference point for improving collaboration within and between their teams, aligning team goals with organisational objectives.
• Speed: being able to move fast to meet customer or market changes is more critical than ever. Companies that embrace business agility and recognise the need to constantly evolve – implanting the impetus to change with the marketplace in their corporate DNA – thrive and embrace opportunities when market dynamics shift. Putting in place technologies that ensure employees are able to quickly recognise changes in their industry, understand how the business needs to react and have the flexibility to initiate the necessary adjustments creates a faster, more effective decision process.
• Effectiveness: businesses need technologies that enable more effective communication and collaboration across teams, business units and geographies. It is vital they put in place methods and tools that ensure communications between spread-out teams and individuals are simple and direct. Having a technology platform that lets employees coordinate work, monitor resourcing, manage workf low and keep up to date on the status of projects – regardless of where they are – is key to true business agility.
Tools that drive the agile business
Tools such as Clarizen One, our core project management and workplace collaboration solution, provide a solid foundation for a connected and flexible approach to projects and other functions within the business. For many enterprises, however, achieving true business agility may require additional solutions that improve visibility and allow for more rapid input at every level of the organisation.
Executives and managers today need clear line-of-sight between objectives and activities to drive employee engagement and foster collaboration. Clarizen Eagle is a tool designed to do just that, creating a unique virtual space for each initiative where stakeholders collaborate and all relevant goals, KPIs, decisions, action items, discussions and meeting notes are captured in real time.
Additionally, in the front lines of the enterprise, employees may require a streamlined task-management solution that enables them to work in a more agile manner, yet still meet deadlines and achieve goals. In Clarizen Go, teams can do that by accessing workspaces where they create multiple boards, each with its own workflow and customised milestones.
Over the next decade, businesses will see major changes in their markets, their competitive landscape and their customers’ expectations. To be ready to meet these growing challenges, they need to ensure they are devising and implementing strategies and using tools that provide the business agility needed to meet these and other, unforeseen hurdles.
Visit clarizen.com to safeguard your organisation in today’s challenging and complex market