Michal Sobotkiewicz
Michal SobotkiewiczKANBO PRODUCT OWNER
He leads the KanBo Technology & Innovation strategy team to map, build and inspire a future we want to work in.

Some people are still unclear about what Agile Working Culture is all about. What are its key principles? And what are its many benefits?

We would like to dive a little deeper and answer some of the questions you might have. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most important traits and characteristics that

Benefits of Agile work for large organizations: 

  1. Improves Flexibility  
  2. Growth in Revenue and Profits 
  3. An Open & Collaborative Work Culture 

How to Scale Agile teams in Large Organizations: 

  1. Support from Executive Leadership 
  2. Provide Agile Training and Support 
  3. Modernize Tools and Infrastructure  
  4. Agile Change Agents

Questions and Answers

What is agile work culture?

Agile work culture began from the world of software. From there, it has spread its roots and taken over almost all sectors and functions of the business world. Today, more and more companies are ditching the traditional approaches to opt for the fast-moving and ever-evolving agile work environment.

Agile work culture provides a more flexible, efficient, and result-oriented approach that goes remarkably well with the fast-paced business and technology landscape of today. Industry giants such as Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Proctor & Gamble have successfully integrated Agile into their work cultures and many believe that Agile is here to stay.

What is an agile organizational structure?

Agile organizational structure is a top-level structure that replaces the traditional hierarchy with a network of teams that is scalable and flexible. These networks aim to strike the perfect balance between individual freedom and collective efforts.  The company’s job is to provide a stable ecosystem for the network to thrive in. Here are some basic elements of agile organizational structure:

  • Clear and Flat Structure: Agile structures are clear and flat with highly empowered teams that can be united under a common mission by forming performance groups. The teams can form a network that is flexible and scalable according to changing needs.
  • Clear Roles and Accountability: Employees should be clear about their roles in the team and the organization to remain focused. In an agile environment, roles are separated from the people which gives people the flexibility to change and share roles.
  • An Ecosystem of Meaningful Relationships: Encourage partnerships that lead to a culture of meaningful relationships that unlock the best talent, ideas, and insights. Instead of the traditional siloed approach, Agile can help teams get more hands on to co-develop new solutions for the greater good.
  • Open Physical and Virtual Environments: Design open virtual and physical work environments that people can thrive in. Such an open environment can boost transparency, communication, and collaboration within teams and departments across the organization.

How do you scale an agile team in large organizations?

As more and more organizations adopt the agile way of working, large-scale adoption of agile work has become an important issue that many enterprises are dealing with. This has led to the creation of multiple frameworks such as Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum of Scrums (SoS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), and many more.

Despite which framework your enterprise is using, here are some important factors to consider to make your large-scale agile adoption a success:

1.      Support from Executive Leadership

Scaled agile transformation requires proactive support from the executive leadership of the company. The leadership needs to be highly engaged and encouraging when it comes to innovation and collaboration. Leaders should be ready to face the challenges and be willing to invest in the resources needed to make agile a success.

2.      Provide Agile Training and Support

Organizations need to implement a systematic training program on agile values and processes. This can help address risk and engage employees to commit to the big change. Considerable support needs to be provided as your company transforms to accept agile practices.

3.      Modernize Tools and Infrastructure

The fast-paced agile working culture needs modern tools and infrastructure to support it. The company may have to let go of outdated tools to introduce new processes and tools that help agile thrive.

4.      Agile Change Agents

Every big change needs a catalyst or someone who drives it. For your big agile transformation, you need change agents who work between management and teams to turn your vision into a reality.

What is an agile strategy in large organizations?

