Getting your "Agile-on"

#1 Getting your “Agile Culture on” Defining how to engage employees and enable human factors for success in 2019

The “Agile Culture” or “Agile Organization” has been the buzz word for a while now. It started with product development and progressed to an organization style. But are organizations ready? Do we even know what it requires?

In an Agile culture, we shift the focus from the process to the outcome. The main question to answer, at each point, is “What does the customer want?” This model essentially empowers teams to do what it takes to succeed: a.k.a understand and fulfil the customers’ needs.

What does that mean? What do we look for?

A McKinsey article, The five trademarks of agile organizations  lists out the key traits required in an Agile culture:

  • North Star embodied across the organization
  • Network of empowered teams
  • Rapid decision and learning cycles
  • Dynamic people model that ignites passion
  • Next-generation enabling technology

Four of these points are human centric, but the most critical is “Dynamic People Models.” The authors elaborate: An agile culture puts people at the center, which engages and empowers everyone in the organization. They can then create value quickly, collaboratively, and effectively.”

Basically, Agile culture is people centric – it is your team that makes you Agile.

  • How does an HR Team ensure that we hire, train and reward employees who:
  • Focus on innovation
  • Feel the passion
  • Improvise on the go
  • Align with the north star.

Here are 5 Chicago based, new age companies, who have successfully embraced an Agile culture beyond development.

Bounteous, a design company specializing in ecommerce says: “We take the principles from agile and make them our own in all areas of the organization.” Their biggest success was ‘retrospective feedback’ to improve business development, to better align to the customers’ needs.

Networked Insights uses artificial intelligence to help with marketing insights. Their team meets periodically to share and test new ideas in a hackathon format, Quick and simple. One of these products is now a flagship offering.

Now Secure is a mobile app security company. They use Agile’s Daily Standup to stay informed about other teams’ progress, thrash out dependencies and roadblocks. is an online car dealership. While Agile is deeply integrated in their culture, they encouraged more testing to learn, fail fast and test again. This allows them to innovate faster and better.

TastyWorks is a trading company. They adopted the Agile culture method in implementing Agile. Their CEO has empowered his team to choose if Agile methods are helping the team get better results in specific areas of work. If it works, it stays. Else, it goes.

Agile is a way of thinking. It requires individuals and teams to define the goal, and connect the dots backwards. It also requires for the organization to be open to innovation, change and failure. In the agile way, mistakes are equal to improvement.

Over our next 4 Peoplescape blogs we will explore how Agile organizations and Agile cultures stand out in Hiring, Managing Performance, Leading and Promoting Innovation.

Jump straight to the next blog in the series: #2 Hiring and Managing Talent in an Agile Culture