Digital transformations are now such a standard part of the business landscape that adaptation has taken on an increased urgency for companies looking to maintain their competitive stance. And with more disruptions expected across industries, forward-thinking businesses are implementing organizational agility to effectively react to change, eliminate waste, and adopt new approaches to shifting goals and objectives.
Under the traditional waterfall approach, progress flows downward step-by-step, and each phase is dependent upon the previous one. The rigid structure allowed for clear milestones, significant documentation, and discrete phases; however, the requirement to review and verify each phase before proceeding makes change particularly cumbersome and costly.
Comparatively, agility introduces flexibility and adaptability whereby strategies can be reviewed and adjusted continuously, and change is seen as an opportunity for transformation rather than a frustrating interruption. In the era of consistent disruption through digital transformation, shifting from the waterfall to greater agility increasingly affords companies the ability to respond to uncertainty and unexpected change with speed and adaptability.
With continual digital transformation revolutionizing almost industry through FinTech like Venmo and Monzo, marketing automation, the Uber-ization of services, and the inclusion of AI across sectors, agility introduces organization-wide flexibility for changing market conditions and customer requirements. By breaking away from the waterfall approach’s phase-by-phase structure, agility lets companies adopt new strategies to adapt to disruption and create bottom-line benefits.
Shifting from the waterfall to greater agility requires considerable buy-in by the C-suite who must first feel comfortable moving away from legacy systems that may still provide functionality but do not provide a fully effective response to digital transformation. With C-suite leadership, organizational adoption of agility increases significantly and produces far-reaching benefits, from increased revenue, faster moves to market, and more rapid decision-making.
Yet, despite the clear benefits, change has been frustratingly slow at many companies. Without the C-suite leading the charge in changing corporate culture and adapting agility, companies languish with legacy systems that make it much more difficult to respond to digital transformations that will only increase in speed and regularity. Therefore, the onus falls on C-level executives to lead the way as they move their companies toward more agile positioning that will keep the organizations competitive in the disruption-filled future.