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Topics: Agile
Organizational Agility

This is in continuation with the PMI Xchange discussion at the PMI Global Congress 2015, I had with a group of very bright attendees.. Organization Agility
In this discussion we talked about internal and external factors that can affect organizational Agility. Internal factors were governance, HR process, quality and delivery processes.
Any thought son the external factors that can affect organizational agility and what actions that we as project and program managers needs to take to ensure that the organization is truely Agile
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There is a general misunderstanding about what agility is. Agility is the ability to react on environmental changes and to create environmental changes. At this time I am working leading my 7th initiatiative to create an organizational architecture for giving agility to the organization where I am working right now (one of the top 5 companies in the world). The first and critical thing to take into account is the enterprise architecture. You can use tools like Seven S Model or Zachman framework to do that. Inside them you will find all you need to create an environment where agility is a key success factor.

I agree with Sergio. What we found during our organizational agility Xchange session was that t is all about Servant Leadership. You can only be flexible if there is o autocracy and all work is delegated to the lowest levels.

Sergio and Suhail, agreed, organizational agility comes from within, we can be agile when we overcome inertia to change, be it be IT infrastructure, architecture or governance.
On the Enterprise architecture front as Sergio mentioned Seven S model and Zachman framework can bring about agility, but can these be applied to older systems ? Sergio any thoughts on how I as a project manager, an enterprise architects can bring about this change to the entire organization, older / legacy applications as well.

Yes @Priya, it can be applied to older systems. Take into account that when you talk about Agile or Agility applied to the whole enterprise the word system has to not be used as a synonim of software systems. That is a misused that we need to avoid. System is used from the point of view of systemic conception applied to the whole organization which is the key to be successful when you work in an initiative to make an organization agile. I worked in a project where a well known bank expand its business to retail business. In order to make a "leverage" of all the existing process/procedures/etc we review the whole enterprise architecture and made it like a "Lego" where the bank get modules that can be combined into diferent locations and diferent functionality to change the business as needed.

I like the Lego analogy.. so what we are saying we are building interfaces or modifying / modularizing existing process / procedures so they can fit into each other as systems of things, and that is a great way to achieve agility.
As Project Managers , Enterprise Architects what should you think our roles should be in bringing in that change

It is like you say @Priya. It is not enough room here to explain but you can take as references the Zachman framework, James Martin´s Information Engineering books, Mario Bunge´s / Prahalar works on Systemic Theory applied to organizations. The key thing is to understand the whole organization as a open system where its components and its relations must be the focus of attention. I have the honor to talk about this in the PMI World Tour from year 2010. And I am leading this transformation in the company where I am working right now but this is my 7 initiative. The key is to understand that it implies to transform the whole company. So, do you will throw in the trash the whole company and then creating a new ones?. Some companies take this way and some companies beleive that by buying and implement a software system like SAP they will get that. That is a revolucion and you know how much a revolution cost. My personal experience is you have to do that by evolution. In the initiative we are working know we are using and implemented SAP in the whole companies which is in more than 65 countries around the world. But the first thing we did is to understand the impact in the architecture by using in this case Peter´s Seven S model as a checklist (we use this model as a tool to kick evaluate architectural impacts).

The key role to do that is the Business Analyst (please take into account I am talking about roles). The Project Manager or Program Manager will be on charge of all the work needed to create the solution which is, in this case, to transform the organization in order to gain agility. Indeed one or the key roles is the Enterprise Architect if exists and the Change Management role if exists. But if both do not exists then the Business Analyst could cover that role if and only if she/he has the needed knowledge and abilities. Because I start working with all this from the born of the concept I have covered all that roles. But it is not the best advice I can give you.

Thanks Sergio for the inputs on the key roles. These would be the internal factors that an organization would look at in achieving organizational Agility.
I am also thinking in terms of other external factors like market / industry trends , customer''s mindset, business strategy. How would an organization forecast and manage these changes ?

External change is the reason for organizational agility. The way to forecasting the change is when you perform retrospective analysis. A lot of countries (including Latin America countries) make retrospective analysis. In fact, when I was part of the Agile Forum where the USA DoD tried in 1990 to estimate who the world will be in 2015 the agile and agility terms were born. What I tried to say is you can search into the internet for this type of analysis. But those are a matter of estimation. Nobody have the true.

Have any of you read Peter Senge''s book, "The Dance of Change?" I haven''t finished the book yet, however, it is very engaging and interesting. I''ve also been toying with the idea of joining the change management institute and earning their certification. The idea of organizational agility is entwined with organizational change. I think there are a multitude of skills and processes that can help, but exceptional communication is the key.

Did any of you read the PMI report on NASA''s evolution as a learning organization?
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