For many decades now the expectation of continuous acceleration of change delivery has been a main driver of new delivery methodologies, new tools and techniques. The mainstream recognition of the benefits of Agile methods over waterfall and the (partial) adoption of this approach has brought a substantial change in perspective of what good looks like. It is hard to believe the Agile Manifesto was published 20 years ago. But the principles of the Manifesto are as valid as ever and eloquently express what values should be prioritised:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiations
- Responding to change over following a plan
On publication in the year 2000 no-one could foresee how important these values would be two decades down the line. With an abrupt and significant disruption to our normal ways of working, individuals, interactions, collaboration and responding to change have been more important in the last year than ever before. Corporates and societies reacted swiftly and decisively to pivot from a largely office-based interaction and collaboration to an enforced “work from anywhere” capability. This impressive feat has allowed business as normal and basic customer service functions to continue largely uninterrupted throughout the pandemic.
Throughout 2020, however, delivery of change has been exposed to the following challenges:
- Complete focus on keeping core services running without disruption in a changing working environment
- Carefully formed multiyear strategic roadmaps colliding with a sudden and significantly changed business outlook
- Corporate risk appetite revisited as a result of the pandemic, which in many cases resulted in diverting CAPEX funding to address the previously under recognised risks associated with current unprecedented events
- Cancellation of discretionary change initiatives
As a result, 2021 is going to be critically important in delivering those objectives of the 2020 strategic change agenda that organisations were unable to deliver due to the unplanned challenges presented by the pandemic. With the ongoing uncertainty about economic stability and shape/duration of restrictions on movements, the capability of an organisation to respond to change at speed rather than rigidly following a plan is critically important. Most organisations have mechanisms in place in theory to respond to change. Oftentimes these mechanisms need liberation from the corporate layers of friction to achieve the velocity required in the third decade of the 21st century. There is a strong case to apply the same scrutiny to the corporate governance journey for change in a similar way we test, redesign and improve customer product journeys. Map the journey, seek out the resistance points, identify what part of the journey can be automated, how the end-to-end change governance cycles can be reduced, what are the inputs and outputs and how do we make the necessary interaction points as efficient and effective as possible. The pure Agile approach will continue to be impacted by mandatory quality, corporate governance and audit gates in particular in a regulated industry. However, as a change delivery provider we must strive to expose the resistance points, suggest improvements, and position organisations to be able to react to external influences at speed.
If you would like an assessment, advice or an open conversation about increasing your organisation’s ability to respond to change at speed, please contact us.