Agile: Plan to Adapt or Plan to Fail

AmCham Norway, in partnership with Bain & Company and fellow Nordic AmChams, hosted an exclusive virtual session with Boston-based Bain partners Darrell Rigby and Steve Berez, authors of Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos. Rigby and Berez, drawing upon a combined 70+ years of international experience, explained how, if done correctly, agility has the power to transform work.

The two Bain partners and authors highlighted the importance of finding the right balance between optimization and control when working to simultaneously spur innovation and growth. When properly leveraged, agile can result in powerful innovation, without hindering efficiency or affecting reliability. Instead of reinventing the wheel and casting traditional operations to the side, the authors noted, companies should strive to bring innovation and operations back into equilibrium.

The central tenant of their argument was that businesses need to plan to adapt, as doing otherwise leaves companies destined to fail. Critical to this planning process is understanding that 70-90% of all innovations fail. These failures often occur due to a focus on the wrong product or service – misunderstanding customer needs in the process

All in all, the authors concluded, agile cannot be a goal in and of itself. It must instead be a means to develop a high-performance operation that accelerates innovation, delivering superior financial results, loyal customers, and creating happier, more productive team members in the process.