Agile team-builder, cross-functional, overarching in departments and locations. In-/ outsourcing decisions as well as a strategic HR-plan.

Constant change and the continuousNEXT demand improved levels of business agility. That includes the entire corporation and its potential for agility. It means that the corporation’s entire mindset, culture and action must become agile. Business agility in this context comprises:

  • how we decide
  • how we measure
  • how we engage
  • (and yes) how we work, (too)

That said, the agile execution of projects represents a linked mosaic of business agility, and it is here that many companies decide to start their transformation. Some are scaling agile (LESS or SAFE) and only a few companies are brave enough to do more. The whole process is a complete process of redevelopment, which doesn’t mean it’s not possible to succeed when it’s carried out comprehensively.

In fact, the major challenge lies somewhere else. It lies in the corporation’s ability to embrace cultural and organizational change whenever it is needed. And the first team to start over is the C-level and executive team.

Most of us believe that scaling agile is a one-time effort, taking your company to a new status quo for the next decade. But in the continuousNEXT there is no point B and no checkpoints – there is only a journey between here and wherever, a journey for which organizations need to pack their bags and prepare as best they can or be left behind.

The recent COVID-19 crisis represents little more than a new and unforeseen accelerator for the even more extensive changes that lie before us. The ability to adapt to these changes quickly needs to be our number one priority and should ideally happen in a top-down direction.

This means that decision makers need reliable intelligence in order to react fast. And when it comes to the variables that shape decisions it is still time, scope and budget that are the main restrictions that determine

  • Keep-the-light’s-on
  • RUN the business
  • Change the business
  • Transform the business
  • NEW: Innovation

Nothing new, right? But there is one budget constraint besides money that determines the critical path, now more than ever: human resources, their capacity and skill-sets. A budgetary factor that hardly any decision maker has full transparency or full understanding of – the digital talent base.

The (new) constraint: Human resources

Most corporations have insufficient resource capacity planning (RCP) and therefore lack a reliable database. Digital transformation reinforces the need for RCP, but is mostly answered by agile execution or moving from projects to products or the implementation of a scaled framework first.

What that mostly means is reorganizing resources to semi-dedicated agile teams assigned to existing products while training the entire organization in agile execution methods, which is best achieved when implemented comprehensively and from the top down. At the moment, this means that the plateau of productivity and desired benefits (such as improvement in time-to-market or increase in throughput) remain unmeasured. And how can we measure these factors? It’s still far too early for us to assess a work in progress.

What is reversing again? Existing products and product lines may become less important, or may even disappear completely. But as agile transformation has rarely been implemented on the foundation of true resource transparency and an optimal digital talent base that accounts for bottlenecks, capacities, roles, skills, experience and many other factors, the challenge now is to constantly and proactively regroup our companies’ most valuable assets – our human resources. This is an even bigger challenge.

The resources within rigidly defined dedicated product teams and product lines will all have to be reassigned to new teams and tasks at some point. And this will mostly need to be done sooner rather than later, as the coronavirus pandemic painfully showcases. Resources must be cross-functional, transcending departments and locations. In- and out-sourcing decisions as well as strategic human resource plans now have to be made consciously.

Dedication or Resignation?

With digital transformation, companies need to focus more on “change the business”, “transform the business” and pure “innovation” in order to stay competitive. So this is where organizations should invest the most, shouldn’t they? But the opposite is the case. Most resource capacities are assigned to “RUN” activities, and that should provide ample food for thought:

Dedicated (product based) teams make sense in running and sometimes changing the business, but not so much in “keep-the-lights-on”, “transform the business” and “innovation” as these categories are „product-less“ in a way. How can someone work on a fixed product in the category “innovation”, when the task here is to create the product itself?

If the entire resources of an organization are organised by products – who is thinking out-of-the-box then? Who is actually fully detached to create new products, pushing innovation and transformation of the business?

To summarize, business agility is not just about agile execution. Cultural and organizational changes are the major challenges to gaining true business agility. Fast decision making and flexibility means getting reliable data on time, with a broad scope and within budget in terms of money and capacity. Human resources are the most limiting factor in every business transformation, and are therefore the bottom line for cultural and organizational change.

Start your digital talent base today.

We at VALKEEN know that whatever the future holds, be it reorganization, pandemics, recessions, new work, GEN-Z, cloud or AI, an integrated and transparent resource database is the foundation for constant change and the continuousNEXT.

How to ensure that the right resource is working on the right task at the right time? Find out here: