Agility, although an omnipresent buzzword and current management trend, is not a new concept or phenomenon. But it has become one of the most-discussed business concepts of our time. The many conceptualizations of agility make it difficult to grasp the essence of the concept. We propose a definition of agility in the infobox below:
Technological Shifts: The digital transformation of work and life effects all parts of the value chain. Accelerated and altered development cycles for new products and technologies require organizations to become more flexible and faster.
Market Demands: Rapidly changing markets, increasing cost pressure, and intensified competition require corporations to adapt their market portfolios. Especially, the rising expectations of customers regarding customization, quality, and delivery times intensify the pressure to meet individual needs instead of mass production.
Societal Demands: Employees belonging to the generations Y and Z have different expectations for their career than previous generations. They want to take on responsibility for their own projects very soon and prefer to work in teams. Furthermore, unstable and complex political environments and stronger regulations put pressure on companies, e.g. in data protection.
Executive Board: The management board will only align the corporate strategy and the organizational set-up if it believes in the advantages of agile structures.
Size of organization: For smaller organizations, such as start-ups, it is easier to implement agile ways of working. However, large organizations that are traditionally very hierarchical would benefit the most from agile structures and processes.
Types of tasks: Not all types of tasks within an organization are suitable for agile working. Activities such as accounting, investor relations or handling legal issues work better with clear chains of command and responsibility.