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Sep 16, 2020

Darrell Rigby and Steve Berez on Doing Agile Right: ‘Plan to Adapt or Plan to Fail’

On September 15, AmCham Denmark, in partnership with Bain & Company and the Nordic AmChams, hosted a virtual event on ‘Doing Agile Right’ with co-authors of “Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” and Bain & Company Partners, Darrell Rigby and Steve Berez, who provided nuanced insights into how agility, if done correctly, has the power to transform work.

In today’s corporate world, doing agile is seen as vital to transforming workplaces into nimble and flexible enterprises that can navigate a world of unpredictability, accelerating change and rapidly shifting priorities. Yet, many business leaders are often met with the brutal day-to-day reality of managing a corporation; They find themselves mired in silos, sluggish processes and stalled innovation. Doing agile – and the ability to reap its full benefits – can only be realized if its approached, understood and implemented properly.

The co-authors argue that the key to doing agile is striking the right balance between optimizing and tightly controlling operations, while simultaneously spurring innovation and growth. When done properly, agile can unleash powerful innovation, without impeding the efficiency and reliability that is critical to traditional operations. The aspects are mutually interdependent, and rather than overthrowing the traditions of working, we should bring innovation and operations back into balance. At the core of the co-author’s argument is the notion that as an enterprise you need to plan to adapt, otherwise, you are bound to fail, because 70-90 % of your innovations will fail; first, because they are developing the wrong product or service; second of all, because they are developing something that the organization refuses to adopt.

The goal for any company trying to make the transition – or trying to sustain high agility – is to find the right balance between stability and innovation, growth and risk taking. To adapt, we need to allow for innovation, by incorporating agile principles and practices, which increases variability, in order to drive creativity within an enterprise. Agile is not a goal in itself; it is a means to becoming a high-performance operation that turbocharges innovation, delivers superior financial results, more loyal customers as well as happier, more productive team members. In short, plan to adapt or plan to fail.

Download Rigby and Berez’s presentation here