Elements of Successful Response:
Prioritization of Tasks: The ability to restructure an evolving list of organisational requirements, or backlog, allows teams to prioritize and focus on changing customer needs. In an interview with McKinsey, the president of pharmaceutical giant MSD, stated; ‘Even before COVID-19, we were bad at prioritizing, and it’s still a challenge. We should have put more focus on it. Then we would have been in a better position to cope with the shock.’
Transparency: Agile teams practice transparent communication and maintain regular social interactions. Regular ‘pulse-checks’ allow for effective problem solving and progress tracking.
Remote Set-up: Successful teams practiced foundational agile processes before the pandemic, allowing for the seamless continuity of work under lockdown. Agile teams are experienced users of digital remote collaboration tools. The creation of a virtual co-location is an important element in constructing a successful remote set-up. Remote working allows organisations to be virtually co-located, uniting geographically distanced teams in a cohesive virtual space and improving collaboration.
Digital Culture: Successful agile teams adopt a digital culture. 80% of digitally maturing organisations have engaged in initiatives to increase risk-taking, agility, and team collaboration. This compares to just 23% of organisations at earlier stages of digital maturity (Digital Marketing Institute).
Enterprise Level Elements
Empowering Cross Functionality: Leadership in agile organizations seek to empower small teams with independence and resources whilst retaining overall accountability. Empowering cross-functional teams to mobilize and make decisions is an essential element of an agile response.
Structured Governance: Establishing an organisation-wide process of structured governance to revise priorities, assist companies to realign and implement effective response strategies. Accenture note that establishing clear governance structures minimizes the risk of developing ‘structural bloat’ - which causes delayed reactions to changing market conditions.
Digitization: Digital solutions are the key to effective agile responses. Deloitte notes that with the advent of Industry 5.0, digital ways of working (telecommuting, virtual gatherings, agile IT and cyber security) that rely heavily on technology and virtual environment enablement will characterise the working culture in the new normal.