Paths to agility

With the help of agile principles, agile organizations and teams define what they consider to be the most important action maxims for all participants. They are the guardrails for the use of agile practices and methods. The practices are used to enable or promote the implementation of agile principles in the context of individual activities such as a meeting (for example, so-called daily stand-ups). Agile methods combine various agile practices into a framework that supports the execution of entire processes or projects according to agile principles. From our experience, these principles are very well suited to create an initial agile map and to promote dialog about the “optimal path to agility”.

So if you want to find a path towards more agility, you would do well to first clarify your development needs. The schema of the American sociologist Talcott Parsons helps here. In the 1950s, he identified four functions that a social system such as a company must fulfill in order to sustain its existence. Surprisingly, Parsons called his model of the functions that ensure existence the “AGIL scheme”:

  • Adaptation = Adaptability
  • Goal Attainment = achievement of goals
  • Integration = creating cohesion
  • Latency = constant maintenance and renewal (induction) of values.

The exciting thing about this schema is that it uses questions to guide us to our development potentials and relates them to the agile principles. With the help of this AGIL schema, the relevance of agile principles for one’s own company can be determined and thus ways to more agility can be found.

Adaptation (adaptability)

Which principles guide our actions today? Which of them reduce our adaptability to developments in our environment?
Which agile principles should we replace them with in order to increase our adaptability?

Goal Attainment

Which principles that guide our actions today prevent us from achieving our goals in the best possible way?
Which agile principles should we replace them with in order to increase our level of goal achievement?

Integration (cohesion)

What principles that guide our actions today prevent us from achieving adequate cohesion / optimal collaboration?
What agile or alternative principles would better promote our cohesion / collaboration?

Latency (induction of values)

What level of renewal of our fundamental structures and value patterns would be required to achieve what we consider to be an appropriate level of agility?
What agile principles could we implement without breaking down our fundamental value patterns too much?

By answering these questions for their company or area, executives develop theses about which agile principles are relevant in their case. This is an important basis for getting started and anchoring selected agile principles more firmly in the company.