What is an Agile Organization?

Discover what an agile organization is and learn about defining traits.

What Is An Agile Organization

July 16th, 2020

In a continuously changing world, organizations are confronted with the challenge of keeping up with rapid shifts in the marketplace brought on by the digital revolution. While traditional organizational structures and management styles struggle to adapt their processes and outputs fast enough, organizations that adopt an agile approach thrive with change.

What is an Agile Organization?

Agile organizations are defined by their ability to react and adapt quickly to changing circumstances. They embrace a complex and unpredictable environment by being customer-centric rather than profit-centric, adopting fast learning and decision cycles, and building a network of empowered teams and individuals enabled by technology and driven by a shared purpose.

Traits of an Agile Organization:

Customer-centricity.

Instead of focusing on optimizing operational processes to increase profit margins, agile organizations focus on understanding the needs of their customers and creating customized solutions. Making a profit is by no means less important to agile organizations and is generated by creating value for customers.

A network of teams.

While agile organizations maintain a traditional top-level hierarchical structure, the remainder of the organization is essentially a system of autonomous networked teams with a shared purpose and vision.

A shared purpose.

An organizational culture that focuses on its people by investing in their development builds a strong community of empowered employees. Inspiring leadership and a people-centric organizational culture are key to connecting employees to a company's vision and purpose.

Open communication.

Adopting a transparent and open style of communication makes it easier for teams and individuals to get the information to make good decisions. It also allows them to do so much faster than they would be able to in a system that enforces a communication structure defined by detailed policies and protocols for every eventuality.

Fast learning and decision cycles.

In order to respond to an unpredictable and ever-changing environment fast, agile organizations have short learning, product development, and decision cycles. This allows them to make continuous small and focused changes that incrementally add value.

Seamless integration of technology.

Rather than simply digitalizing existing processes, agile organizations strive to truly integrate new technologies into their operational processes and practices. New collaboration, communication, and management tools, for example, do not only introduce a new way of working together and managing projects but can also save a lot of time.

FAQs:

What is agile organizational structure?

An agile organizational structure is a non-hierarchical system of operating procedures that allows a business to be more flexible and respond quickly to shifts and changes in the market environment. It is characterized by fast activity cycles, customer-centricity, open communication, and a network of autonomous teams.

What is an agile company?

A company is referred to as agile if it has adopted an organizational approach that allows it to be flexible and respond to changes in market conditions within a short time.

How do you create an agile organization?

  • Have a clear vision and share it with your employees.
  • Focus your efforts on creating value for your customers.
  • Create teams of empowered individuals.
  • Introduce and integrate new technology.
  • Promote open and transparent communication throughout your organization.
  • Invest in your employees and encourage continuous learning through experimenting.
  • Outline simple rules for collaborating, learning through experimenting, and decision-making.

What are examples of agile companies?

  • Google.
  • Amazon.
  • Netflix.
  • Adobe.
  • General Electric.

Why do companies go agile?

Companies that shift from a traditional organizational structure to an agile one do so in order to keep up with and respond to rapidly changing market conditions and disruptive new technologies.