As agility makes its way to the top of the organization, there is an increased focus on strategy execution in the context of agile. The agile strategy enables large organizations to gain some stability through effective planning while still having the flexibility provided by agile approaches. here are a few steps to develop an agile strategy:

  1. Evaluate. Go over your current strategic plans, analysis, and other contextual information.
  2. Envision. Think of a vision or destination that can act as the rallying point. This can be the catalyst for change while providing stability.
  3. Build a Roadmap. Create a roadmap with a small selection of goals to drive you forward.
  4. Execute Continuously. Develop strategic plans every month, launch and execute action plans regularly, conduct measurements to monitor progress, and make adjustments accordingly.

What are the benefits of Agile working for large organizations?

The benefits of agile for large organizations include:

1.      Improves Flexibility

Agile provides organizations with a more flexible and efficient way to bring incremental innovation and change. This is right in line with large organizations’ goals to stay on the of the game in a  highly competitive and rapidly changing market. It also enables organizations to meet changing customer needs by adapting to new dynamics.

2.      Growth in Revenue and Profits

Over the years Agile has proved its mantle when it comes to providing bottom-line results. Many international studies highlight that the top agile working businesses rank in the top quartile in the growth of revenue and profits.

3.      An Open & Collaborative Work Culture

Large organizations can benefit from the collaborative work culture promoted by Agile. This culture of transparency, collaboration, and higher responsibility unlock the true potential of employees, empowering them to contribute more towards the company.

What is flexible and agile working?

Both agile working and flexible working have garnered a lot of attention in modern workplaces. While they may sound similar, the two have some major differences that are necessary to understand before implementing either one.

Flexible working is primarily designed to help specific employees balance work and home life. This includes reducing the work times of an employee, allowing them to work from home, or enabling job sharing. While agile and flexible work may reach their aim through similar practices, for example by enabling work from home, the two have entirely different aims. Flexible working focuses on a single employee while agile working focuses on the business as a whole.

How do you implement Agile Working Culture in Large companies using KanBo?

KanBo is a tool that drives the agile work environment at the enterprise-level, unlocking new growth opportunities. While working on KanBo, organizations can make agility a part of their culture instead of just a process.

Illustration showing the conversation of two people

Here are a few simple ways for the effective implementation of agile working culture in your enterprise using KanBo:

1.      Clearly Defining Responsibilities

Clearly defining roles and responsibilities is an essential part of the agile working culture. KanBo turns real-world entities such as tasks, contracts, and issues into KanBo Cards, enabling you to manage, move, and assign responsibilities to them in real-time.

Much like in the real world, you can assign someone as Responsible for a card, effectively making them in charge of it. You can see responsibilities move and shift while having a clear idea of how much work is on everyone’s plate.

2.      Collaboration and Communication

Another important aspect of agile work culture is communication and collaboration at all levels of the organization. KanBo ensures this through the following features:

3.       Inviting People

KanBo gives people the ability to invite team members, individuals from other departments, or external collaborators to any project board or card to open up new avenues of communication and collaboration.

4.       KanBo People Search

KanBo allows you to search for people equipped with specific skillsets to help you overcome challenges through the fruitful exchange of knowledge.

5.       Open Book

KanBo gives you the reigns when it comes to inclusivity and control in the organization. You may choose to limit control by allowing only a few individuals the freedom to create Boards. For a more open and collaborative culture, KanBo’s Open Book settings allow everyone to create Boards and easily invite others to collaborate.

6.      Knowledge Sharing and Discovery

Agile work culture is all about breaking down silos and letting knowledge flow freely within the organization. To battle the problem of duplication of effort in large companies, KanBo allows you to discover similar KanBo boards. KanBo suggests other boards that are similar in nature based on the content analysis, cards, and description of the chosen board. This can be crucial for employees who are facing the same challenges in different parts of the organization. This kind of knowledge sharing and discovery unlocks new avenues for collaboration and growth while minimizing time and effort wasted.

Conclusion

In this rapidly changing world, some organizations are born agile, some become agile and some are forced into it. No matter what kind of organization it is, agility seems to be a driving force towards success in the modern business world. As agility takes over processes and organizational operations, large enterprises who are still avoiding the big move to agile may risk being left behind.