COVID-19 has accelerated the need for enterprises to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. The pandemic taught us that we really don't know what's around the corner. We can have a great vision, long-term plans, and innovative ideas, but a natural disaster or geopolitical event could wipe out all those carefully laid plans.
Analyzing the future through a crystal ball is not enough. Creating upfront, fixed plans doesn't work. Instead, we need to be ready for continuous change, be adaptive, creative, and resilient, and adjust quickly with "just in time" planning and execution. Being adaptive is one of three core competencies of what Forrester calls a future-fit organization. Let's explore how to reach adaptability and help you deal with the unknown, drive organizational flexibility, and react to rapid change.
For many tech leaders, being adaptive is the same as business agility. However, the execution engine for adaptability is your software development and delivery capabilities. Your business can't be adaptive if you don't have great software delivery capabilities. That's why "Agile" has become foundational to being adaptive and for achieving business agility. Forrester research shows that over 72% of enterprise development leaders executed Agile capabilities or were planning to be more Agile in 2019–2020. The Agile Manifesto, published almost 20 years ago, is still the cornerstone for any truly Agile organization.
The first point is this: Being truly Agile goes beyond the Webster dictionary description of the adjective. Webster defines agile as "having a quick resourceful and adaptable character" or "marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace." Agile as defined by the Agile Manifesto carries a broader meaning: the core values and the 12 principles. The Manifesto's definition of Agile carries the meaning of the Webster dictionary definition as a mandatory condition, but not as a sufficient one.
So, what does it mean for enterprises in 2021 to be truly Agile and therefore adaptive? Start by going beyond just adopting agile (lowercase), and develop your cultural DNA and organizational strategy around the values and principles established in the manifesto. In 2021, we will see those values and principles being adopted and leveraged not just for software development, but also for other product development programs/projects, whether they're in sales, marketing, or other business areas.
Leveraging the Agile quality based on the manifesto's values and principles is the first vital step to becoming a future-fit organization that leverages adaptability as a way to drive customer value and meet enterprise business goals. This means:
If you want to avoid your organization just paying lip service to Agile, start from the manifesto: Adapt its values and principles at scale, and with every value stream, extend your agility. Done well with discipline and focus, you'll be adaptive and ready for the next unknown.
To understand the business and technology trends critical to 2021, download Forrester's complimentary 2021 Predictions Guide here.
This post was written by VP and Principal Analyst Diego Lo Giudice, and it originally appeared here.