The Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon defines controlling as: “… part of the entrepreneurial management system, the main task of which is the planning, management and control of all divisions of the company.” In the context of an agile company, however, controlling has to reinvent itself to a certain extent. In this article, I would like to give a small look at what approaches already exist and which questions still need to be clarified in the future.

Role of Controlling

Illustration: Roman et al. (2014, p. 47)

The portrayal of Roman et al. (2014, p. 47) illustrates the new role of agile controlling. The discipline no longer acts in isolation as a single entity, but acts closely with the management. This means that agile controlling in modern, agile companies is not only responsible for accurate, customer-oriented reports, but also assumes a coordinating, moderating and decision-making role,which is more oriented towards traditional management than before. Boundaries thus give way and the different roles also use methods in other areas.

Hybrid Controlling

Graphic: Summer et. al (2015, p. 42)

Summer et. al (2015, p. 42) shows in this graph how so-called hybrid controlling is currently becoming the “State of the Art” due to the large variety of methods. In this process, each phase of the project is checked by a Qualitygate. Each team is free to use specially chosen methods for implementation in the respective phases: the spectrum ranges from scrum to waterfall. In hybrid controlling, controlling is therefore only responsible for tracking the respective results from the phases.

Agile controlling

agiles controlling

Through the implementation of Scrum, controlling has accordingly revealed another task. However, there is the question of how to “control” scrum in the first place. The burn-down chart has an answer: Agilecontrolling will have the task of establishing such charts within the management.

Beyond Budgeting as Agile Controlling

Another role in controlling is the principle of Beyond Budgeting. It was developed in England in 1998 and is said to be a counter-application to “direction and control” in Taylorism. It is defined by 12 principles, which I would like to arrive here briefly. For more, check out the book: Beyond Budgeting – incl. Work aids online: Achieve goal-oriented and increase performance without budgets. I have found the 12 principles on the page of Haufe and would like to quote them here:

6 principles deal with the control process in companies:

  • Targets formulated relative to internal or external competition should be self-adjusting and performance-enhancing.
  • Early detection and rolling forecasts should enable constant adaptation of strategy and investment decisions to changing environmental conditions.
  • A rolling strategy development and enforcement process is intended to promote the strategic coordination of company activities. The Balanced Scorecard is particularly widely promoted as an instrument.
  • A flexible allocation of resources is to be achieved by specifying a calculation interest rate by the head office and autonomous decentralized decisions on the investment projects.
  • Decentralized units should in principle control themselves. The head office intervenes subsidiaryly only if the decentralized managers cannot solve a problem or ask for help from the top management (“Management by Exception”).
  • Relative, team-based compensation that compares the success of the business unit with other units is designed to promote teamwork and collaboration.

A further 6 principles deal with the organizational framework and the corporate culture:

  • Guided guidance through shared values and clear leadership guidelines should enable quick, decentralized decisions within defined limits.
  • Autonomous profit centers are intended to create more entrepreneurship in the company.
  • Internal markets for the coordination of profit centers are intended to replace coordination with plans and enable faster reactions.
  • Information available everywhere and directly (“real-time”) should lead to maximum transparency and distributed control.
  • Freedom of action and decentralized responsibility for results are intended to enable and enforce the performance of decentralised actors.
  • A “Coach & Support” leadership style is designed to help managers do this.
Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Gloger, B. (2013). Scrum. Munich: Hanser Verlag.

Roman, C., Roman, A.-G., & Meier, E. (2014). The Challenges of Accounting Profession as Generated by Controlling. Theoretical and Applied Economics, XXI(11), 43-56.

Sommer, A. F., Hedegaard, C., Dukovska-Popovska, I., & Steger-Jensen, K. (2015). Improved Product Development Performance through Agile/Stage-Gate Hybrids: The Next-Generation Stage-Gate Process? Research Technology Management, 58(1), 34-44. http://doi.org/10.5437/08956308X5801236

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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