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Business agility is advertised as a way for enterprises work faster, smarter, and more successfully. What’s not to love about this trifecta of happiness?
If you were to ask project managers in some enterprises that have tried to integrate business agility principles into their policies and workflows, they will tell a sad and painful story about over-promising and under-delivering. In fact, most (if not all) of them will reveal that overall performance, results, and customer satisfaction have regressed since the business agility experiment began, and employee morale has plunged.
Understandably, this dejection has triggered a deep suspicion of—or in some cases, an outright aversion towards—business agility itself. As such, project managers and their colleagues feel obligated to consign business agility to that crowded graveyard of concepts that sound good in theory, but do not apply in the real world. Except: it does.
Despite its somewhat faddish-sounding label, make no mistake—business agility is pragmatic, not philosophical. Essentially, business agility is about stripping way the superficial layers of pseudo-work (we’re looking at you excessive status meetings!), so that work can efficiently move forward towards competition. In this light, business agility is not a re-invention of work. It is a rehabilitation and a reclamation of work.
However, as mentioned some enterprises that have tried to adopt business agility say that the experience, to some degree, has been regrettable instead of rewarding. Yet, we have also noted that business agility itself is not to blame for this opinion. So, what is the problem?
The problem is that business agility has some enemies. As Sun Tzu sagely advised in the The Art of War, the battle is won or lost before it is fought. Similarly, enterprises that want their business agile approach to take root and deliver sustainable results must slay three deadly
We have said it before, and we will say it again on behalf of the long-suffering project managers out there who urgently need mercy and relief. Spreadsheets are not (and never have been) a primary project management tool because they:
There is arguably no faster or surer way to cut business agility off at the knees than for PMOs (project management offices) to implement bureaucratic, one-way processes that grind phase-gating down to a crawl. What’s more, creativity and innovation get sucked down the bureaucracy drain, as well. As a result, it is impossible for teams and enterprises to effectively or reliably:
Some enterprises that are not addicted to spreadsheets or have functional phase-gating may think that they are in the clear when it comes to reaping the rewards of business agility. Unfortunately, there is a third deadly foe that is more than powerful enough to turn a success story into a horror tale: conventional on-premise project management software.
It’s difficult to underestimate the far-reaching damage that conventional on-premise project management software inflicts on projects and people. For example:
While the deadly foes that conspire to thwart business agility are powerful and must not be underestimated, slaying them is not the stuff of legend: it is a matter of adopting an enterprise collaborative work management (CWM) solution that:
When enterprises add a collaborative work management solution to their environment, they do more than give business agility a fighting chance to survive: they give it the power to thrive. Instead of over-promising and under-delivering, business agility takes flight and sustainably elevates productivity, performance, results and success.
Post Date: November 28, 2018
Angela Bunner is Vice President of Solutions at Clarizen. With nearly 20 years of experience in the project portfolio management space, Angela’s industry background spans engineering/construction, professional services, aerospace/defense and the public sector. She also has extensive experience working with embedded service organizations such as IT and marketing PMOs.
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