Some established corporates have been scaling up agile ways of working by deploying hundreds of autonomous squads. The tantalising questions are how strategy should provide ‘unity of effort’ when agile is deployed at scale, how their operations, rather than just some of their processes, could become agile – and whether there is such a thing as ‘Agile Strategy’.
We believe that there could be. We do not have all the answers, which is why we are inviting you to join us in developing them. But we do have an idea of what a possible answer could look like.
‘Agile’ ways of working have gained a lot of traction both in and beyond their origin in software development.
The agile approach is based on semi-autonomous, multi-functional teams developing new products in small value increments known as ‘sprints’, testing them with users, reviewing them in ‘scrums’ and then going through the process again. It has a track record of improving speed and quality and allows rapid changes in direction. Hence its name.
A strategy is about creating coherent long-term goals and organizing work to achieve them. It comprises thinking (mental agility) and acting (physical agility). Mental agility is about disrupting and adapting existing ways of thinking in response to a changing environment. Physical agility is about moving quickly and flexibly.
Agile direction is about formulating strategic direction in a way that creates both focus and flexibility. Agile execution is about creating an operating model which can translate that thinking into focused flexible action and teams ready, willing, and able to adapt as the situation changes. This is how we represent it: