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Agile Growth and the Continuous Journey

a business man on his phone while waiting for the train at the station

Posted on Mar 10, 2018

Recognizing the need for change can often be easier than implementing a solution. You’ve probably see how digital transformation can devolve into digital stagnation and choice overload because teams stumble and fall when it comes to planning and implementation. Or sometimes teams find themselves at a loss when it comes to choosing appropriate technologies for each of their business requirements.
 

What’s the solution? First: It’s important to accept the fact that transforming your enterprise to digital is a continuous journey rather than a destination. This journey is shared with your customers, all of whom expect a seamless experience. There are also myriad steps to consider—from the initial leap into the digital realm to remaining agile and adaptive as business strategies evolve.
 

This begs the question: where to begin? While each business is unique and operating at different levels of digital maturity, Agile methodologies and Design Thinking are powerful approaches for failing fast, and then ultimately succeeding. Think of Agile as a radical alternative to command-and-control-style management, which organizes people into customer-focused, multidisciplinary teams—thereby accelerating revenue growth and fostering integrated decision-making.
 

Setting yourself up for success
 

During your digital transformation journey, you may have several initiatives under consideration. This is where it’s important to agree on which hold the greatest promise and move full steam ahead. But even here, it’s possible that an initiative ultimately doesn’t make the most sense for your business. Consequently, there should be mechanisms in place to evaluate and adapt. Equally important is having shorter cycles between generating ideas and going to market.
 

What does this look like in practical terms? You’ll want to have a series of intervening goals that allow you to regularly assess your progress. And if your hypothesis fails, the whole project survives.
 

Przemek Czarnecki, currently vice president of software engineering with iHeartMedia, suggests that three teams take priority at the outset of a digital transformation—sales, strategy, and IT. He shared with us how he believes that it’s important first to reconcile channel conflict between digital and traditional sales teams. Meanwhile, the strategy team must consider the overall corporate policy in terms of improving customer experience. Finally, he says, the IT team should be headed by a forward-thinking leader who is fluent in new technology trends and who can translate those trends into meaningful improvements for the company.
 

We readily admit that there is no silver bullet that magically produces results. But we can say that with our 20+ years of experience and hard-earned success working with some of the world’s leading companies—such as Coca-Cola, Motorola, Pfizer, and others—we’ve learned that one of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that being Agile can go a long way in driving your company’s success.