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The challenges companies face today in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world call for agile throughout the organisation. There are 2 challenges: companies in general are trying to survive intense disruption, and companies with successful software departments are trying to expand agile methods to the whole organisation, including the board and the legal structure of the enterprise. Both the VUCA challenge and the pressure to implement agile beyond IT demand guidelines for implementing company-wide agility.
We discovered this called for guidance in beyond budgeting, open space, sociocracy and agile. Design thinking, lean start-up, human systems dynamics and Cynefin provide additional insights.
Talking with various experts about how to address the challenges companies face, we got answers from within that expert's framework. For example:
A beyond budgeting expert said, "Stop fixing the budget annually, because otherwise you won't have the flexibility to react to frequent market changes."
An open space expert said, "You need to make space for what you don't know and can't control, for totally new things to emerge. If people can follow their passion, you will be able to implement company-wide agility, otherwise people will just do what they are asked."
A sociocracy expert said, "You first need to resolve the power structure, because as long as you have a hierarchy defined as top-down you will not become agile."
An agile expert said, "You need to start inspecting and adapting by using regular retrospectives in order to react flexibly, otherwise you will neither be able to learn from the market nor from within your company."
All of these perspectives are true, but each perspective was always from within the discipline. We synthesised the approach into a wider perspective dubbed BOSSA nova: B = beyond budgeting, OS = open space, S = sociocracy, A = agile.
The synthesis leads to a new organogram that reflects all the sources of guidance to a value centre. The new organogram focuses board/CEO, inspiration and resource and legal considerations on the value centre. The value centre is thereby free to focus on the customer.
We discuss how to use Cynefin-type probes that enable everyone to apply this new strategy for implementing company-wide agility in their own organisation.