Should My Organisation Go Agile?
Innovative and experimental, agile team structures have a strong focus on collaboration and communication. Here, cross-functional professionals work together on several small projects that build towards an end goal. Throughout the process, these projects are delivered to clients or stakeholders in small chunks, encouraging continued involvement and feedback.
“Agile is perfect for organisations wanting to release fast and get their product in front of their customers today, not next year,” says Chandler Macleod People Insights, GM of Innovation, Steve Bennetts.
Leading agile teams can be significantly rewarding for leaders. We get to see our teams create great things, have them delivered quickly, and create happy and satisfied customers along the way.
An agile team structure works well in a horizontal organisation where there is less focus on hierarchy and more focus on skill.
With a key focus on collaboration, agile structures encourage a strong team environment.
Individuals can learn multiple disciplines instead of being siloed in one speciality.
Information flows more smoothly because it doesn’t have to work its way through a hierarchy.
Increased client involvement and feedback throughout each project allows delivery of a better final result.
Self-direction, as opposed to receiving commands, may make employees feel more empowered, which can increase engagement and loyalty.
Potential time loss if there’s no clear direction at the beginning of a new project.
Shared ownership of a project can make it difficult to determine accountability if things go wrong.
There may not be a clear career pathway for employees.
There may be some initial tweaking needed as teams are optimised for efficiency and compatibility.
Some people have an approach to work that isn’t compatible with forced team environments. This may lead to valuable employees moving on to another organisation where their personal preferences are better supported.
An Agile approach is suited to any organisation that needs contributions from a range of internal specialists to deliver projects.
It may not be ideal for businesses that offer one specific service, as there may be overlap if more than one person with similar skills works on the same project.
Traditional teams feature a clear hierarchy of leadership with distinct levels. Employees are given instructions and directions throughout the project process, passed down in a waterfall pattern – ideas start at the top, then progress through different levels until they’ve had everyone’s input. Each person completes their section before sending the piece of work onto the next person.
With a more rigid structure, traditional project management generally involves the client or key stakeholder early on but continues without their input or feedback until the project is completed and delivered.
With a detailed plan and structure, projects have a clear direction from the beginning.
Having a chain of command can help new or junior team members settle into their role quickly.
Individual team members have a clear idea of expectations from the beginning as well as distinct accountability for their input.
Employees have an immediate understanding of their career progression options.
With testing or delivery only happening at the end, errors at any step of the process may slip under the radar until after completion. This can cost organisations a lot of time and money.
Traditional team structures are generally more rigid and resistant to change.
Work flows through different departments without much room for collaboration.
Less customer involvement and feedback throughout the project process can lead to higher revision workloads.
There’s no definitive recipe for success when it comes to team structures for best results. But since any organisational shift can cause disruption, it’s key to manage change effectively.
The ability to lead teams through organisational change is a skill that’s in demand, but often is not fully understood. For insights on change leadership, check out our latest whitepaper, Leadership in the Age of Disruption.
- By Chandler Macleod
- about 3 years ago
- In this blog
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