Peter Drucker pinpointed five essential questions to ask about any organization. He recognized that the answers provide a stepping stone for probing deeper to truly understand an organization.
The importance of questioning holds true on the journey to become Agile, which involves four distinct stages: agile foundations, experimentation, scale-up and continuous evolution.
McKinsey’s work with dozens of organizations making that journey has identified several key questions to be answered in the first three stages to promote the five trademarks of such nimble organizations.
Here are the essential questions for assessing each of the stages before the final “continuous evolution” phase:
Stage One: Assessing agile foundations
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you have some foundational agility work to do in parallel with launching agile experimentation. Addressing those fundamental elements will help create stability needed to execute successfully.
Stage Two: Agile Experimentation
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, you have more work to do before launching experiments/pilots. If yes, you are ready to move to scale-up. (Note: experiments/ pilots may still be going on in parallel to scale-up efforts.)
Stage Three: Scale-Up
Once your experiments/pilots are ongoing and you want to gauge readiness for scale-up, consider these questions:
During scale-up, continually ask these questions:
If the answers were yes, you have reached the new normal and can focus on the next stage.
Stage Four: Continuous Evolution
To stay agile, you must maintain the dynamism of the earlier stages as you continually refine the operating model to meet changing requirements. This requires new questions – but we will leave those to a future blog post.
by Wouter Aghina, Karin Ahlbäck and Allan Jaenicke