Agility is a big issue in almost every company and I often have conversations with decision-makers or students who are looking for a topic around agility for their final theses. In the numerous conversations I noticed one thing: when it comes to agility, it really always comes down to the point of view. I distinguish between groups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises – up to 249 employees and 50 million turnover).
For a long time I thought about exactly how the differences could be and did not come up with a meaningful answer myself. Piercy, N., & Rich, N. (2015) examined the relationship between lean operations and sustainable operations in 5 case studies. I noticed that although the study did not directly examine my question, it showed me two exciting goals of agility:
- Introducing agility with the goal of increasing speed and flexibility in a rigid organization (reducing too much stability)
- Introducing agility with the goal of maintaining speed and flexibility and building stability in a chaotic organization (reducing chaos and building stability)
Stability-first: Corporations and agility
Corporations are often regarded as very stable and rigid constructs. This is usually due to the high number of employees as well as the many stakeholders in the company. Through a restructuring, companies like BMW or Adidas try to get the structure you define as rigid and slow a little more flexible and faster with the help of agile teams. The companies also characterize themselves through special strategy departments, high budgets, external consultations and dedicated implementation processes of agility.
As a result, corporations are often optimized for stability, controllability and control, which is to be reduced by the introduction of agile methods. In the case of the introduction of agility in corporations, therefore, the constructive reduction of stability towards a little more freedom applies. The aim is to increase flexibility and speed.
Reading tip: Scrum in corporations
Lean-First: SMEs and agility
I have experienced things differently with SMEs. These often differ due to a small process landscape, short decision-making paths and a hands-on mentality in the leadership. So there are no bodies, but it is “just done”. In SMEs, there are usually hardly any budgets, consultations or strategy departments. Instead, this is usually done by the employees in addition to the day-to-day business.
SMEs are often very small (less than 10 MA) when they are set up and have grown in the long term (100 or more MA). During this time, hardly any processes were introduced and if so very late. Especially from 100 employees, initial processes and hierarchies (or an agile organizational form) are urgently needed. So it is usually even a little more chaotic in SMEs than in corporations.
An example of successful agility is noris network, which uses DevOps methods to build stability in the organization due to high growth, but also to maintain flexibility. Another example is Paessler, who use scrum and agile mindsets to achieve similar goals, as well as Prolead Technologies, which have also created an internal culture using scrum.
SMEs are often characterized by growth – by a few employees and with it a high agility due to the spirit of the founder. As these companies continue to grow, they want to maintain this agility by introducing agility despite growth, but not to sink into chaos.
You notice when you read that both views are exactly the opposite. While corporations are often already very stable and want to reduce this stability a little, SMEs are more likely to try to build stability on the basis of growth. For this reason, both forms of enterprise must be examined separately. I will soon publish a technical article for agility in SMEs (available from March 2019).
Falls es noch Fragen gibt, können Sie mich gerne anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um mit Lesern zu interagieren.
Helfen Sie meinem Blog, vernetzen Sie sich oder arbeiten Sie mit mirSie haben eigene, interessante Gedanken rund um die Themenwelt des Blogs und möchten diese in einem Gastartikel auf meinem Blog teilen? – Aber gerne! Sie können dadurch Kunden und Fachkräfte ansprechen.
Ich suche aktuell außerdem Werbepartner für Bannerwerbung für meinen Blog. Sollte es für Sie spannend sein Fachkräfte oder Kunden auf Ihre Seite zu leiten, dann bekommen Sie mehr Informationen hier.
Vernetzen Sie sich in jedem Fall auf Xing oder LinkedIn oder kontaktieren Sie mich direkt für einen Austausch, wenn Sie gleich mit mir ins Gespräch kommen wollen. Werfen Sie auch einen Blick in meine Buchvorschläge zur Digitalisierung, vielleicht wollen Sie mir auch ein Buch empfehlen?
Ich arbeite gerne mit Unternehmen zusammen. Sie können mich ebenfalls gerne bezüglich folgender Punkte anfragen:
- Halten von Vorträgen zu Arbeit, Führung und Agilität
- Unterstützung Ihres Marketings (z.B Blogartikel)
Source: Piercy, N., & Rich, N. (2015). The relationship between lean operations and sustainable operations. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(2), 282-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-03-2014-0143
Image source: Pixabay.com