“Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” – a HBR Press Book Review

Agile is not a magic universal wand – and cannot be applied indiscriminately to everything. !“Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” argues for a sensible balance between resources, customers specifications and the talent pool. Every organization has a natural tension between running smoothly its operations – and carefuly changing them via innovation. Agile should not be the ultimate goal – after all, it represents rather a pathway towards highly efficient operations.

The authors themselves went through the classical hypes and downs of the agile method. Darrel Rigby, as the head of Bain & Company’s global innovation practice, consulted and researched for many organizations what agile can achieve. On the other side, Sarah Elk, as the head of the firm’s Operating Model practice, is in a position to argue for the importance of a stable operations constellation. Steven H. Berez bridges the two worlds with his Information Technology practice experience. All three authors manage to do an interesting act of balance and bring very different points at table – with nice results.

 “Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” will most likely change your way of acting in the back-office / operations area. Until today, there is a widespread thinking that whilst continuous improvement should be confined to the realm of the industrial production, agile should be reserved for services or IT processes. Nothing could be more wrong – after decades of continuous optimizations of processes, industrial companies need to find new ways to innovate (continuous improvement is not particularly suited for product innovations). On the other side, IT companies push very often too many priorities on agile teams’ plates, leaving them little time to stabilize the processes. The cross-sharing of practices has just started – and of course the big consulting companies (in this case, Bain & Company having a nice substantial advantage) are well positioned to transfer knowledge between the two sides. The idea is only in its infancy – and I am looking forward to see what benefits the new approach could bring.

Do not get mistaken – there are is a ton of research behind. This is why I would recommend that, before you embark on redesigning completely your organizational operations, you should at least do some research on your own. I found this article by Darrell Rigby very interesting – and of course I strongly recommend that you go through “Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos”.

“Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” is a Harvard Business Review Press title, scheduled for publication on May 26, 2020.

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