Agile for the C-Suite

agileIn a recent HBR article by Eric Garton and Andy Noble – both of Bain & Company – explain how senior leaders can adopt agile practices in an early first move to transitioning their organisation to becoming more agile. Something that takes time.

This helps set the stage for such a transition as it shows the leaders are walking their talk before asking others to do the same. Leaders will also learn some of the nuances along the way in regards to where these practices might work and where they likely won’t.

  1. Create a managed backlog of enterprise priorities:  See your leadership team as an agile Scrum that prioritizes the backlog based on importance, then tackles them in sequence until completed. Reprioritize your enterprise backlog when new initiatives are added.
  2. Create small, talent-rich teams working outside the hierarchy to address your most important priorities: These teams are given permission to use Agile methods and processes and to work outside of the often energy-draining and slower-moving traditional processes and decision hierarchies. Self-managed teams with limited hierarchy and bureaucracy are explicit features of such organizational models.
  3. Time-box your work and make extensive use of test-and-learn techniques: Working in smaller increments of focused time, typically one to four weeks, also accelerates decision velocity and the overall corporate metabolism. Using test-and-learn techniques with both customers and internal stakeholders allows companies to take minimum viable solutions and iterate on them quickly, abandoning weaker solutions for better ones.

Agile, and the resulting decision velocity, starts at the top of the house. Senior leadership teams that lead in an agile manner and make high-velocity decisions will see these behaviors mimicked at lower levels in the organization.

You can read the full article here.

 

Board of ‘Digital’ Directors

digitalA recent HBR article by Tuck Rickards and Rhys Grossman, explains that as companies start to realize the Digital does in fact mean a total transformation of a business and not just modernizing parts of it, its important to have Board Directors that have Digital acumen to help facilitate such holistic transformations.

The pair articulate four types of Digital Directors:

  • Digital thinker. The director has had little direct interaction with digital as an operator but conceptually understands the digital environment. They have been a board director or adviser in a digital business but are not a digital native.
  • Digital disruptor. The director has been deeply embedded in digital, often with experience from a pure-play company. This type of leader typically has less general management breadth.
  • Digital leader. The director has had substantial experience running a traditional business that leverages digital in a significant way (retail or media, for example). It’s likely that this person has less hands-on digital experience but has managed disruption as a general manager.
  • Digital transformer. The director has led or participated in a transformation of a traditional business. Typically the person does not have the seniority of a digital leader but is more digitally astute.

The appointment of directors from the fourth category is increasing and encouraged by Rickards and Grossman, although they recognise that the distinction between a ‘Digital’ Director and a ‘non-Digital’ Director is blurring.

Your can read their full article here.

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